Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers, GM Scott Fitterer have ‘conviction’ on top prospects

The Carolina Panthers are sold on the players expected to be selected at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, general manager Scott Fitterer told reporters Monday. Still, he gave no indiction as to whom the team will select next month with the No. 1 overall pick, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bears.

Fitterer apparently liked what he saw of the players at the recent NFL Scouting Combine — the Panthers presumably will draft a quarterback — enough to give the Bears a pair of first-round picks, two-second rounders and wide receiver D.J. Moore to move up from the No. 9 slot.

“At the combine, I said, ‘If you’re gonna go up, you better have conviction.’ And we have conviction on players at that top, that we feel good about,” Fitterer said.

He said no decision has been made as to whether the Panthers will take former Alabama QB Bryce Young, ex-Ohio State QB C.J. Shroud or someone else.

“Yeah, we’re still going through the process right now,” he said. “Obviously, we have our ideas. You’re not gonna make a move like that without having that pretty much cemented. But now, we’re going through the process of talking to the players and really getting to know them.”

The Panthers will be at the pro days for all four of the top QBs in the coming weeks — Stroud, Young, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson.

The Panthers signed 12-year veteran Andy Dalton to serve as a mentor to a young quarterback.

“Obviously, I’ve played a ton of ball; there’s a lot that can come from that,” Dalton told the team’s website. “I started as a rookie; a lot will come from that. There’s a lot I’ve done in my career, a ton of experience I can bring to help that room.”

Dalton, 35, was 6-8 as a starter last season for the New Orleans Saints.

–Field Level Media

Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; The 2022 NFL Draft logo is displayed during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers lead way with 7 of NFL’s compensatory draft picks

The NFL awarded 37 compensatory draft picks on Thursday for next month’s annual draft, with the San Francisco 49ers gaining a league-high seven selections.

The Niners received more compensatory picks than any other team one year after they tied with their NFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Rams, for the most additional selections given ahead of the 2022 draft with five.

San Francisco was handed four picks based on the league’s compensatory free agent formula and another three based on several minority coaching and front-office members who have earned jobs with other teams.

The NFL maintains a confidential “net-loss” formula — which factors in salary, playing time and postseason honors — to decide how to dole out the compensatory picks, but it’s partly based on teams that lose certain unrestricted free agents to another team receive a compensatory pick the following year.

Additional picks are awarded to teams that have a minority coach or executive hired by a different club for the same role or a higher-ranking one. The Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs also added one pick each based on minorities who advanced to other organizations.

Exactly half of the league’s 32 franchises added at least one selection for the draft that runs from April 27-29 in Kansas City. The Arizona Cardinals received the highest compensatory selection, the No. 96 overall pick in the third round.

After the 49ers drafted quarterback Brock Purdy with the final pick in last year’s draft at 262nd overall, the Houston Texans currently hold the final pick in the draft at No. 259 — with the player chosen earning the title of “Mr. Irrelevant.”

List of 2022 NFL Draft compensatory picks:

Round 3:
No. 96 Arizona Cardinals
No. 97 Washington Commanders
No. 98 Cleveland Browns
No. 99 San Francisco 49ers
No. 100 Kansas City Chiefs
No. 101 San Francisco 49ers
No. 102 San Francisco 49ers

Round 4
No. 135 New England Patriots

Round 5
No. 167 Los Angeles Rams
No. 168 Arizona Cardinals
No. 169 Dallas Cowboys
No. 170 Green Bay Packers
No. 171 Los Angeles Rams
No. 172 New York Giants
No. 173 San Francisco 49ers
No. 174 Las Vegas Raiders
No. 175 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 176 Dallas Cowboys
No. 177 Los Angeles Rams

Round 6
No. 210 New England Patriots
No. 211 Minnesota Vikings
No. 212 Dallas Cowboys
No. 213 Arizona Cardinals
No. 214 Las Vegas Raiders
No. 215 Washington Commanders
No. 216 San Francisco 49ers
No. 217 Kansas City Chiefs

Round 7
No. 250 Kansas City Chiefs
No. 251 Los Angeles Rams
No. 252 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 253 San Francisco 49ers
No. 254 New York Giants
No. 255 San Francisco 49ers
No. 256 Green Bay Packers
No. 257 New Orleans Saints
No. 258 Chicago Bears
No. 259 Houston Texans

–Field Level Media

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; An empty podium for Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (not pictured) during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Still the 1? QBs rise, DT Jalen Carter falls in top pick odds

Bryce Young exits the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine with a firm grip as the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, oddsmakers say.

FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings all upped Young’s chances of being the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft over the past week, despite Young’s decision to postpone his passing session and on-field testing until the Alabama Pro Day on March 23.

Young is -190 at FanDuel with former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud +350 and ex-Florida QB Anthony Richardson making another big climb to +600.

Richardson, with his 6-foot-4, 244-pound frame, led all quarterbacks at the combine in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and vertical jump.

Will Anderson, who worked out as a defensive end, is the top defensive player at FanDuel at +1200.

No player dropped further in No. 1 pick futures odds this past week than ex-Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. The pre-combine buzz around Carter pushed him to +550 to be drafted No. 1. After he left Indianapolis to turn himself in for a reckless driving and drag racing warrant connected to the deaths of two people in Athens, Ga., Carter dipped to +4000 at FanDuel.

He’s +5000 at DraftKings, and both books list Carter on the board behind former Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson (+3500).

BetRivers took a $1,000 bet on former Kentucky quarterback Will Levis to be the No. 1 overall pick at +2500 odds (potential payout of $25,000) with another $1,000 wager on Wilson being the first defensive player drafted at +550.

Defensive players are also taking a hit in No. 1 pick futures after Bears general manager Ryan Poles all but admitted there’s not much of a chance Chicago will pick No. 1 overall. As the Bears fish for the best trade offer, the most likely scenario involves a team that needs a quarterback swapping picks with the Bears.

Richardson opened at +10000 at BetMGM and was +500 as of Tuesday morning.

Richardson has 22.7 percent of the handle at BetMGM, where Young is the leader in total handle at 28.8 percent.

At PointsBet, Richardson is just +350 — dead even with Stroud — and Young is the favorite at -165.

–Field Level Media

Mar 3, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (QB15) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

QB Bryce Young measures 5-10 1/8 at combine

Former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young officially measured 5-foot-10 and 1/8 inch and 204 pounds on Saturday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

If NFL executives and scouts overlook the former Heisman Trophy winner’s less-than-ideal stature and still make him a first-round pick next month, he would be the lightest Round 1 QB since at least 2006 and one of the shortest since the 1967 NFL-AFL merger.

His frame is very similar to the 2019 combine measurements for Kyler Murray, who was 5-10 1/8 and 207 pounds and went No. 1 overall in the draft to the Arizona Cardinals.

Alabama’s 2022 roster listed Young at 6 feet, 194 pounds.

Young insists that any concerns about his size are misplaced.

“I’ve been this size, respectfully, my whole life,” he said. “I know who I am, I know what I can do. For me, it’s fair, everyone can speculate, ask me every question, I’m going to continue to control what I can control, continue to keep working my hardest … I’m confident in myself, I know what I can do.”

The average height and weight of quarterbacks on NFL rosters in 2022 was 6-2 1/2, 219.8. Of course, there are notable exceptions. Future Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson measured just under 5-11 at the 2012 combine.

Young completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 8,356 yards with 80 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions in three seasons with the Crimson Tide. He lacks Murray’s mobility, finishing with 139 carries for 162 yards and seven TDs.

–Field Level Media

Jan 14, 2023; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Sedrick Van Pran (63) and defensive back Christopher Smith (29) and quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) speak at the national championship celebration at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett on arrest: ‘I know better’

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett apologized to his family and said he’s being honest in meetings with NFL teams this week about his public intoxication arrest on Jan. 29.

The former walk-on is viewed as an NFL longshot with limited athleticism, size and arm strength by pro standards and despite winning two national championships as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, his path to the NFL is off to a rocky start.

Bennett was arrested on public intoxication charges and turned down an invitation to the top pre-draft prospect showcase, the Senior Bowl, leaving NFL general managers to scratch their heads about the 25-year-old’s priorities.

“It was a mistake that everybody’s aware of,” Bennett said Friday at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. “I understand why that can’t happen. I’ve talked to coaches about it, talked to GMs. Apologized to my family. That’s who I feel worst about. I felt like I let them down, because no matter where I go now — and even without all of this — I’ve got an obligation. I’m the fourth (Bennett named Stetson). Can’t do that if your last name is Bennett, and I know better.”

Bennett was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2022 and rose to prominence because of his humble beginnings as a walk-on in Athens who fled for junior college only to return and claim the starting role. Bennett is one of at least nine Georgia players arrested in the past 14 months, but said individual decisions and not a culture issue are the problem.

“Those were individual mistakes that those individuals are responsible for. Not a culture issue,” Bennett said Friday.

Maturity wasn’t one of the issues scouts anticipated with Bennett — he’ll be 26 in October, the same age as Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson — and decision-making, at a position where each split-second call can be make-or-break, is one of the qualities Colts head coach Shane Steichen said was a must for quarterbacks.

Bennett isn’t flying solo in Indianapolis with 13 Georgia players in attendance. He’s also one of five Southeastern Conference quarterbacks invited to the combine, which offered spots to only 15 total quarterbacks.

Based on Field Level Media rankings, Bennett is projected to be picked in the final two rounds of the draft or become a priority free agent. Bryce Young (Alabama), Will Levis (Kentucky), Anthony Richardson (Florida) and Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) are projected as first- or second-round picks.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) against the TCU Horned Frogs during the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia DT Jalen Carter leaves Combine, facing warrant in fatal crash

On the cusp of the biggest moment of his life, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter faces arrest warrants for reckless driving and racing in connection with the Jan. 15 fatal crash that claimed the life of Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock and football department staffer Chandler LeCroy.

Both charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to $1000 fine and one year in jail.

Carter, 21, was interviewed by police and told authorities he wasn’t present at the time of the accident, according to the report.

But details of the arrest warrant, citing video recorded before the crash, allege Carter was the driver of a 2021 Jeep Trailhawk that pushed LeCroy, who was driving a 2021 Ford Expedition, to speeds exceeding 100 mph.

“The investigation found that (Carter and LeCroy) were operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing shortly after leaving the downtown Athens area at about 2:30 AM,” the warrant from Athens-Clarke County Policy Department said Wednesday. “The evidence demonstrated that both vehicles switched between lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in the opposite lanes of travel, overtook other motorists, and drove at high rates of speed, in an apparent attempt to outdistance each other. Evidence indicate shortly before the crash the Expedition was traveling about 104 miles per hour. The toxicology report indicated that LeCroy’s blood alcohol concentration was .197 at the time of the crash. Investigators determined that alcohol impairment, racing, reckless driving and speed were significant contributing factors to the crash.”

The legal blood alcohol concentration limit in Georgia is 0.08 percent.

Police said the case was given to the Solicitor General’s Office on Wednesday.

The report was released just 20 minutes before Carter was scheduled to take the podium in a press conference setting at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Carter is ranked among the top players in the draft and considered a likely top-5 pick in April.

Carter never took the podium because he reportedly left town on Tuesday night.

He was in Indianapolis on Monday and Tuesday and met with teams in formal interviews before the warrant was issued.

The warrant was issued just as Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith was at a podium in Indianapolis in a press conference. He was asked about the crash that killed Willock, who was a good friend.

That’s my guy,” Smith said before emotions began to overtake him, causing his hands and lips to quiver. “I get sensitive talking about it just because I love him. And he never did anything wrong in his three years. He was supposed to graduate. Most people don’t know his brother passed like that. No one should deserve to die like that.”

Smith shook his head as he continued, banging the lectern and removing his steamed glasses from his face covered in tears.

“Three years in a row, that man showed up (and) worked day in and day out. He’s a two-time natty champ, man. And it’s written in stone. Devin, I love you, baby. Seven-seven (Willock’s jersey number), you living forever. ‘Do it for Dev,’ that’s what I tell them boys at Georgia. ‘You lost a brother. Do it for Dev.’ I’m sorry to get emotional, man.”

Police said Carter also was ticketed in September for driving 89 mph in a 45 mph zone.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA;  Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) pressures Kansas State quarterback Will Howard (18) causing an interception during the 2022 Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome. Alabama defeated Kansas State 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama OLB Will Anderson Jr. meets with Bears, ready to attack combine

To borrow a phrase from his college coach, Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. didn’t come this far to come this far.

Anderson, regarded a surefire top-five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, has had meetings with the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Those teams own the top three picks in the draft.

“The culture is great there. I can tell they’re onto something special,” Anderson said of his time with the Bears in an interview that took place in a hotel room in the city.

Anderson also said he had was “very excited” about his session with the Texans, who hold the No. 2 pick.

“It means a lot — it just shows all your hard work has been paying off,” Anderson said.

Anderson played outside linebacker in the Alabama 3-4 defense and wasn’t asked to play with his hand in the dirt out of a three-point stance often. He’s been training at defensive end and outside linebacker, and said most teams classify him as an “edge” player with the versatility to rush the passer at either position.

Just 21 years old, Anderson had 10 sacks in 2022 while facing double-team blocks more than 80 percent of passing plays. He had 34.5 career sacks, the kind of production that will get general managers on campus. The Bears and Texans were both on the ground in Tuscaloosa during the 2022 season, but that’s not a rarity for the football factory run by coach Nick Saban.

Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Anderson are the top-ranked defensive players in the draft. Anderson tapped the left side of his chest when asked what made him the best of the bunch.

“What you have in here. That’s what carried me to this point in my life. … I feel like what I bring to the table, just consistency, being humble,” Anderson said. “Whatever culture I’m in, I’m going to do things the right way. I think that’s what sets me apart.”

Anderson considers himself a student of the game and has studied former Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, now with the Los Angeles Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa to polish his pass-rush arsenal.

Saban said last month that Anderson and prospective No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young separated themselves at Alabama through their constant competitiveness and football character.

Anderson said Wednesday that’s a big reason he’ll be participating in workouts with linebackers on Thursday. For the record, Young isn’t in the quarterback workouts, preferring to host scouts and general managers at his pro day this month.

“I’m super excited,” Anderson said. “All the work has been good.”

Anderson has found comfort during the Indianapolis speed-dating trial that is the combine, thanks to 13 total Crimson Tide players being on the invite list for the event.

Young, Anderson, linebacker Henry To’oTo’o and safety Brian Branch all rank in the Field Level Media Top 50, and running back Jahmyr Gibbs also could be drafted in the first two rounds.

–Field Level Media

8. Atlanta Falcons -- Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Syndication Ocala Starbanner

Florida QB Anthony Richardson is No. 1 bet in top draft pick futures

Two months before the 2023 NFL Draft, Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson has drawn more bets to go No. 1 overall than any prospect in the class.

Richardson opened at +10000 when BetMGM released top pick futures in January. By Tuesday, the polarizing prospect had jumped to +1000, and he climbed further to +700 on Thursday.

BetMGM data analyst John Ewing explained the rise of Richardson began Monday, when 13 percent of bettors had placed wagers on the quarterback going first in the draft. After multiple draft-focused sites began discussing Richardson as a serious option for the top pick — including and Pro Football Focus — the public rode the flame to the window and Richardson currently leads all prospects at 22.6 percent of those bets.

Field Level Media rates Richardson as the No. 4 quarterback in the 2023 draft behind Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis.

Quarterbacks are the top four in the No. 1 pick futures odds at DraftKings.

Young (-160) is ahead of Stroud (+380), Levis (+650) and Richardson (+750). Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter is +850.

Richardson is drawing athletic comparisons to Cam Newton, who by way of Florida and then Auburn rose up draft boards after leading the Tigers to the national title and winning the Heisman Trophy. Newton was the No. 1 pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2011.

A word of caution when ingesting pre-draft buzz as gospel: The 2022 case of Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, the prohibitive favorite to be the first quarterback drafted who went closer to pick 100 than pick No. 1.

Willis was +4500 to be the No. 1 pick before the NFL Scouting Combine last February, then wowed in throwing sessions open to media and entered the top four in the top pick future.

Willis was productive in college — he threw for 5,117 passing yards and 47 touchdowns, rushing for 1,822 yards and 27 touchdowns — and in media interviews.

Willis was -200 to be the top quarterback drafted on the eve of the NFL draft. The over-under for his draft slot at pick 9.5 was -140.

But the Auburn transfer wound up falling all the way to No. 86 and the Tennessee Titans.

–Field Level Media

Jan 02, 2023; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA;  Bryce Young speaks to reporters after announcing his intention to enter the NFL draft following a press conference for University of Alabama juniors to announce their intentions.

Ncaa Football Ua Juniors Announce For Nfl

2023 NFL Draft: Projecting all 31 first-round picks

Tom Brady retired and there’s a chance another titanic move could come of Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers weighs dropping the curtain or embracing relocation.

The 2023 NFL Draft features multiple quarterback prospects viewed as potential franchise fixtures, but only a handful of teams are in position to add Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud or Kentucky’s Will Levis.

Note: The Miami Dolphins forfeit their first-round pick following the NFL ruling the team violated league policies governing the integrity of the game.

Here’s a look at projections for the first round of the 2023 draft:

1) Chicago Bears (projected trade with Colts)
DE Will Anderson, Alabama
Anderson has traits for days and almost never rushed the passer against single blocking in the SEC.
Trade suitors offer general manager Ryan Poles great and greater options for pushing a rapid rebuild into hyperdrive. He hooks up with old Chiefs scouting department officemate Chris Ballard in a deal with the Colts that likely brings a first-rounder in 2024 just to slide down three spots. A Poles double-deal in the top 10 is entirely possible with QB-craving teams anxious to get to No. 4 (where the Bears move in this projected trade) and willing to overpay to keep Seattle from getting the third-ranked QB in this class.

2) Houston Texans
QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State
Stroud brings stability to the organization and gives new coach DeMeco Ryans a building block to compete in the sagging AFC South as soon as the 2023 season.

3) Arizona Cardinals
DL Jalen Carter, Georgia
If there’s a reason the Bears would balk at the Colts’ offer, it’s this man. A massive and dynamic athlete in the mold of Colts DT DeForest Buckner, the Cardinals get an anchor for the defensive line following J.J. Watt’s retirement.

4) Indianapolis Colts (projected trade with Bears)
QB Bryce Young, Alabama
In a move up to No. 1 with the Bears, the Colts take Young with the expectation he brings the franchise what Andrew Luck did before his premature retirement — a franchise quarterback capable of competing for the Lombardi Trophy.

5) Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)
QB Will Levis, Kentucky
Predicting how GM John Schneider might spend this pot-of-gold pick from the Broncos as part of the Russell Wilson trade is bound to be one of the biggest variables all the way up to the April draft. Trained by Ron Wolf in Green Bay, Schneider knows how to find a quarterback. He also knows this pick will hold.

6) Detroit Lions (via LAR)
TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
With the two premium defensive linemen gone, the Lions lean into another pick courtesy of the Rams to replace TJ Hockenson (traded to the Vikings) and give QB Jared Goff an inside option. Mayer had 18 career TDs and makes “wow” catches in traffic.

7) Las Vegas Raiders
DE Myles Murphy, Clemson
Quarterback and offensive line are needs, but value is on the edge and the Raiders get Maxx Crosby some help in the mission to beat Mahomes and Herbert.

8) Atlanta Falcons
OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
When the Falcons selected Jake Matthews with the sixth pick in the 2014 draft, pundits felt Matthews wouldn’t hold up at left tackle in the NFL and was destined to play inside at guard. Skoronski hears some of the same conjecture regarding arm length and his fit on the left side, but the Falcons continue their rebuild with a prospect would could start at any of the five OL positions.

9) Carolina Panthers
DE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
At 6-feet-6, 270, the Panthers have the makings of a menacing front pairing with DT Derrick Brown and pass rusher Brian Burns.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)
CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
James Bradberry figures to be a prominent free agent, which means he’ll fetch a prominent payday. The top corner in the class has the speed and length to check No. 1 receivers as a rookie.

11) Tennessee Titans
OT Paris Johnson, Ohio State
The future of Taylor Lewan, who turns 32 in June and ended his 2022 season on IR in September, is very much tenuous in Tennessee. A natural left tackle some view as a top-five caliber prospect, the Titans waste little time jumping for Johnson as a commitment to re-establish dominance in the trenches.

12) Houston Texans (via CLE)
WR Jordan Addison, USC
The Texans are tempted by the multiple matchup defensive backs on the board and pass-rush help before swinging for Addison, who becomes the lead receiver for CJ Stroud.

13) New York Jets
DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson
Health and durability questions top the list of negatives on Bresee’s scouting report. A green light on the medical evals puts him in the middle of the Jets’ defense next to Quinnen Williams.

14) New England Patriots
CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Porter plays a physical style that will endear him to Bill Belichick and give the Patriots better personnel in a division of top-end receivers.

15) Green Bay Packers
OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
GM Brian Gutekunst restocked the offensive line with middle-round picks in recent years and left guard Elgton Jenkins has played tackle, but knee injuries, age and salary indicate it’s time to move on from David Bakhtiari.

16) Washington Commanders
QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Boom-or-bust based on raw skills but inconsistent results, Richardson’s ceiling as a potential-packed athlete is limited only by questions about whether he can evolve as a true passer.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers
TE Darnell Washington, Georgia
Secondary help and reinforcements on the defensive line are higher priorities. Washington’s size, willingness to block and potential as a passing-game target are enticing for coach Mike Tomlin and a slow-growing offense.

18) Detroit Lions
S Brian Branch, Alabama
A defense with few playmakers gets one. Cracking the Crimson Tide secondary as a freshman gets you on the NFL radar early, and Branch has the proven versatility to rise up draft boards in the coming weeks.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas
Cap constraints limit how far the Bucs can go in free agency and whether they can pull Lavonte David back in for another season. Sanders suits the Bucs’ scheme with speed and range.

20) Seattle Seahawks
CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
A size-speed prospect capable of helping inspire Legion of Boom comparisons.

21) Los Angeles Chargers
WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
Mike Williams and Johnston (6-4, 213) would be a physically imposing tandem for Justin Herbert, even if Keenan Allen returns for his 11th season.

22) Baltimore Ravens
CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
Marcus Peters, a free agent, will be difficult for the Ravens to afford while navigating negotiations with QB Lamar Jackson. Witherspoon represents a big value in this spot, continuing the Ravens’ tradition of catching higher-rated prospects late in the first round.

23) Minnesota Vikings
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
One spot later than the Vikings stole Justin Jefferson out of LSU in 2020, the Vikings jump at the explosive playmaker.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars
CB Cam Smith, South Carolina
Contending in the AFC requires points but also playmakers in the back half of the defense.

25) New York Giants
OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
Investing in QB Daniel Jones without addressing pass protection would be a miserable approach for the Giants, who know the depth of their skill-position needs entering free agency and could be a player in the trade bidding for Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins.

26) Dallas Cowboys
S Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M
A No. 2 cornerback tempts the Cowboys as do potential replacements for TE Dalton Schultz, one of whom went off the board earlier, pushing Dallas to a high-impact safety with coverage skills for a nickel role.

27) Buffalo Bills
RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
Robinson adds a playmaker to the Buffalo offense and getting him the ball regularly adds life to QB Josh Allen’s career while complicating scheme decisions for defenses.

28) Cincinnati Bengals
LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
The latest versatile defender produced by the Tigers, Simpson played multiple positions in the Clemson front and the ability to change his stripes with the Bengals makes this the perfect fit.

29) New Orleans Saints (via DEN)
WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
A fine fit and complement to standout rookie Chris Olave, Flowers helps an offense in the midst of a hard reset. The Broncos trade this pick for the right to hire head coach Sean Payton.

30) Kansas City Chiefs
DE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
Frank Clark and Chris Jones have weighty contracts and the Chiefs began to restock with left defensive end George Kalaftis with the 30th pick in 2022.

31) Philadelphia Eagles
TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
Size (6-5), speed (4.5s), power and athleticism are winning traits for Musgrave, whose stock will rise as he proves to be over the knee injury that ended his final season in September 2022. Luxury pick helps running game and gives Dallas Goedert a running mate in two-TE sets.

*Picks 30-31 will be determined by the outcome of Super Bowl LVII.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws a pass during the second half of the Peach Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Ohio State lost 42-41. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Ncaa Football Peach Bowl Ohio State At Georgia

2023 NFL Draft order set 1-23

A few more pieces to the 2023 NFL Draft puzzle fell into place this weekend.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud declared for the draft, but the expected top-5 pick has 72 hours to reconsider and return to the Buckeyes before the full field of eligible prospects is released to the NFL’s 32 teams.

And five teams transitioned swiftly from playoff preparation to draft preparation, learning their precise location in the first round of the ’23 draft.

The first 18 selections were assigned in order of regular-season record, worst to best, starting with the Chicago Bears (3-14) at No. 1.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost Monday and have the 19th overall selection, followed by the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings.

2023 NFL Draft order (picks 24-32 determined by playoff results):
1) Chicago Bears
2) Houston Texans
3) Arizona Cardinals
4) Indianapolis Colts
5) Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)
6) Detroit Lions (via LAR)
7) Las Vegas Raiders
8) Atlanta Falcons
9) Carolina Panthers
10) Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)
11) Tennessee Titans
12) Houston Texans (via CLE)
13) New York Jets
14) New England Patriots
15) Green Bay Packers
16) Washington Commanders
17) Pittsburgh Steelers
18) Detroit Lions
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20) Seattle Seahawks
21) Los Angeles Chargers
22) Baltimore Ravens
23) Minnesota Vikings

–Field Level Media