2023 NFL Draft Round One Winners

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Photo Credit: CBS Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft kicked off last night in Kansas City. We watched 31 talented players realize their dreams had become a reality. As for the 31 teams that selected last night, they will hope to look back knowing they were winners on that special night in Kansas City. So let’s take a look at the winners of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

 

Las Vegas Raiders

Pick Seven – Edge Tyree Wilson Texas Tech

 

The Raiders landed just the right player in a division full of quarterback talent. Texas Tech product Tyree Wilson will head up to Vegas, where he will join a unit that consists of Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. 

 

At 6’6″ and 271 lbs Wilson looks the part of an NFL edge rusher and can play the role of one too. With his elite size and good athleticism, Wilson should play strong against both the run and the pass. In addition, his quickness and length allow him to be a disruptor. His production was consistent throughout college. In his senior season, Wison was named a second-team AP All-American. He led the Red Raider’s defense with 14 tackles for loss and recorded seven sacks and 61 tackles in 10 games. 

 

When you’re in a division with guys like Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Russell Wilson, it’s easy to see why this was the pick for the silver and black.  

 

Seattle Seahawks 

Pick 20 – WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba 

 

Why not add more talent to a unit that features players like Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf? That’s exactly what Seattle did when selecting Ohio State’s Jaxson Smith-Njigba. As a result, the now-former Buckeye adds more firepower to an offense that was ranked 13th in total offense a season ago. 

 

Production is not even a question. In his final five games in 2021 Smith-Njigba averaged 192 yards receiving per game, and in the 2022 Rose Bowl shined brightly, putting up 15 receptions, 347 yards, and three touchdowns. He should provide Seattle with good play in the slot. He displays good toughness in the middle against defenses and can make catches in heavy traffic. 

 

With Geno Smith coming off a career year and an offense with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Kenneth Walker II, adding the Ohio State product should only strengthen this arsenal of weapons.  

 

Baltimore Ravens 

Pick 22 – WR Zay Flowers Boston College 

 

It’s been an eventful month of April for the Baltimore Ravens. First, the team signed Super Bowl champion wideout Odell Beckham Jr on April 13th. Then, things continued to get better for Ravens fans as the organization finally came to a long-term extension agreement of five years, $260 million, with star quarterback Lamar Jackson just before the draft. Adding to the good news, the team selected Boston College wideout Zay Flowers with the 22nd pick. 

 

Flower’s production was on full display last season. He set career marks with 78 receptions, 1,077 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns as far as his skill set goes. Flowers, a slippery open-field runner, plays well against man coverage and plays with speed and moves with athleticism. 

 

Expectations should be high while excuses are no more. The Ravens have delivered a new contract and weapons for the former league MVP to help the team make a run.

 

New York Giants

Pick 24 – CB Deonte Banks Maryland 

 

I like this pick for multiple reasons. First, the Giants didn’t reach for a wide receiver; second, they filled a big need with a talented player. The Giants watched as the top wideouts came off the board with four picks in a row. Instead of reaching on who remained, the Giants drafted a talented cornerback in Maryland’s, Deonte Banks.

 

Banks will pair up with another talented corner Adoree Jackson, who is coming off a solid campaign in 2022. Bank’s traits stand out in his game. He can play multiple coverages and mirror defenders. He also has the speed to keep up with opponents. 

 

This selection makes sense when considering the Giants have to face players such as AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Ceedee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Terry Mclaurin each twice per season. 

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Pick Nine – DT Jalen Carter, Georgia

Pick 31 – Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia

 

Everyone would say the unanimous winners of round one are the defending NFC champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. Last season the Eagles had arguably the deepest defensive front in football. Yet somehow, they found a way to strengthen the unit. The Eagles held the ninth pick from a trade made in the last draft with the Saints. They watched as Georgia’s star defensive tackle Jalen Carter fell to them at pick nine, and then as the night ended, another standout Bulldog in edge rusher Nolan Smith. It’s no secret that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman loves to build up front on both sides. The Eagles can credit much of their recent Super Bowl runs thanks to their defensive fronts. Adding Carter and Smith only increases their chances at another run. 

 

Carter, ranked by some experts as the best prospect in the draft and viewed as a top-five pick, would fall after an off-field incident. This was a rush to the podium selection for Roseman at pick nine. Toughness, explosiveness, and a high skill level are just a few traits that Carter brings to the table. He shoots out of his stance like a bullet, out-leverages blockers, and quickly wins battles. Overall, he is a force and a nightmare for any opposing offense.

 

The Eagles weren’t ready to call it a night. Instead, at pick 31, they watched as another impactful Bulldog fell into their hands. Nolan Smith, who I expected to be off the board by then, will join his Georgia teammate and other past Bulldog teammates in Philly. As for his skill set. Despite his small frame, Smith can be difficult to move; he plays with good technique and leverage. He ran an impressive 4.39 40 at the combine and has the speed to win off the edge. 

 

Let’s sum it up the Eagles drafted two talented defensive players who will now be joining a defensive front that consists of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jordan Davis, Haason Reddick, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, and Nakobe Dean. With four guys coming from the Georgia defense, we can refer to them as the Philadelphia Bulldogs.