The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft was full of intrigue and surprises, with the Houston Texans making a major splash by trading their way into two top-three picks. They selected Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud with the second overall pick and Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. with the third overall pick, potentially laying the foundation for the team's future success.
The draft also highlighted the continued value of the running back position, as Bijan Robinson went eighth overall to the Atlanta Falcons and Jahmyr Gibbs was selected 12th overall by the Detroit Lions. This was significant because no running back had been picked in the top 10 since 2018, and the last time two backs were taken within the first 12 picks was in 2017.
Other notable winners from the first round include Howie Roseman, general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, who made key moves to bolster the team's defense with the selections of Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and edge rusher Nolan Smith. The Eagles also secured an extension with their quarterback, Jalen Hurts, giving them more flexibility in roster-building.
Meanwhile, some talented players who were projected to go in the first round, such as Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer, Alabama safety Brian Branch, and Georgia Tech edge rusher Keion White, were left disappointed as they were not selected. This is the reality of the draft, as teams' decisions are unpredictable and can have a significant impact on players' futures.
Overall, the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft showcased the ongoing importance of quarterbacks, big men on both sides of the ball, and dynamic running backs, while also highlighting the unpredictability of the draft and the high stakes involved for players, teams, and general managers.