The 10 Best 2023 NFL Draft Picks – Who Got The Best Value For Their Pick?

By Ian John
May 4, 2023

Earlier this week, we gave you a complete round up of the 2023 NFL Draft, focusing on all the picks made by the 16 AFC teams and the 16 NFC teams.

Well now that the dust has settled and the new picks have moved off to start work for their new franchises, let’s take time to peruse the WHOLE draft and look at ten picks that we think teams got great value for their pick.

What do we mean by that? Well, we know that the best players get picked first in the draft, but sometimes, great college talent can slip through the net and be drafted later in the first round or even drop to the second or even third round.

On top of that, there are some gems to be found in the later rounds too.

Over the years, the following players have all been picked up in the later rounds of the draft:

The Greatest Late Round Picks In NFL Draft History?

  • QB Tom Brady – Round 6 – 199th pick
  • RB Bo Jackson – Round 7 – 183rd pick
  • TE Shannon Sharpe – Round 7 – 192nd pick
  • DE Deacon Jones – Round 14 – 186th pick
  • C Mike Webster – Round 5 – 125th pick
  • QB Bart Starr – Round 17 – 200th pick
  • RB Terrell Davis – Round 6 – 196th pick
  • C Matt Birk – Round 6 – 173rd pick
  • LB Adalius Thomas – Round 6 – 186th pick
  • WR Joe Horn – Round 5 – 135th pick
  • LB Robert Mathis – Round 5 – 138th pick
  • WR Stevie Johnson – Round 7 – 224th pick
  • WR TJ Houshmandzadeh – Round 7 – 204th pick
  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Round 7 – 250th pick
  • WR Amon-Ra St. Brown – Round 4 – 112th pick
  • S Talanoa Hufanga – Round 5 – 180th pick
  • DE Maxx Crosby – Round 4 – 106th pick
  • RB Tony Pollard – Round 4 – 128th pick
  • WR Hunter Renfrow – Round 5 – 149th pick
  • DE Josh Sweat – Round 4 – 130th pick
  • OG Wyatt Teller – Round 5 – 166th pick
  • WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Round 5 – 174th pick
  • TE George Kittle – Round 5 – 146th pick
  • LB Matt Milano – Round 5 – 163rd pick
  • RB Aaron Jones – Round 5 – 182nd pick
  • RB Dameon Pierce – Round 4 – 107th pick
  • CB Tariq Woolen – Round 5 – 153rd pick
  • RB Isiah Pacheco – Round 7 – 251st pick
  • QB Brock Purdy – Round 7 – 262nd pick (final pick in the draft)

That is a lengthy list of high-calibre NFL talent for sure!

So with our top ten, we are not only looking for value compared with the pick, but also h ow excited we are to see that particular player take to the field in the NFL, which is why this top ten may be a little different to the top ten picks you may find elsewhere.

The Ten Best Value NFL Draft Picks Of 2023

  1. QB Will Levis (Kentucky) – Round 2 – Pick 33 to Tennessee Titans

Before the draft, rumours were that Will Levis could go as high as number 1, and with the Panthers, Texans and Colts at 1,2 and 4, all linked with drafting the Kentucky QB, few expected Levis to be around when the Titans picked at number 11. So for Tennessee to trade up and grab him with the third pick of the second round at 33 is fantastic value. Opinion is split amongst Titans fans on the value of this pick, but for me, with work, Levis may well end that long list of dud Titans QB draft picks (Vince Young, Jake Locker, Zach Mettenberg, Malik Willis) who failed to fill the huge void left by Steve McNair with Ryan Tannehill, traded from the Dolphins, being the best Titans QB since McNair by a comfortable margin. Could Levis change that?

  • S Brian Branch (Alabama) – Round 2 – Pick 45 to Detroit Lions

I was staggered to see Branch drop from a potential first round pick, to the Lions at 45 in the second. For me, he is a franchise safety who I think is going to slot in perfectly at the Lions and become a stalwart player for them at that position. Many felt the Lions overreached with their first two picks in the draft, their third in picking up Branch was a great value pick for a player that I feel will start this season in the team.

  • EDGE Nolan Smith (Georgia) – Round 1 – Pick 30 to Philadelphia Eagles

It’s pretty rare that I’d select a first round pick as a great value option, but the fact that Nolan Smith fell to the Eagles at 30th and they paired him with Jalen Carter (and later on Kelee Ringo) was a sensational piece of business from the Eagles GM. I had Smith as a solid mid first round pick so to get him with the penultimate pick of the first round, at no extra cost, was fantastic business.

  • CB Christian Gonzalez (Oregon) – Round 1 – Pick 17 to New England Patriots

For me, the best corner in the draft and one that I had expected to be at least a top ten talent and most likely a top six pick. Quite why Gonzalez fell down to the Patriots at 17th I am not sure, there were no red marks against his physicality or personality from what I was aware. This is another brilliant piece of Bill Belichick business as he gets a top 5 calibre player after the half-way point in the draft after trading down.

  • QB Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) – Round 3 – Pick 68 to Detroit Lions

But for an ACL injury that ruined his final year in college, Hendon Hooker may well have been in consideration as a first round pick. The Lions picked up an outstanding QB with a fantastic arm and who has already worked in a pro-style offense. Injury issues permitting, he stands a great chance of becoming the Lions franchise QB if Jared Goff’s production starts to fall.

  • TE Darnell Washington (Georgia) – Round 3 – Pick 93 to Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers already have Pat Freiermuth as a solid TE, so why the high grade for Washington? Well, the reason is the man is an absolute beast at 6ft 7” tall and very athletic. He has won back to back National Championships at the Georgia Bulldogs. His size makes him a perfect blocking TE, but I feel the Steelers may feel he has potential, with work, to become the next great Basketball-to-TE hybrid player like Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez.

  • CB Kelee Ringo (Georgia) – Round 4 – Pick 105 to Philadelphia Eagles

If we know one thing, we know the Eagles love Georgia defensive players and after landing Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith in the first round, plus two more Bulldogs last year, they added another in Kelee Ringo in a superb fourth round pick up. He needs work with route recognition, but the Eagles are superb at developing quality corners and the fact he is around so many former Bulldogs team mates will also work in his favour too.

  • OL O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida) – Round 2 – Pick 59 to Buffalo Bills

I had O’Cyrus Torrence going at the end of the first or early second round, so to fall to number 59 and be picked by the Bills, where he will join an already well-established offensive line, is a great fit for the Guard from Louisiana. He performed well against Jalen Carter for the Gators last year and did not give up a single sack or penalty in the entire campaign. He can slot in at left or right guard easily for the Bills.

  • LB Trenton Simpson (Clemson) – Round 3 – Pick 86 to Baltimore Ravens

If you want a player that has good experience at both inside and outside linebacker, but who excels on the weakside , plus off-the-charts athleticism, then Simpson is certainly one to cherish. He fell to the Ravens in the third round and that was a surprise as with a little work, I think the Ravens may well have another outstanding outside linebacker in their defensive backfield sooner rather than later.

  1. RB Deuce Vaughan (West Virginia) – Round 6 – Pick 212 to Dallas Cowboys

Without doubt one of the more heartwarming stories of the draft was the Cowboys picking Deuce Vaughan, the West Virginia running back and the son of one of the Cowboys scouting team. All sentiment aside, this was a great pick up by the Cowboys as Vaughan offers a fantastic change of pace back in the style of Darren Sproles. He’ll be a fantastic addition on special teams this season I am sure and may well get some game time.

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