The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is in the bag and already, experts are evaluating what some of the surprise picks were, as well as which teams have made the perfect pick for their needs, whereas others may have drafted a dud.
In this article, we will go through all 31 picks of Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, before giving you our verdict on which teams had a great Round 1, and which ones need to improve over the second and third days of the draft.
It is going to be interesting to see how the draft affects the odds on who will be the Super Bowl winner with bet365 Sport in the coming days.
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Pre-Draft Big News : Jackson and Ravens Agree $260m 5-Year Deal
Around an hour before the start of the draft the first big news of the night broke with the Baltimore Ravens agreeing terms on a 5-year, $260 million fully guaranteed contract with Quarterback Lamar Jackson.
That news likely precludes the Ravens going for a quarterback early in the draft, but not necessarily later on when they could look out for a project QB to work behind Jackson who seems likely to be the starter for the next five years in Baltimore.
Ravens fans were celebrating before the draft, though perhaps not as much as Lamar Jackson who won’t be paying any agents fees on his $260m deal after negotiating the deal himself!
But for now, let’s take a look at how Round 1 of the NFL Draft unfolded last night in Kansas.
NFL Draft – Round 1
1. Carolina Panthers (from Bears) – QB – Bryce Young (Alabama)
No great surprise with the first pick as the Panthers take Bryce Young with the first pick and Alabama gets a first number 1 pick in the draft in the modern era.
2. Houston Texans – QB – CJ Stroud (Ohio State)
The Texans waste little time in submitting their pick in the draft. And they take C.J. Stroud, quarterback Ohio State. So talk of the Texans going cold on their quarterback was all wrong and we have two quarterbacks off the board. Let the craziness begin.
3. Arizona Cardinals – Traded To Houston Texans – EDGE – Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)
Not a huge surprised, the Texans give up a 1st and 2nd round pick this year, plus a 1st and 3rd round next year to move back uo from 12th to 3rd to take the best defensive player on the draft. Texans fans, your new GM means business!
4. Indianapolis Colts – QB – Anthony Richardson (Florida)
Shane Steichen gets his Jalen Hurts Mark II as the Colts take the athletic Florida signal caller. He may have to sit for a little to learn the nuances of the passing offense. A call to a certain Mr Manning may be on the cards to work with their new future franchise QB.
5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – CB – Devon Witherspoon (Illinois)
Perhaps a shock that the Seahawks passed on Jalen Carter but Witherspoon is a fantastic pick up and he would not have lasted more than another couple of picks anyway. A fantastic junkyard dog player who is a ferocious tackler.
6. Detroit Lions (from Rams) – Traded to Arizona Cardinals – T – Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State)
Jalen Carter’s fall continues as the Lions trade away their pick to the Cardinals, who move back up the draft having dropped to 12th to claim arguably the most coveted tackle in the draft.
7. Las Vegas Raiders – DE – Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech)
Many expected the Raiders to go with a corner here, but they surprised many by taking an Edge Rusher who will be a perfect partner for Maxx Crosby.
8. Atlanta Falcons – RB – Bijan Robinson (Texas)
Ouch! Philadelphia Eagles fans may be gutted to hear the Falcons take the Texas running back star with the Eagles strongly linked with the RB. Especially after the Eagles traded up a spot, switching with the Bears to 9th from their 10th spot in the draft.
9. Chicago Bears (from Panthers) – Traded to the Eagles – DT – Jalen Carter (Georgia)
Taking the best player in the draft may soften the blow for Eagles fans who wanted Robinson. The fearsome Eagles pass rush defense just got itself an upgrade which will make them even more terrifying to stop next season.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints) – Traded to the Bears – OT – Darnell Wright (Tennessee)
Protecting Justin Fields is vital for the Bears and I knew the Bears would go offensive tackle. I had anticipated Peter Skoronski coming off the board here, but instead the Eagles went with Darnell Wright, who shone against Will Anderson Jr and Jalen Carter for the Vols last year.
11. Tennessee Titans – OT – Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)
The Titans offensive line has been decimated over the past 12 months, and Titans fans who wanted a fancy pick at QB or WR may not be too enamoured with this pick but Skoronski is the best offensive tackle in this draft who can also play guard. This is the Titans best draft pick since Jeffrey Simmons in 2019.
12. Houston Texans (from Browns) – Traded to Arizona Cardinals – Then Traded to Detroit Lions – RB- Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)
Perhaps the first big surprise of the draft in terms of an overreach. I had Gibbs as a late first round pick, but with Jamal Williams missing six games, he will address a need although he has a bit of pressure on his back after being the first RB drafted by the Lions in the first round since Barry Sanders.
13. Green Bay Packers (from NY Jets) – DE – Lukas Van Ness (Iowa)
The Packers had a lot of needs as they continue their rebuild in the post Aaron Rodgers era. It seems here that the Packers felt Van Ness was a perfect scheme fit and offered them a big upgrade on the Edge.
14. New England Patriots – Traded to the Steelers – OT – Broderick Jones (Georgia)
Jets fans will be grumbling at the Patriots trading away their pick to the Steelers allowing Pittsburgh to sign the player the Jets probably wanted. A great pick up for the Steelers who will offer Kenny Pickett much better protection this year.
15. New York Jets (from Packers) – EDGE – Will McDonald IV (Iowa State)
Perhaps the first pick that has completely deviated from draft wisdom to address a team need. McDonald will be a great fit at LOLB or EDGE and will offer the Jets a real sack threat from the lnebacking corps.
16. Washington Commanders – CB – Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State)
After a top college career with 14 interceptions, six of them pick-sixes last sesson, Forbes has found a home in the capital, although them overlooking Christian Gonzalez here is a surprise.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Traded to the Patriots – CB – Christian Gonzalez (Oregon)
A nice move by Bill Belichick and co, in trading down they let the Steelers pick the player the Jets most wanted and they still get arguably the best cornerback in the draft.
18. Detroit Lions – LB – Jack Campbell (Iowa)
The Lions threw us another curveball here by taking a linebacker with their second first round pick. An explosive presence for the Iowa defense he should slot in nicely.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT – Calijah Kancey (Pittsburgh)
One of the better picks in the latter half of the draft thus far. A super-fast tackle who is explosive and who should make an immediate impact for the Bucs as they start to rebuild.
20. Seattle Seahawks – WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)
The first WR is off the board and unsurprisingly, it is Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Geno Smith celebrates a new contract and now a quality WR to slot in alongside Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
21. Los Angeles Chargers – WR – Quinton Johnston (TCU)
The rush on wide receivers is underway, next off the board the Chargers take the TCU wideout Quinton Johnson
22. Baltimore Ravens – WR – Zay Flowers (Boston College)
Arguably one of the fastest players in the draft, after signing Lamar Jackson to a long term deal during the day, the Ravens have added a real weapon for him on offense.
23. Minnesota Vikings – WR – Jordan Addison (USC)
A first for the NFL Draft as four WR went in four picks as the run on receiving talent. The Vikngs add the complete USC receiver who had 29 touchdowns in his college career.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars – Traded to Giants – CB – Deontay Banks (Maryland)
A physical man corner who has incredible pace and is an explosive athlete.
25. New York Giants – Traded to Jaguars – Traded to Bills – TE – Dalton Kincaid (Utah)
The Bills traded up ahead of the Cowboys to snatch the best TE in the draft from the clutches of Dallas. Kincaid offers huge physicality and production to a Bills offense that is already stacked in that regard.
26. Dallas Cowboys – DT – Mazi Smith (Michigan)
A solid fit for the Cowboys who gain a dominant tackle who is an expert on run defense and who has size allied to his power.
27. Buffalo Bills – Traded to Jaguars – T – Anton Harrison (Oklahoma)
A solid enough tackle who probably is more an early day 2 pick than late day one but after claiming extra picks by trading down, the Jags will be happy enough to plug a hole on the offensive line.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – DE – Myles Murphy (Clemson)
A good power rusher who has a great inside arm. Should be a strong addition to an increasingly impressive Bengals offense.
29. New Orleans Saints (via Broncos/Dolphins/49ers) – DT – Brian Bresee (Clemson)
A solid defensive end and the second Clemson player selected in succession in the draft. A quick and strong player, but one that has suffered with injuries.
30. Philadelphia Eagles – EDGE – Nolan Smith (Georgia)
The Philadelphia graduation home for ex Georgia Bulldogs players continues to get new members as the Eagles snap up Nolan Smith who incredibly is still available at the 30th pick in the draft. Wow.
Oh but poor Will Levis has sat in the green room all night and has not been drafted as yet.
Look who was at Nolan Smith’s draft party and the first person to welcome him to Philadelphia… his former Georgia teammate and now Eagles teammate Nakobe Dean.
Also… check out Smith’s socks. Looks like he wanted to go to Philadelphia. #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/jyEVgNAC2I
— Brandon J. Sommermann (@B_Sommermann) April 28, 2023
31. Kansas City Chiefs – DE – Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Kansas State)
One for the Chiefs fans who have been so vocal in support of the draft as the Chiefs take a local defensive end to offer them some pressure on the edge
*Miami Dolphins lost their R1 pick in 2023 after punishment from the NFL for tampering violations.
Round 1 Draft Day Winners
Who were the teams that knocked it out of the park on Day 1 of the draft? Take a look at the list below and find out.
The double swoop by the Texans to pick 2nd and 3rd by trading up allowed them to nab not only their quarterback of the future, but also one of the best defensive players in the class. What’s not to love with this dramatic opening salvo in the draft?
The Eagles probably cannot believe their luck that not just one, but two top Georgia defensive prospects fell into their lap for a minimum trade up value. Taking Jalen Carter and then Nolan Smith with the 30th pick represents an outstanding day’s work for Philly fans.
The Seahawks landed the best corner in the draft in Witherspoon and then paired him with the best WR in the draft by taking Smith-Njigba. Geno Smith is going to be delighted with the upgrades on both sides of the ball.
Round 1 Draft Day Losers
Which teams had a bad first day?
The Dolphins did have 2 first round picks in 2023, they traded one to the Broncos for LB Bradley Chubb and lost the other after being found to be tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton. Not a great move to hand away a first rounder for essentially nothing at all, especially when you just have four picks left in the draft.
Trading down with the Packers saw them miss out on the offensive tackle they wanted as Pittsburgh traded with New England to pip them to the best remaining offensive tackle.
NFL Draft 2023 – Day Two – Who To Look Out For In Rounds 2 & 3
There are still some excellent players available to draft in the Second and Third rounds of the NFL Draft, check out the list below of the top talent still available on Day 2.
QB Will Levis
TE Michael Mayer
QB Hendon Hooker
S Brian Branch
CB Joey Porter Jr.
OG O’Cyrus Torrence
C John Michael Schmitz
LB Drew Sanders
TE Darnell Washington
CB Kelee Ringo
WR Jalin Hyatt
EDGE Isiah Foskey
EDGE Keion White
LB Trenton Simpson
OL Matthew Bergeron
S Jordan Battle
EDGE BJ Ojulari
OL Cody Mauch
Remember to check back on Monday when we will give you our full review of the draft and evaluate each of the 32 teams picks across all seven-rounds.