Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
2023 NFL Draft Preview
Now that we’ve gone through the various iterations of the mock drafts and workouts and the best prospects have had the time to have their stock rise and fall then rise again, it’s time to push that knowledge to the side for a moment. Let’s think about the big picture beyond the board. Every year with the NFL Draft comes a certain amount of unpredictability surrounding trades, headlines, and preconceived draft stock that just can’t be wrapped into any project or mock. What we need to now examine on draft week is: where will the chaos come from?
If you’re rooting for the soap opera of the draft process to entertain us like I am, let’s look past the measurables and into the potential news bombs that could go off come Thursday night and throughout the weekend to send shockwaves through the draft boards of 32 front offices.
The Lamar Jackson Move
Well, last week the Ravens finally came to an agreement with their pro bowl quarterback – Tyler Huntley! Seriously, he is there and waiting to take over the ship in Baltimore. As for the other Pro Bowler and MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, he remains unsigned and the mystery grows as draft weekend looms. A new suitor has yet to be determined, so why not Woj-bomb the entire draft night process and have him dealt with in the heat of the action on Thursday? As for potential teams that could swoop in, the Colts, Titans, and Vikings could all be interested come this weekend, and the Bill Belichick wild card Hail Mary legacy-changing move would be the ultimate storyline surrounding this awkward contract situation. Wouldn’t that be a draft night doozy?
Blockbuster Trade Up
With the way the first-round draft board is presenting itself, the natural overhyping of QBs has taken a feverish toll to the point where four quarterbacks could occupy the first four draft selections, setting a historical mark in the draft for the position. If there’s a team desperate enough to get in on the hype at peak inflation costs, then they are really feening for Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, or Will Levis. You know how it gets on draft night – you know it’s a buffet type of night, but when you see all of the dishes laid out in front of you, your emotions start to ramp up and you make impulse buys. As for who could get buck wild and trade up for one of these young guns, I’m looking out for two teams. First, Jim Irsay and the Colts need a fresh dude at QB and aren’t afraid to make a splash. Second is the Falcons who have failed recently at QB post-Matt Ryan and could move to #3 or #4.
The Board Slip
It’s the old wives tale we tell every April about the draft and the pressure of the night. We’re all suckers for TV drama, and nothing is more scintillating on Thursday night than watching a top prospect slip down the draft board. There’s something about the fixed camera on Cal QB Aaron Rodgers as he plummeted to the 24th pick in 2005 that creates quite the storyline with every passing pick. When will he go? Why is everyone passing? How much money does his contract shrink by with every pick announcement that isn’t his name? Watching a player like Rodgers or Randy Moss slip to 21st is a funny reminder that as hyped up as the slip is at the moment, it may be a fatal mistake in the end for most teams. If there’s one of these top-tier QBs that could slip I’m guessing it’s Kentucky QB Will Levis. Questions about his college performance and defensive prospects that could sneak into the top five allow for him to be the surprise slipper that may go in the teens…or even lower.
What player agents and prospects around the world want to avoid desperately are the off-field headlines that kill your draft stock this week. Dez Bryant famously did himself no favors in the days and weeks leading up to the draft as more of his troubled past emerged, making him a late first-round pick instead of a top-tenner. The most viral of PR nightmares in the social media era belongs to offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil. Just moments before the NFL Draft’s first round began in 2016, a video emerged of Tunsil smoking weed through a gas mask and NFL staff immediately pulled him off their draft board (he was previously a top 3 projected pick at worst). His social media accounts were then hacked and chaos ensued as he slipped to the #13 spot before being drafted by the Dolphins. The lesson here for prospects is to scrub your socials, but for us, it’s a reminder to keep your timelines open for all of draft weekend.
Let the 2023 NFL Draft chaos ensue!
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