We are just a few days out from the 2023 NFL Draft and after the first pick, it’s anybody’s guess. How far could C.J. Stroud fall? Who will take Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba? And is Calijah Kancey a lock to be selected in round one? Here’s the latest.
NFL Draft Rumors: Quarterbacks Continue to Divide Opinion
It’s really anybody’s guess as to what will happen at the quarterback position at this point. I’ve had people tell me quarterbacks will go 1-2-3-4, while others say that after Bryce Young the next signal-caller selected will be by the Colts with the fourth pick.
Should Stroud get past the Texans, most believe the Colts will take either Stroud or Will Levis at four. Just about everyone I’ve spoken with believes Stroud won’t get past the Raiders at pick number 7.
If the Texans pass on Stroud, there is a belief they’ll take Tyree Wilson with the second selection. But I’m told Wilson’s medicals are a bit problematic for Houston, and they are leaning toward Will Anderson with that choice.
Could a Team Trade Up For Paris Johnson Third Overall?
I posted a tweet on Saturday stating at least one team is looking to trade up with Arizona for an offensive lineman. That lineman is Paris Johnson Jr., the left tackle from Ohio State. Some people lost their minds over the tweet, but it makes complete sense.
Johnson is the 7th rated player on my big board, so taking him with the third pick of the draft is not much of a reach. In a draft void of talent at the left tackle spot, Johnson has cemented himself as the best in this class. While the league has gone QB crazy in round one, left tackle is still a position that teams covet in the early part of the draft, and there aren’t many good ones in 2023.
Northwestern lineman Peter Skoronski is being compared to Brandon Scherff by people I’ve spoken with- a college tackle who’ll play guard in the NFL and then go on to be a multiple Pro Bowl performer.
Could Jalen Carter be Heading to Seattle?
The belief around the league is Seattle will use the fifth pick of the draft to select Jalen Carter, something I tweeted earlier this week. And while that may be the belief around the league, I can’t say that’s the feeling inside the Seattle war room.
There may be some hesitancy from Seattle to hand Carter the $30 million in guarantees that come along with selecting him as the fifth pick. There is a feeling that people outside the Seattle organization seem more confident of what the franchise will do with the fifth pick than the Seahawks themselves.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba the Clear Cut WR1
After speaking with more than two dozen people I don’t think there is any doubt Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the first receiver selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s been the top player at the position since my first big board was released back in February. I heard two interesting nuggets on Smith-Njiba this weekend.
First, the Philadelphia Eagles are making a late push on the wideout and doing a lot of work on him in recent days. Second, Smith-Njiba is definitely part of the conversation for the Jets at 13 if the offensive tackles are off the board. I was told outright that the Jets are absolutely considering Smith-Njiba with that pick. Both bits of news surprised me, yet I was able to confirm each of them.
If no offensive tackle is available to the Jets at 13, I believe they are in a perfect position to trade down. There will be several teams wanting to trade up for one of the bigger cornerbacks still available (likely Deonte Banks or Joey Porter Jr.) as well as franchises who’ll want to move up to acquire Smith-Njigba.
The Dallas Cowboys have been calling around and doing a lot of last-minute work on the receivers. They are not just calling college coaches of receivers they have an interest in, but people outside the organization they consult with on college prospects.
Getting back to the cornerback position, Deonte Banks is the hot name at the position right now and looks as though he’s going to be selected earlier than most believe. I’m told there is a real possibility Banks could surpass Joey Porter Jr and end up as the third cornerback off the board.
Calijah Kancey’s First-Round Potential
I’ve never been as high on Kancey as most, and I don’t think he’s a great first-round projection. The size (6’1”, 281 pounds), lack of growth potential, and short arms (just over 30.5 inches) worry me. Despite my opinion, everything I’ve been told in recent days points to Kancey being a lock as a first-round pick.
Who would select him in the first round? If I was a betting man, I’d go with the New Orleans Saints. The franchise has been digging deep into Kancey and burning the phone lines talking with his coaches at Pittsburgh recently to get as much detail as possible on the defensive tackle.
Two weeks ago, during the Football Insiders show with Trey Wingo and Brett Yaris, I mentioned Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, “loves Northwestern defensive lineman Adetomiwa Adebawore.”
And while Roseman loves him, it does not seem likely that the Eagles take him with the 30th pick. The Eagles defense will be going to more of a 3-4 the upcoming season and would be looking for a two-gap lineman as opposed to the one-gap/three-technique defender Adebawore projects to be.
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