NFL draft winners, losers: Eagles, Texans ace both picks in first round

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What a crazy first round the 2023 NFL Draft provided, both in terms of who was selected (and when) and who wasn’t.

It was a big night for both contenders and contenders. And another banner night for the Southeastern Conference powerhouses. And as usual, it was the quarterbacks who stole the show early…but as the evening wore on, others showed no signs of showing.

With only 31 picks, it’s still early, and the next six rounds could make a big difference in how each team’s overall draft looks. But Thursday provided a snapshot — big and bright — of where this holistic assessment project is headed.

Your winners and losers from Round 1:


Philadelphia Eagles: The NFC champions appeared to further separate themselves from the rest of the largely dismal conference while continuing to build the University of Georgia’s northern satellite campus by drafting Bulldogs DT Jaylen Carter (No. 9) and OLB/DE Nolan Smith (No. 30). They join former Dawgs DT Jordan Davis and LB Nacobe Dean, both of whom Philly drafted last year. The defense, which finished second overall in 2022 and paced the NFL with 70 regular-season sacks, is getting even deeper and more intimidating.

CJ Stroud: Coming out of this year’s scouting combine — and of course after the Chicago Bears dealt the No. 1 pick — the Ohio State star was widely considered the first or second player off the board. That narrative has changed in recent weeks, with Stroud becoming the subject of an unflattering (and unfair) press. But Houston took him second overall, becoming the Buckeyes’ highest-drafted quarterback in the overall draft era (since 1967). And his relief and emotion was palpable after the call.

Houston Texans: By the time, alas, the smoke had cleared, the recent AFC doormats had actually taken their young quarterback (Stroud) in the draft before making a bold move — at a big, big price (two first-rounders, a second and a third). rounder) – Return to No. 3 Alabama OLB/DE Will Anderson Jr., who should captain the defense for the next decade. The Texans became the third team in the overall draft era to select twice in the first three spots of the 1st round. It may be a few more years before Houston returns to the playoffs, but this organization is pushing for relevance and likely won’t be a much longer walk.

Bryce Young: The first ‘Bama player to be taken first in the overall draft era, he brings his prodigious talent to a Carolina Panthers team desperate for a quarterback and new face of the franchise. And the 2021 Heisman Trophy-winning team could make the playoffs after the Panthers just missed out on winning the NFC South last season.

Draft by Daniel Jeremiah: The NFL Network’s chief draft analyst, who also doubles as a swell guy, did just that Wednesday night, projecting Stroud and Anderson to go to Houston with the second and third picks, respectively, pending a trade with Arizona. Anyone else have one? Feel free to pick my Powerball numbers, DJ.

Arizona Cardinals: They were the beneficiary of a trade of Anderson’s pick to Houston and shortly thereafter landed Ohio State LT Paris Johnson Jr. at No. 6, who fills a huge need for a team dealing with injured QB Kyler Murray (ACL surgery). back on the field. New GM Monti Ossenfort appears to have already completed this overhaul well ahead of schedule.

Anthony Richardson: The supremely gifted but woefully inexperienced quarterback from Florida landed the fourth overall pick of the Indianapolis Colts … and new HC Shane Steichen, who was instrumental in the development of Los Chargers QB Justin Herbert and future Eagles superstar Jalen Hurt. And with Gardner Minshew, Richardson won’t need to play right away, but if he does, he’ll spend plenty of time handing off to 2021 rushing champion Jonathan Taylor.

Lamar Jackson: Prior to the start of the draft, the Baltimore Ravens superstar quarterback finally secured his long-awaited contract extension, becoming the highest-paid player in league history (in terms of average annual compensation) with a five-year, $260 million deal. A few hours later, he also had a new weapon, GM Eric DeCosta taking a receiver in the 1st round for the third time in five years, selecting Boston College explosive Zay Flowers.

Teams needing a quarterback in 2024: The Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings have projected starting quarterbacks who will be free agents a year from now. However, going into Round 2, everyone has a good shot at a potential replacement…more on those later.

New England Patriots: They took a top 10 talent, Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez with the 17th pick and dealt it to the division rival Jets…more on them later.

Running Backs: Running back (Texas’ Bijan Robinson) made the top 10 for the first time since Saquon Barkley was selected second overall by the New York Giants in 2018. Two went in the top 12, and Detroit took Jameer Gibbs for the first time since then. 2017 (Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey). 2019-2022 2018 drafts marked the first time in the overall draft era that no RB was taken in the top 15, and the streak has now ended.

Fifth power: For the first time in the common draft era, each first-round pick was selected from the quintet of major conferences based on the league’s current membership. Alabama, Georgia State and Ohio State each had three 1st round selections. The Crimson Tide secured the first offensive (Young) and defensive player (Anderson) in the draft, the first time the school has done so since Michigan State in 1967.


Pac-12, ACC: They’ve still somehow eliminated the Power Five, the “coastal” conferences that fail to land top 15 picks…much like they’ve failed to qualify for the College Football Playoff the past two years. This draft was the first time the top 15 selections were limited to three conferences.

Bijan Robinson: He’s a great player with 4.4 speed, nice feet, soft hands and great productivity (over 3,300 yards from scrimmage over the past two seasons while averaging 6.7 yards per touch). But you’d like to see his back join a team ready to win right away, like Buffalo or Philadelphia. Robinson will certainly make a huge impact on the Atlanta Falcons offense, but how much of his tread will some project as a top-average team for the next few years? If Robinson is successful, HC Arthur Smith will continue to rely heavily on Tyler Allgeier, a 1,000-yard rusher as a rookie last season.

New York Jets: Everyone in America knew they needed another offensive lineman to protect newly acquired QB Aaron Rodgers, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, who contacted the Patriots and took the No. 14 pick, beating the Jets and landing highly-touted Georgia LT Broderick Jones. The Jets, who were genuinely shocked by their 13th and 15th pick swap with the Green Bay Packers, also don’t seem to have rebounded well by taking lanky Iowa State quarterback Will McDonald IV over, say, Oklahoma LT Anton Harrison. As Wednesday was upbeat in Rodgers’ opening remarks, Thursday was… not so good.

Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love: The former pack leader and rookie still can’t get any offensive help in the first round with Green Bay selecting Iowa DE Lukas Van Ness. The more things change…

Penn State: What is CB Joey Porter Jr., son of former Steelers star running back, out of the 1st round? And the Nittany Lions, amazingly, still have never selected a quarterback in the first round.

Miami Dolphins: Their first-round pick was lost because owner Stephen Ross manipulated Tom Brady and Sean Payton when both were under contract elsewhere, Miami’s ban suspended because the team didn’t rebound from the trade either. The Finns entered the draft with four picks, the same as in 2022, when they also had the fewest.

Tight ends: The position is projected to be one of the deepest in the 2023 draft, but only one, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid (Buffalo Bills), was selected Thursday. Notre Dame’s Michael Michaels, Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave, Georgia’s Darnell Washington, Iowa’s Sam LaPorta and others are expected to come off the board fairly quickly on Friday. Lungs were also shut down for much of the night, but then four in a row were included on the 20th-23rd. will choose, for the first time since 1967.

Detroit Lions: Gibbs no. 12? Iowa LB Jack Campbell at 18? Both appeared to be significant overdrafts — and even if you worry about Gibbs’ possible future round, say, do the Jets play solid and fall to No. 15?

DeAndre Hopkins: Still a Cardinal … and apparently, the odds of the 30-year-old Pro Bowl wideout escaping the wilderness any time soon are likely diminishing.

Will Lewis: The former Kentucky star was widely considered one of at least four first-round picks and was even linked to the Colts with the No. 4 pick. But Levis was never called up as he suffered (literally) from a physically demanding 2022 season. for the Wildcats before an upset Thursday night, when he looked increasingly angry as he waited in the green room. Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker also remains available, though that’s less of a surprise given his current recovery from reconstructive knee surgery and questions about how the 25-year-old will transition from the Vols’ crafty offense to the NFL.


Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

#NFL #draft #winners #losers #Eagles #Texans #ace #picks

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