We are just over 24 hours from the start of the 2023 NFL Draft, and the rumors are really starting to fly. The top 10 selections this year are fascinating, with no consensus on where C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson could be taken. Other names who are floating up and down mock drafts include Bijan Robinson, Jalen Carter, and Hendon Hooker. Let’s take a look at some of the latest from around the NFL as we look ahead to the first round.
NFL Draft Rumors: Where Could Levis, Stroud, and Richardson Go?
In many ways, the shape of the entire first round hinges on the three names of Levis, Stroud, and Richardson. Some still believe all three could be top-five selections, while others feel we could see at least two outside the top five and one outside the top 10.
Despite all the hype Tuesday around Levis going first overall, that seems unlikely. The Carolina Panthers still appear to be locked in on Bryce Young at the top of the draft. That could mean we see Levis heading to the Indianapolis Colts. Whether that is at two, three, or four remains to be seen. The Colts could decide to jump up a spot or two to ensure they get him, or they may stand pat and see if Levis falls into their laps.
Stroud is proving to be a wild card. The recent news cycle has not been friendly, and it has seen his stock fall in the eyes of some analysts. A hard stop for Stroud could very well be the Las Vegas Raiders at seven. Vegas’ front office appears to like Stroud but do not expect him to fall into their lap. If Stroud does, in fact, get past the Raiders, it seems unlikely he drops past Tennessee at 11.
Richardson has seemingly been mocked all over the top 10 but could end up falling outside of it. The Titans have several questions at QB, and Richardson’s explosive upside could entice them at 11 if no one takes him inside the top 10.
Could Bijan Robinson Head to Atlanta?
In the last two drafts, we’ve seen the Atlanta Falcons build their offense and take their best player available, even if it means eschewing relative positional value. Could they be set to do so again this year by selecting Robinson eighth overall?
It would certainly be a big upgrade at the position, and with uncertainty over the likes of Carter, Robinson may well be a case of the best player available to fill a reasonably big need. There has also been some talk of a trade down for Atlanta to then select Robinson. However, with the Philadelphia Eagles at 10 and viewed as a natural suitor for Robinson, that could be a risk.
Where Will Jalen Carter Be Selected?
Another player with a potentially wide range of outcomes is Jalen Carter. Talent-wise, he’s among the best in this draft.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
The Georgia DT sits atop my 2023 big board, but the character concerns mean he could slide a little on Thursday. The Seahawks, Falcons, Bears, Eagles, and Texans could all be potential landing spots for the talented defensive lineman.
Will Hendon Hooker Be a First-Round Selection?
There appears to be a reasonably wide range of outcomes for Hooker in this draft. Some see him as a Day 2 prospect, but we could see a team willing to take him in Round 1. The most likely area would be in the 20-to-25 region.
A team like the Minnesota Vikings would make sense. They don’t need to rush Hooker onto the field with Kirk Cousins under contract, but they need a succession plan at quarterback. Hooker would make sense for Minnesota as a landing spot, but it could prove controversial when upgrades are needed in other areas.
If the Vikings don’t take Hooker, it will be intriguing to see whether any team would be willing to trade up into the first round. Doing so would mean they secure a player that is 28th on my board and my third-highest-graded QB. That team would also get themselves the security of the fifth-year option for a player that likely won’t see the field until at least his second season.
Are the Kansas City Chiefs a Candidate To Trade Up?
One team to keep an eye on as a candidate to trade up is the Kansas City Chiefs. They could stand pat and hope a receiver falls into their laps, or Kansas City could move up 5-10 spots and secure their preferred target.
If one of them is Kansas City’s target, they may have to jump a few teams just to make sure. Getting above Dallas or Minnesota very well could end up being key, with both teams potentially in the frame for a WR.
Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast
Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.