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Running commentary on the 2023 NFL Draft

Draft King Analysis
April 27, 2023
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

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Running Commentary on the 2023 NFL Draft

Lou (9:42 a.m. CDT): We've made it! Night one of the 2023 NFL Draft is just hours away.

This summer will mark 20 years since I launched this site. Thanks to everyone who has supported me here at Draft King throughout the years.

To any young aspiring sports broadcasters out there: learn lacrosse, especially if you live in the southern United States. You will have opportunities.

NCAA men's lacrosse is an absolutely thrilling sport to call. The 80-second shot clock has changed the game. Here are some highlights from my most recent broadcast of Centre vs. Sewanee.

Good luck to Sewanee in the Southern Athletic Association men's lacrosse championship tournament taking place this weekend in Danville, Kentucky.

Lou (9:57 a.m. CDT): Looking at the line shifts from overnight, the big takeaway is that there has been a late surge on action for Will Anderson Jr. as the #2 overall pick.

Chalk on existing thoughts (e.g. Will Levis to Indianapolis at #4, Jalen Carter to Seattle at #5) seems to have grown slightly stronger.

CJ Stroud has the shortest odds of going #3 overall as of right now, with the line reflecting my anticipation of a team trading up for Stroud.

More later. In the interim, for those of you so inclined, my past NFL Draft running commentaries and/or live event experiences are linked below.

2004 (Round one)
2004 (Round two)
2005 (Part one)
2005 (Part two)
2005 (Part three)
2012 (Live event)

Lou (10:10 a.m. CDT): Here's the Twitch VOD from my broadcast last night of NashvilleLou Worldwide. I've been livestreaming a game called Blockchain Brawlers that I really enjoy playing. There's some NFL Draft talk in there, but mostly relief at finally having my final mock for this draft locked in place.

Lou (12:25 p.m. CDT): Anthony Richardson going at #4 to the Colts is gaining steam.

Lou (4:06 p.m. CDT): Bryce Young remains the heavy favorite to go #1 overall. Will Anderson has had a lot of late action at #2 overall, with a late fade for Tyree Wilson. CJ Stroud at #3 is the favorite, with an anticipation that Arizona will trade down.

Lou (4:18 p.m. CDT): Lamar Jackson has signed a new contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

Lou (5:05 p.m. CDT): The rumor mill is in overdrive, as is tradition once you hit 6p EDT on night one of the draft.

Lou (6:42 p.m. CDT): It appears that CJ Stroud is now the heavy favorite to be drafted #2 overall. Expect the unexpected, especially this year. Wow.

Lou (7:05 p.m. CDT): It's really something to see how much the NFL Draft has grown as an event. As great as it was to be there in person at the 2012 Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, there's no denying that the spectacle element has evolved to a massive level.

The fashion show aspect borders on ridiculous at times, but that's part of the fun factor as well. This is a day of celebrations.

Much respect to Kansas City. I've got some friends who work in the TV news biz there, and I know that town is excited for the spotlight of the NFL Draft. Not unlike Nashville in 2019, to that end.

Lots of filler early, but that is also part of the evolution of the NFL Draft.

Lou (7:12 p.m. CDT): The first 15 minutes of the draft tend to feel like a colossal waste of time. Yet you're still watching, and so am I. Thus, filler.

Lou (7:20 p.m. CDT): As expected, the Carolina Panthers have selected Alabama QB Bryce Young at #1 overall. It's a tedious start with the modern format, but the draft night fireworks will begin quickly at this point.

Lou (7:28 p.m. CDT): In the end, the smart money came in for Houston with Ohio St. QB CJ Stroud at #2 overall. It just didn't arrive until much later in the process this year.

That likely took some "if/then" trades out of play for Arizona at #3 overall and teams rumored to be wanting to trade up to select Stroud.

Lou (7:33 p.m. CDT): Houston trades up from #12 to #3! That was unexpected. Presumably the Texans will look go for an EDGE prospect here after landing Stroud at #2.

Lou (7:36 p.m. CDT): The Texans have selected Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr. at #3 overall. Big night for fans in Houston. What a parlay to drive off other would-be suitors for the #3 pick by selecting Stroud, then trading up to land Anderson.

Lou (7:41 p.m. CDT): It's three quarterbacks off the board in the first four spots, as the Colts have selected Florida QB Anthony Richardson at #4. QB/QB/EDGE/QB. And now Seattle is on the clock.

Lou (7:50 p.m. CDT): The unpredictable Seahawks have selected Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon. There had been strong rumors linking Witherspoon to the Lions at #6, which creates an interesting decision for Detroit.

Lou (7:54 p.m. CDT): After seeing Witherspoon drafted by Seattle, the Lions have traded the #6 pick to Arizona for the #12 and #34 picks. The Cardinals, after trading down from #3, have now traded back up into the top six.

Lou (7:58 p.m. CDT): The rumors were there down the stretch that Ohio St. OT Paris Johnson Jr. might be in play as high as #3 overall. Ultimately, the Cards moved down, moved back up, and got their pick of the 2023 offensive line class.

Now the Las Vegas Raiders are on the board at #7.

Lou (8:06 p.m. CDT): It's impossible to imagine the Raiders drafting Jalen Carter after what happened with Henry Ruggs III. So it wasn't a surprise to me that the Raiders instead opted for Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson at #7.

Up now at #8, it's the Atlanta Falcons.

Lou (8:13 p.m. CDT): As I projected in my final mock, the Falcons have selected Texas RB Bijan Robinson at #8 overall. You have to be a special talent to be a running back taken in the top 10 of the draft in the modern NFL, and Robinson fits the bill.

Will the Chicago Bears be where Jalen Carter ends up being drafted tonight? We'll see, as the Bears are on the clock.

I'm having to wait for television to catch up with the picks that have already happened to publish updates. Twitter really exposes the business with some of the stalling, but that's nothing new.

Lou (8:15 p.m. CDT): It's not the Bears making the pick, but Georgia DT Jalen Carter is off the board at #9 to the Eagles. Philadelphia has been rumored as a team looking to move up/down from #10, so the trade isn't surprising, particularly given the potential that Carter presents as an interior pass rusher.

Now it's the Bears on the board at #10.

Lou (8:26 p.m. CDT): As I projected, the Bears drafted Tennessee OT Darnett Wright, albeit after trading down one spot. Wright is very well-rounded as a prospect.

Titans are on the clock. The fan in me hopes it's an offensive lineman here.

Lou (8:29 p.m. CDT): I'm happy. The Titans are going to select an offensive lineman. Also, this is another prediction that I made that came true.

Lou (8:37 p.m. CDT): Detroit traded back from #6 to #12, and in a big surprise the Lions are selecting Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs. I had Gibbs going in round one, though not in the top half of the draft. Aside from his pass blocking, Gibbs is seen as a very promising prospect.

Up next, it's the Green Bay Packers at #13.

Lou (8:46 p.m. CDT): Green Bay selects Iowa EDGE Lukas Vas Ness at #13, and at #14 the New England Patriots have traded the pick to Pittsburgh for picks #17 and #120.

Lou (8:51 p.m. CDT): Pittsburgh jumps the Jets at #15 and lands Georgia OT Broderick Jones with the #14 pick. If that marks the end of the first wave of the top offensive tackle prospects... what now for the Jets?

Lou (8:59 p.m. CDT): The Jets stayed at #15 and selected Iowa St. EDGE Will McDonald IV. Huge potential for McDonald as a high-end pass rusher prospect.

Now it's the Washington Commanders on the board at #16, where they would seem to be in good position to select a cornerback.

Lou (9:08 p.m. CDT): I should add: the Make-A-Wish kid nailed it with the presentation on the Jets selection. Nice job.

Lou (9:11 p.m. CDT): Two more predictions that I got correct: Washingon selecting Miss. St. CB Emmanuel Forbes at #16 overall, and then the Patriots drafting Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez at #17. Though I didn't think New England would be able to trade down and still get Gonzalez, yet that's exactly what happened.

And now it's Detroit back on the board at #18.

Lou (9:20 p.m. CDT): After going running back earlier, the Lions select Iowa LB Jack Campbell at #18. And now it's the Buccaneers selecting Pitt DT Calijah Kancey at #19, one of the last cuts from my final 2023 mock.

Lou (9:31 p.m. CDT): The oft-unpredictable Seahawks finally start the run on wide receivers, selecting Ohio St. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba at #20.

Lou (9:38 p.m. CDT): The Chargers, a team expected to target WR/TE early, got the former by selecting TCU WR Quentin Johnston at #21. Baltimore is on the clock at #22.

Lou (9:45 p.m. CDT): Another correct prediction for me, as the Baltimore Ravens selected Boston College WR Zay Flowers at #22. Minnesota is on the clock at #23.

Lou (9:56 p.m. CDT): Another hit, with Minnesota selecting Southern Cal WR Jordan Addison at #23. Improbably, I'm now tied for first place in The Huddle Report's competition. What a wild night this has been.

Lou (9:59 p.m. CDT): Jacksonville has traded down one spot, with the Giants moving up from #25 after seeing four receivers in a row go off the board.

Lou (10:03 p.m. CDT): My prediction of Maryland CB Deonte Banks going at #24 proved correct, but it was the Giants who selected Banks after trading up one position. And now Jacksonville is on the clock at #25.

Lou (10:05 p.m. CDT): Jacksonville has traded back again, with Buffalo moving up from #27 to #25. The Bills are on the clock.

Lou (10:09 p.m. CDT): The first tight end is off the board in this draft, with Buffalo selecting Utah TE Dalton Kincaid at #25. And after being leap-frogged by the Bills, the Dallas Cowboys are on the clock at #26.

Lou (10:13 p.m. CDT): At #26, Dallas selects Michigan DT Mazi Smith. Five picks to go and I'm still tied for first in The Huddle Report's competition. Jacksonville, after trading back twice, is back on the clock now at #27.

Lou (10:24 p.m. CDT): Jacksonville finally sticks at a spot, staying at #27 to draft Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison. I wonder if Tony Khan asked Jim Ross about Harrison.

Cincinnati is now on the clock at #28. Four picks to go tonight.

Lou (10:30 p.m. CDT): Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy goes to the Bengals at #28. One spot off from where I had projected Murphy would go. Three picks remains in round one; the New Orleans Saints are on the clock.

Lou (10:35 p.m. CDT): The Saints land Clemson DT Bryan Bresee at #29 overall. Two picks to go, with the Eagles now on the clock again.

Lou (10:44 p.m. CDT): I projected the Eagles to draft Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith at #10. Instead, the Eagles get Smith all the way down at #30. One pick to go now with the Kansas City Chiefs on the clock.

Lou (10:55 p.m. CDT): Rounding out the evening, the Chiefs select Kansas St. EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

Goodbye and good night! Next time we talk, we'll be chatting about the 2024 NFL Draft.

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