Sorting out winners and losers from a wild first round

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Well, that happened. The first round of the 2023 NFL draft turned chaotic pretty quick last night. With the first pick the Carolina Panthers made the expected choice, taking the top quarterback in the class, Alabama’s Bryce Young. The Houston Texans followed by picking the No. 2 QB in Ohio State’s CJ Stroud… and then things got weird.

Let’s sort out winners and losers from a wild Day 1 of the draft.

Winners: The Houston Texans

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To their credit, the Texans did at least one thing right. Which makes for about one thing total in the last five years. While Young is ranked higher by most analysts, on film Stroud looks like the most pro-ready, polished quarterback in this draft class. He should be ready to start Week 1 for Houston and might even win them a game or two if they can surround him with an improved offensive line and some half-decent skill players.

Losers: The Houston Texans

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Rather than pat themselves on the back for not making a stupid decision by passing on Stroud, the Texans immediately panicked and made an entirely different bizarre decision, trading back up to the No. 3 spots for Alabama EDGE Will Anderson. While Anderson was a great pick in a vaccuum, the terms of the trade up were awful for Houston and highway robbery for the Cardinals. Bad organizations tend to stay bad, even when they manage to fall into finding a franchise quarterback.

Winner: The Philadelphia Eagles


By contrast, smart teams stay patient and know how to stay in contention over the long run by building strength and strength. The Eagles continue to say it with their chest year after year, continuously reinforcing their defensive line with first-round picks. This time they managed to get two more Georgia DL in Jalen Carter (No. 9 overall) and Nolan Smith (No. 30 overall). That effectively cancels out the loss of Javon Hargrave in free agency and gives them a ready-made replacement for Haason Reddick at the end of his contract, ensuring they continue to dominate the line of scrimmage. Howie Roseman is doing his job at a higher level than anyone right now.

Loser: Kentucky QB Will Levis

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Going into the draft, some folks were expecting Levis to come off the board as high as No. 2 overalls. Heading into Day 2, he’s still available – costing him millions in guaranteed money on his rookie contract. During the ABC broadcast there was a suggestion that Levis came off as arrogant when he met with potential teams. That might help explain the slide, but Levis’ high projection was always artificially inflated by his position.

Winners: The Seattle Seahawks

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Once again, our expectations were upended by the Seahawks – but in a good way. Rather than roll the dice on Jalen Carter at No. 5 overall, they took the more sure thing at cornerback, practically guaranteeing they will have a supremely-stingy starting combo on the boundary with Devon Witherspoon and Tariq Woolen. They also found exactly what they needed at wide receiver with Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Wide receiver and corner are the most-important skill positions outside of the quarterback, and getting arguably the top two players at those positions in any draft class is an unqualified win.

Losers: The Detroit Lions

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The team that made the most confusing choices in the first round by far was the Lions. After trading down from the No. 6 spot (where they could have had Bijan Robinson) they picked Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12 overall, about two rounds ahead of his projection. Later, they used the No. 18 overall pick on Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. Both Gibbs and Campbell might have awesome careers, but given what we know about positional values ​​these were two poor choices by Detroit.

Story originally appeared on Seahawks Wire

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