2023 NFL Draft Eve Latest Gossip, Rodgers Jets In And Other Big NFL News

By Ian John
April 26, 2023

There is just one day to go before the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City and as teams make their final preparations for the First Round of the draft, starting at 1am in the morning UK time, anticipation is high as to who each of the 31 teams picking on Thursday will pick.

Ever since the Chicago Bears announced that they were trading the first overall pick to the Carolina Panthers weeks ago, focus has been not on which position the Panthers will target, consensus is it will be a quarterback, but which of the star QB options they will go for.

However, there are intriguing stories further down the draft order too. Will the Texans go, as expected for a QB with the second pick, or could they pick someone else or even trade away the pick?

Down the draft, what teams will be looking to move up with the Seahawks, Raiders, Colts and Titans amongst just some of the teams linked with an attempt to move up the draft to secure the player that they want.

Favourite To Be Drafted First?

Bet365 Sport still has Alabama quarterback Bryce Young as the 1/9 favourite to be drafted first by the Panthers, with Will Levis now the 5/1 second favourite, ahead of C.J.Stroud, who was once the favourite to be drafted first just after the NFL Combine, but who is now a 20/1 shot.

Rumours persist that the Panthers have settled on Bryce Young as their first pick, this comes on the back of two pieces of evidence. Young visited both the Texans and Panthers before cancelling all his other pre-draft meetings.

That, experts suggest, means that Young won’t go past the second pick of this draft.

Then earlier this week, Frank Reich, the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers announced that he and his backroom staff had reached a consensus over which player they are going to draft first.

Back in February after the combine, that appeared to be C.J.Stroud, but now it seems that Bryce Young will be the next Panther QB, although there are some making noise that the Panthers could surprise everyone by drafting Will Levis, whose odds have tumbled down to 6/1.

Houston Hints For Number 2 Pick?

Assuming Young does go first in the draft, the Houston Texans had been expected to draft another quarterback with the second pick and for most of the past few months, that had been expected to be either C.J.Stroud or Bryce Young, whoever remained on the board after the first pick.

However, there are stories from Houston that suggest the Texans have got cold feet over drafting C.J.Stroud with their pick, even to the point of preferring either Will Levis or Anthony Richardson in place of the Ohio State star.

Talk is now that Houston could pick up the top edge rusher in the draft, Will Anderson Jr, or that they could trade down in the draft, picking up extra draft capital but moving to a position still high enough that they can nab one of their top targets.

If that is the case, then there are rumours that the Texans will go with a QB and will select either Levis or Richardson or perhaps even Tennessee Vols QB Hendon Hooker, who would have been ranked higher in this draft but for a season ending ACL injury last season.

Who could trade with the Texans? Well, the Colts and Titans have been mooted, but would the Texans want to trade with a team in their own Division (the AFC South)? I think a more viable option would be a team like the Las Vegas Raiders, although the Texans may prefer the security of the Colts 4th pick as opposed to the Raiders 7th pick in the draft.

Whatever Houston decides to do here will have ripples throughout the rest of the draft and could lead to some serious trading and jockeying between teams as they seek to get the player they have identified as their top pick.

Cardinals Could Move Down If Offer Is Right

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort has stated that he is willing to ship the 3rd pick in the draft “if the trade make sense”.

With the Cardinals set at quarterback with Kyler Murray on a lucrative long-term deal, the Cardinals could elect to strengthen from that position by picking one of the best defensive players in the draft, or they could look to pick up significant draft capital from QB-needy teams who may be spooked if two quarterbacks go off the board in the first two picks.

Ossenfort is in the midst of a rebuild in Arizona and the extra draft capital a trade down would secure, especially if it is for the 2023 draft, rather than in 2024, would be a huge positive.

With Budda Baker wanting out of the Cardinals, JJ.Watt retiring and DeAndre Hopkins long term future up in the air, the Cardinals could benefit from a haul of picks for their number 3 slot.

The question is whether any team would be willing to pay what the Cardinals want for that third pick.

Stick Or Twist – The Colts Dilemma

The Indianapolis Colts need a quarterback and it is pretty much an open secret that the Colts new head coach, former Eagles offensive co-ordinator Shane Steichen, wants a quarterback to help him build a new Colts offense.

Intriguingly, Steichen had huge success with Jalen Hurts with the Eagles, with Hurts ability to run, as well as pass from the pocket, making him a nightmare for defenses to scheme against.

Many Colts fans have this to mean that the Colts could elect to stay at number 4 in the draft, if the Texans trade out of the second spot, or they could even move up to 2nd or 3rd pick to secure the QB that the new head coach wants.

That may not be CJ Stroud or Will Levis, but instead Antony Richardson.

The combine superstar impressed everyone with his athleticism and the watching Colts scouts cannot have failed to have been impressed.

Richardson though isn’t a polished pocket passer and may need time to develop that away from the glare of the watching millions of NFL fans.

Will Levis arguably better fits the Colts stereotypical quarterback of the past, such as Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck, but the question is whether the Colts new head coach wants to follow a tested formula, or do his own thing.

By Friday morning we are likely to know the answer to that question.

Jets Make Rodgers Trade Permanent

In other QB news, the New York Jets have agreed terms with the Green Bay Packers for the trade of Aaron Rodgers.

The 39-year-old 4-time NFL MVP will join up with Jets when the trade is made official, likely on Wednesday or Thursday this week.

One QB going nowhere though is the Bengals star Joe Burrow as the Bengals have taken up his fifth year option, and the Minnesota Vikings have done likewise on their star receiver Justin Jefferson.

Check back tomorrow, when we will give you our last-minute NFL Mock Draft V2.0, following on from my mock compiled at the end of the NFL Combine in February.

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