The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and it was about as chaotic — at least early on — as just about everyone predicted it to be. Even though every “grade” or piece of analysis of the NFL Draft is subjective until the players actually go and take the field, we’ve got to analyze what happened and react to the madness.
Which teams or players came away the biggest winners of the first round, and who emerged a “loser”? Let’s take a look at four in each category.
2023 NFL Draft: 4 winners and losers from the first round
Amidst flurries of debate on who the pick would be, Frank Reich, Scott Fitterer, and co. stuck to their guns and got this pick right. Bryce Young should be the unquestioned QB1 in this draft class, and now gives a team that has been searching for their replacement for Cam Newton for the last half-decade their answer.
Taking C.J. Stroud at 2 and sticking at 12 would have been good, but taking Stroud and then trading back up for the best EDGE in this class borders on genius. DeMeco Ryans is the perfect coach to develop Anderson into a perennial Pro Bowl/All-Pro level pass rusher, and Stroud offers a high floor, and an even higher ceiling at the QB position. A division that has been considered a laughing stock in recent history is starting to look very interesting.
A few short hours after being inked to a fresh 5-year, $260 million deal, Baltimore’s franchise quarterback received yet another gift as the team drafted my 2nd ranked Wide Receiver in this draft class in Boston College’s Zay Flowers. Two weeks ago, this team looked like it was bound for dark days ahead as Lamar’s future with the team was highly in question. Then they signed Odell Beckham Jr, and the feeling began to shift. Now, a few weeks later, the former unanimous MVP is back for the long haul, and this receiving core, barring injury, just got really good.
Check out this story to read more about Baltimore’s successful offseason.
Going to the Super Bowl and then still having the opportunity to draft many people’s top-ranked prospect in this class just feels completely unfair. Pairing Jalen Carter, and his teammate Nolan Smith who they drafted 21 picks later, with two other Georgia defenders from the same generational college defense in Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean all about guarantees this elite Philadelphia Eagles defense will remain elite for years to come.