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To the victors go the spoils. Kansas City may still be cleaning up confetti and beer cans from their streets after a second Super Bowl victory parade in four years when the NFL Draft comes to town from April 27-29. This marks the first time Kansas City is hosting this annual spectacle, and the Chiefs will pick last in the first round as the current champions. This year, that’s the 31st selection since Miami was stripped of their first-rounder for a tampering violation related to their pursuit of Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
The Chicago Bears possess the #1 overall pick, and the team has plenty of options with potential quarterback of the future Justin Fields already in their locker room. Thanks to previous trades, Houston, Detroit, Seattle, and Philadelphia all have multiple first-round picks this season.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, five teams will not have a first-round selection in April unless they trade up from their current spots. Miami, Cleveland, Denver, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles Rams make up this cohort, who will sit out the first night after mortgaging their future in previous transactions.
This 2023 draft class is loaded at critical positions such as quarterback and edge rusher, with depth at wide receiver and corner. While there is still time for the draft order to shuffle around before April 27, we’ll delve into the favorites to hear their names called early, some long shots that could be taken earlier than expected, and log some predictions for what we expect to happen.
First, let's take a look at the odds from over at Caesars Sportsbook as of April 27.
|Will Anderson Jr.
Defensive end Travon Walker from Georgia was the #1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars and first-year head coach Doug Peterson. The Jags had also selected first the year before, nabbing Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Both moves have paid early dividends, and Peterson led the Jaguars to the Divisional round of the AFC playoffs in 2022.
Walker closed as the big favorite to go first in last year’s draft after trailing Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson for most of the build-up to draft night. Hutchinson was taken second overall by the Lions, followed by cornerbacks Derek Stingley Jr. to Houston at #3, and Ahmad Gardner went forth to the New York Jets.
Gardner matched Micah Parson’s feat from 2021 of being named Defensive Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-Pro selection. Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux rounded out the top five after he was picked by the Giants.
In all, six offensive linemen and wide receivers heard their names called in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft to lead all positions. Four cornerbacks and edge rushers were among the first 32 picks last year, too.
Just one quarterback, Kenny Pickett, was drafted in the first round when Pittsburgh took him 20th overall. That’s only happened one other time since 2010, when Florida State’s EJ Manuel was picked 16th by Buffalo in 2013.
Alabama’s Bryce Young is the early favorite to be selected first. Young won the 2021 Heisman Trophy as a sophomore and is ranked as the top consensus quarterback in the draft by a panel of ESPN experts, including Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. He’s followed by fellow quarterback CJ Stroud from Ohio State, with both prospects leaving school after three years to pursue a pro career.
Two more quarterbacks have rising odds to go first overall, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson. Levis is Kiper’s top-ranked quarterback in the class, and both he and Richardson are seen as high-upside players with rare physical traits at the position.
Ahead of the NFL combine, it’s reasonable to expect them to stand out in a sterile environment where raw talent tends to shine. Defensive lineman Jalen Carter from Georgia and Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson make up the two candidates from the other side of the ball with the best chance to go first overall.
A lot will depend on what Chicago decides to do from their prime position at the top of the draft and if another team is willing to offer a king’s ransom for the right to select their guy. According to a recent ESPN article, the #1 pick has been traded 12 times since 1967’s NFL-AFL merger. The most recent instance was when the Rams traded up in 2016 to select Jared Goff. Before that, you may recall when the Falcons famously traded with the Chargers to move up in 2001 and drafted Michael Vick.
While there is a lot of talent in this class at the cornerback and offensive line positions, it’s unlikely there will be multiple top-ten selections at both positions, like in 2022. Among the top corners in 2023 are Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, and South Carolina’s Cam Smith.
In the trenches, Peter Skoronski from Northwestern and fellow Big Ten foe Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State are the top tackles on the board. At least one of those linemen could leapfrog the quarterback group within the top five picks.
Speaking of possibilities, two running backs could be selected in the first round this year. Texas’ Bijan Robinson is the clear favorite at the position. He finished 9th in Heisman voting in 2022 after posting nearly 1,900 total yards and 20 touchdowns for the Longhorns.
Jahmyr Gibbs is the second running back expected to hear his name called, possibly on the first night. He rushed for 926 yards and seven touchdowns for Alabama last season after two seasons at Georgia Tech.
Finally, the wide receiver position is talented and deep despite the expectation that none will be drafted within the top five picks. Jaxon Smith-Njigba from Ohio State, Quentin Johnston from TCU, and USC’s Jordan Addison are all expected to go in the first round. Boston College product Zay Flowers could be the fourth receiver to go within the first 32 selections, with Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt and UNC’s Josh Downs also hoping to sneak in that first-round window.
So far, we have only 2 best bets for this year's NFL Draft. We plan to add more as that iconic day gets closer, but here's who we're investing in for the first overall pick.
Kiper and others rave about Young’s accuracy, ability to read progressions, and decision-making. The lesser of his two full college seasons still saw him throw 32 touchdowns and five interceptions. If Chicago does trade out of the #1 pick, Young is the favorite to be selected.
The one knock on the Heisman winner is his size. Young is listed at 6’0” tall and 194 lbs, both of which will be re-measured during the pre-draft process.
For some scouts and personnel executives, that could be a dealbreaker. That being said, we're willing to put a full unit on Young being the first player taken in the 2023 NFL Draft.
A recent Newsweek piece noted that 16 of the last 21 NFL Drafts have seen a quarterback selected first overall. While Anderson’s teammate is the odds-on favorite to be selected first, we’re stuck trying to decipher what the Bears will do with the first pick.
Given that first-overall draft picks do not change hands often, we see value in Anderson as the player Chicago might select if they keep it. They traded away Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith in the same week last October, and Anderson could immediately bolster their pass rush.
At 11 to 1 odds over at FanDuel, we'll sprinkle a 1/4 unit on Big Will to be the first overall pick in the draft.
Front offices across the NFL still feel the tremors from the ground-breaking trade between the Bears and Panthers. Carolina now owns the rights to the top pick in April, which has caused a shakeup in the odds for which player will be the first overall selection.
According to oddsmakers, CJ Stroud is the new favorite to be taken first by the Panthers. He measured at 6’3”, 214 lbs. during the combine, and received praise for how well he threw. On the other hand, Bryce Young is now favored to go second to Houston and only got measurements taken in favor of waiting until his pro day to throw for scouts.
Will Anderson Jr. has extended the lead on his peers and seems destined to be the first defensive player off the board on April 27. Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez and Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson have joined Jalen Carter among the top players challenging Anderson for that distinction.
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson capitalized on his opportunity to impress scouts and executives at the combine, running a 4.43 40 and posting a vertical leap of more than 40 inches. He’s viewed as a rare but raw talent who boosted his stock with that performance.
After Carolina’s trade into the top spot on the board, it doesn’t appear that either of our initial #1 pick wagers on Young or Anderson will yield a profit.
WOW! What a difference three weeks make! In our last update, our Bryce Young pick looked dead in the water. However, the former Heisman Trophy winner is now listed as a -1400 favorite to be the #1 overall pick. Stroud is now a +2000 underdog after being the favorite for several weeks.
On a surprising note, Will Levis's stock has shot up a ton. The former Kentucky Wildcat is now +500 to go off as the #1 pick. This shows that you should never put too much stock in a few quotes from team owners.
Former Florida Gators QB Anthony Richardson is currently sitting at +4000. He may have the most upside of any of the quarterbacks in this draft, but he may need a year or two of grooming. Enjoy the draft, everybody!
Wondering how many No. 1 overall picks have been booms or busts? Here is a list of the first picks in the NFL Draft since the turn of the century. This may help you win some sports trivia or even a few bar bets.
|San Diego Chargers (traded to New York Giants)
|San Francisco 49ers
|St. Louis Rams
|Kansas City Chiefs
|Tampa Bay Bucs
Wanting to expand your NFL Draft knowledge to even greater heights? We've got just what you need! Our team has compiled the following list of questions and answers for your enjoyment.
Some of these are sure to blow even the avid NFL fan's mind! If you have a question you'd like to see answered in this section, reach out to us via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @EatWatchBet
The team with the most No. 1 overall draft picks is the Indianapolis Colts, who have had the top pick a total of seven times in franchise history. The first time the Colts had the top pick was in 1955, when they selected quarterback George Shaw. Since then, they have had the top pick in 1983 (John Elway, who was eventually traded to the Denver Broncos), 1990 (Jeff George), 1992 (Steve Emtman), 1998 (Peyton Manning), and 2012 (Andrew Luck).
Following the Colts in terms of the most No. 1 overall draft picks are the Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have each had the top pick six times in their respective histories. The most recent team to have the No. 1 overall pick was the Jacksonville Jaguars, who selected Georgia pass rusher Travon Walker in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Over the years, there have been a few No. 1 overall draft picks who failed to live up to the expectations that come with being selected first overall. While there have been some notable disappointments, one player is often considered the biggest bust of all the No. 1 overall picks in NFL history: quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
Russell was selected first overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 NFL Draft after an impressive career at Louisiana State University. However, his NFL career was marred by poor performance and off-the-field issues. He played just three seasons in the NFL, appearing in 25 games and throwing for 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. He struggled with his weight and work ethic and was released by the Raiders in 2010.
Russell's lack of success was a major disappointment for the Raiders, who had invested a significant amount of money and resources in him. He has since been widely considered one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history. Despite his struggles, Russell has expressed a desire to return to football and make a comeback in the NFL, though it remains to be seen if he will ever get another opportunity.
The quarterback position is one of the most important positions in football, and as a result, many teams look to select a quarterback with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. In fact, quarterbacks have been selected first overall more than any other position.
Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, there have been 21 quarterbacks selected with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. Before the merger, there were also several quarterbacks selected first overall, including Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and Jim Plunkett.
Some of the most notable quarterbacks to be selected with the first overall pick since the merger include Peyton Manning, John Elway, Troy Aikman, and Andrew Luck. These players went on to have successful careers in the NFL and are widely considered to be among the best quarterbacks in league history. Quarterbacks continue to be highly sought-after prospects in the NFL draft, and it's likely that we will see many more quarterbacks selected with the first overall pick in the future.
When it comes to the NFL draft, teams have different strategies and philosophies when it comes to selecting players. Some teams prioritize drafting players based on their specific team needs, while others focus more on selecting the best player available, regardless of position.
In general, teams will have a list of players ranked in order of their perceived value, with the best players at the top of the list. When it comes time to make their selection, teams will often take the highest-ranked player still available on their list. However, there are other factors that can come into play, such as team needs, positional depth, and specific skill sets that a team may be looking for.
Some teams may place a greater emphasis on filling specific needs, especially if they have glaring holes on their roster that need to be addressed. For example, if a team has a weak offensive line, they may prioritize selecting a top offensive lineman early in the draft, even if there are other players available who may be ranked higher overall.
Ultimately, the approach that a team takes will depend on a variety of factors, including its roster makeup, its coaching staff, and its overall philosophy when it comes to team-building. There is no one "right" way to approach the draft, and different strategies can be successful depending on a team's circumstances and goals.
Since 1976, the last player selected in the NFL draft has been given the nickname "Mr. Irrelevant." The tradition started with former NFL player Paul Salata, who wanted to do something fun and lighthearted to honor the final pick of the draft.
The last player to be given the "Mr. Irrelevant" title was Brock Purdy, a quarterback from Iowa State, who was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 262nd pick in the 2022 NFL draft. As the last pick of the draft, Purdy received the "Mr. Irrelevant" title and was invited to participate in a weeklong celebration in his honor in Newport Beach, California. The festivities included a golf tournament, a regatta, and a banquet, as well as a ceremony in which Stuard was presented with the "Lowsman Trophy," a parody of the Heisman Trophy that features a player fumbling a football.
While being named "Mr. Irrelevant" may seem like a dubious honor, many players who have received the title have gone on to have successful careers in the NFL. Some notable "Mr. Irrelevants" include former NFL wide receiver and return specialist Marty Booker and former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl champion Matt Cassel. Nonetheless, the title remains a lighthearted and fun way to recognize the final pick of the draft each year.