With round one of the NFL Draft 2023 in the books we saw a ton of trades, surprises, and players falling into at least round two. While there was a ton of talent taken with the first 31 picks, there’s a lot more talent left to find their teams. Some may claim a few of these guys already should have.
Addressing the elephant in the room, Kentucky QB Will Levis is still waiting for his turn. I’ll give him one thing, he’s definitely a patient man. Watching him look around the green room while the rest of his class alumni was getting brutal. Even those who doubted Levis the most probably didn’t see this slide coming. From top five pick to out of the first round, all eyes will be on Levis for round two. Rumors of Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker sneaking into the first round ultimately proved to be untrue. Teams are definitely intrigued with the 25 year old prospect, look for him to be an early day two pick as well.
Sticking to the offensive side of the ball, it was a bit shocking to see only Utah TE Dalton Kincaid selected by the Buffalo Bills. While not flashy, Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer was regarded as a first round talent by many analysts. In fact, many had him going as high as pick 13 to the Green Bay Packers. It may have something to do with the fact that this is a very deep tight end class. Expect Mayer as well as the likes of Darnell Washington (Georgia) and Sam Laporta (Iowa) among others to come off the board Friday.
Rounding out the offense are a few offensive linemen that many due to position are seen as second round talents. So is the life of an interior offensive lineman. Esteban Avila (TCU), John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota), and O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida) didn’t get a lot of hype. But they are as good and as talented at what they do as most of those that went before them.
There are two defensive players that highlight defensive talent that fell to day two, both of whom play in the secondary. The first is Alabama Safety Brian Branch. Like Mayer, he was also someone who some saw as a first-round pick as early as the teens. And like the IOL, he likely suffered from position value. Perhaps if he tested better athletically that may have been the case, but he shouldn’t have to wait much longer.
The second player is Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr who’s a physical corner that’s not afraid to use is long arms. Sometimes a bit to aggressive, but often in control of his body movement which helps battle the biggest receivers. His lack of ball skills (one career interception) likely contributed to his fall. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of good corners left in this strong class. Cam Smith (South Carolina), Julius Brents (Kansas State), and Kelee Ringo (Georgia) are three more that will soon be off the board. These are all very impressive players with equally impressive film.
While there’s a ton of talent on the front seven left in the class, only one kind of crept into the first in some mocks but in the end didn’t make it. Georgia Tech EDGE Keion White is a classic low floor, high ceiling athletic freak of a prospect. His feel and technique need work, but you can’t teach that size and speed combo.
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