We are 36 days away from the 2023 NFL Draft, and things are starting to really heat up in regard to compressing all of the noise we’ve heard over the past few weeks and months. NFL Draft news and rumors are everywhere. It’s all a puzzle. There are smokescreens. But where enough smoke billows, fire is present. The NFL Pro Day circuit is a great place to get information to complete your puzzle.
We’re covering the latest NFL draft news and rumors, including all pro day news related to Friday’s action. Be sure to bookmark our NFL Pro Day schedule and check back daily for the most important takeaways.
Will Levis Has Dinner With Carolina Panthers Brass Before Pro Day
At this point in the NFL draft process, Will Levis seems most unlikely to be the Carolina Panthers’ first pick in the draft. In fact, PFN’s own B.J. Rudell discussed Levis’ long-shot odds (+4000) of becoming the Panthers’ QB in his recent mock draft.
But that is unimportant to the events of today, or in this case, last night. Teams will do their due diligence with every available option. It ultimately only takes one voice that won’t back down on their love for the player to draft them.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Levis had the chance to swoon Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, general manager Scott Fitterer, head coach Frank Reich, assistant general manager (not to be confused with the assistant to the general manager) Dan Morgan, vice president Samir Suleiman, Jim Caldwell, Thomas Brown, and Josh McCown.
We shouldn’t look too much into that, however, because the same contingent had dinner with Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. I don’t always envy the life of NFL decision-makers, but hitting all the best restaurants around the country while getting to know top NFL QB prospects before watching their pro day isn’t a bad part of the gig.
Cardinals Want To Trade Down?
In Mel Kiper’s most recent mock draft, the Arizona Cardinals traded from the third pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the fourth. In turn, they received picks 35 and 79 from Indianapolis, who didn’t want to get leapfrogged for the QB they want.
“Arizona’s pick at No. 3 is going to be coveted,” Kiper said. “It might now be the most important pick in the draft. That’s because we know quarterbacks are going to Carolina and Houston at the top of the board, but the Cardinals aren’t in the market for a passer.”
MORE: List of Arizona Cardinals Draft Picks in the 2023 NFL Draft
When asked whether the Cardinals were trading out of their pick, Breer answered saying, “I think they’d like to, yes, and they’re in a good position to do so. If you, like most of the league, assume the first two picks are quarterbacks, and add Colts owner Jim Irsay’s hunger to get a long-term answer at QB at No. 4 into the equation, then new Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort could find himself in the draft’s catbird seat.”
And while it’s not a “report,” Broncos Insider at KOA Colorado, Benjamin Allbright, tweeted a top-five mock draft that had Arizona trading down in the draft. Allbright blends insider information with football knowledge and has historically been one of the most accurate mock drafters in the business.
Chris Grier, Mike McDaniel, and Ryan Poles Attend Penn State Pro Day
Most likely the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears have contingents at the Penn State pro day and the Kentucky pro day. However, the Dolphins and Bears general managers and the Dolphins head coach were in Pennsylvania instead of Kentucky, which makes sense given each team’s quarterback situation.
Punter Barney Amor, safety Ji’Ayir Brown, quarterback Sean Clifford, defensive tackle PJ Mustipher, kicker Jake Pinegar, cornerback Joey Porter Jr., offensive lineman Juice Scruggs, long snapper Chris Stoll, tight end Brenton Strange, linebacker Jonathan Sutherland, defensive end Nick Tarburton, wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley and wide receiver Parker Washington all were present at the Nittany Lions pro day.
P.J. Mustipher is the brother of Bears offensive lineman Sam Mustipher, who has started in 40 games for the Bears over the past three seasons at center.
Panthers, Seahawks, and Titans in Attendance to Watch Will Levis Throw
Breer reported that Reich and Fitterer were in attendance at Levis’s pro day. Joining them was Seahawks HC Pete Carrol and GM John Schneider and Titans HC Mike Vrabel and GM Ran Carthon.
The Seahawks and Titans don’t have immediate needs at QB, but each team could be searching for a starter in 2024. The Seahawks just gave Geno Smith a three-year extension, but they could get out of that after a season. Even though it would result in a $17 million cap hit, if they really needed the money and Levis would be ready to play in 2024 they could go that route.
Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill is in the final year of his deal currently, and the Titans’ offensive philosophy and Levis’s play style align well. Being able to sit for a season may not be necessary for the upcoming rookie, but it wouldn’t hurt him to sit out and process things from the sidelines for a year.
Texas RB Roschon Johnson Had a Busy Week
While Bijan Robinson is the University of Texas’ highest-profile running back, fellow Longhorn Roschon Johnson has a decent chance to be drafted relatively high, as well. Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Media, Johnson had two private workouts, three Zoom calls, and a dinner with a team this week.
Johnson was overshadowed by Robinson, but he managed at least 500 rushing yards in three of his four seasons in Austin. At 6-foot-2 and 220+ pounds, Johnson will be a power back in the NFL ranks. He’s projected to be selected at some point on Day 2 of the draft.