The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday night is reportedly expected to be “insane.”
As one team put it to me over the weekend …
"Thursday is going to be insane. No one knows what's going to happen this year."
Welcome to draft week.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) April 24, 2023
James Palmer works for NFL Network, which along with ESPN, will have extensive coverage of the annual three-day infusion of new talent into the league. That status offers him the opportunity to speak with a variety of individuals in the league in order to get a sense of what to expect this year.
In truth, many NFL drafts from the past have been unpredictable due to a variety of factors. Trades to move up or down, a late injury to a prospect or just a team going in another direction than expected serve as some of the reasons why predicting which players will go where is virtually impossible.
During the months leading up to the draft, teams take close, extended looks at players they could potentially select. A team’s needs might also be affected by how it approached free agency.
Before drafts, there’s typically plenty of upheaval when it comes to the first round. For example, the Chicago Bears originally had the top overall pick in this year’s draft but dealt that to the Carolina Panthers for a trade package that included wide receiver D.J. Moore.
In addition, teams that acquired quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Matthew Stafford gave up first-round picks from this year to make those blockbuster deals.
As always, prime talent exists at all positions, with a trio of quarterbacks likely to be among those selected early. That group includes Bryce Young from the University of Alabama, C. J. Stroud from Ohio State University and Will Levis from the University of Kentucky.
Yet, there’s always a chance that one of those individuals or others may see their draft stocks plummet in embarrassing fashion.
If that does take place, those individuals can take comfort in the fact that many NFL superstars were snubbed by countless teams before later gaining revenge.
One of the most notable examples is quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was considered among the top players in the 2005 NFL Draft. He dropped to the 24th overall pick, when he was taken by the Green Bay Packers. Since then, Rodgers has become one of the league’s greatest signal-callers.
Saturday will be the final day of the draft, with teams then looking to sign the undrafted free agents that remain.