NFL Draft: Winners and Losers from exciting first night of 2023 class

NFL Draft winners and losers
Seniors from NCAA colleges run through drills to increase their status for the NFL Draft during practice for the Senior Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Mobile, Ala.. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
AP Photos

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft has concluded and there was plenty of fireworks in Kansas City. Major shakeups in the top 10, some interesting trade down, and perplexing selections dominated night one of potentially one of the more critical classes in recent history. 

With any first night of a draft like this, there are clear winners and losers. 

Let’s see who came out smiling and who came frustrated after night one of the NFL Draft. 

Winners – Philadelphia Eagles

What the heck did the NFL just allow Howie Roseman and the Eagles to pull off? Jalen Carter is considered one of the most talented defensive linemen in the draft this year and the Eagles essentially gave up just a fourth-round pick for him – ludicrous. It didn’t stop there though! Nolan Smith was considered a favorite for the team at 10, but the NFL Draft fell a certain way where Smith ended up at 30 to Roseman and the Eagles. There’s no one on this planet that will think the Eagles didn’t come away as the clear-cut winners of the 2023 NFL Draft. 

Losers – Detroit Lions

Philadelphia had two first-round picks and ultimately came out as a clear winner. Detroit on the other hand had two first-round picks, traded out of the top 10, and landed with players that would have been available in round two or even later in the first round. Jahmyr Gibbs is a very talented runner and receiver but in a loaded offense, taking him at 12 was perplexing. Even more so was sitting at 18 with players like Deonte Banks available and taking Jack Campbell who could have been available in the second round. Ultimate reaches for Brad Holmes and Detroit tells me they don’t come out nicely after night one of the NFL Draft. 

Winners – New England Patriots

The steal of the NFL Draft wasn’t Jalen Carter or Nolan Smith or even Broderick Jones. It was Christian Gonzalez, arguably the top corner of the NFL Draft class, going to the Patriots at 17. Gonzalez is considered a project but has the ability and tape to show he can dominate this league as a lockdown corner. The fact he went after Emmanuel Forbes was shocking and the Patriots got much better just through one major trade while not allowing the Jets to take the offensive tackle they were hoping for at 15. 

Losers – Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys desperately wanted Dalton Kincaid and allowed the Bills to jump them for the top tight end’s services. Instead of taking another top tight end prospect, or one of the solid edge rushers in the draft, they decided on taking the defensive tackle, Mazi Smith. Smith is a good run-stuffer but is a major project without much of a pass rush to his name. Dallas needs to keep up with the Eagles and they didn’t really do that on night one of the NFL Draft. 

Winners – New York Giants

The Giants needed to add defensive firepower to compete in the NFC East with the Cowboys and Eagles. Deonte Banks is a project, but he was arguably the fourth-best corner of the draft with lockdown potential. With their additions in free agency and through trades, the Giants had the ability to take the best available player and they did so in droves late in the first round. 

Losers – Jordan Love

The Green Bay Packers had a chance with the 13th overall pick to right the wrongs they had with Aaron Rodgers. They could have taken one of the top skill position guys in the draft including Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jahmyr Gibbs, or even Dalton Kincaid but the team decided on the biggest edge prospect in Luke Van Ness. Javon Walker was the last skill offensive player taken by the team in the first round of the NFL Draft and that was back in 2002. Looks like Green Bay hasn’t learned anything yet. 

Winners – Josh Allen

One clear takeaway from the playoffs last season was that the Buffalo Bills did not have enough offensive talent to keep up with the Chiefs or Bengals. To rectify it, they took the best tight end in the draft class and one of the best skill position guys in the NFL Draft. Kincaid is going to be a plug-and-play, Day-one starter for Buffalo and will fit nicely with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. For Allen, the addition of another target will be huge for his continued development. 

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