weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

NFL DRAFT BLOG: First round concludes with Will Levis still available

Updated April 27, 2023 - 7:43 pm

All eyes in the NFL world are fixed squarely on Kansas City, Missouri, as the first round of the NFL draft kicks off at approximately 5 p.m. Thursday.

Carolina made a trade with Chicago last month to acquire the top pick, which the Panthers are expected to use on Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

After that, it’s anyone’s guess in what many league sources expect to be the most unpredictable first round in years.

The Raiders have 12 picks in the next three days, including the No. 7 pick overall. General manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels need to upgrade the talent level on defense, but they could also look at selecting a quarterback of the future.

Offensive line is also a possibility, though Ziegler is expected to also field calls about trading the pick.

The same can be said about most of the picks in the first round.

Controversial defensive tackle Jalen Carter of Georgia could go as high as No. 2 or tumble down the board should teams get scared off by concerns about his character. Four or five quarterbacks could go in the first round, and running back Bijan Robinson’s landing spot will be one of the biggest stories of the evening.

Two tight ends from Las Vegas — Dalton Kincaid and Darnell Washington — could also hear their names called Thursday. Those are just a few of the many storylines that have been developing for months.

So expect the unexpected and follow along here for analysis of all the picks and a look at the dynamic betting market with updates throughout the evening.

8:54 p.m.

The first round has come to a close with only three quarterbacks coming off the board.

Hendon Hooker still being available is a mild surprise. Will Levis still not being selected is downright stunning.

The Kentucky quarterback was projected to go as high as No. 2. There was even some weird fluctuations in the betting market that had him going No. 1.

But with 31 picks in the books, Levis is still available.

The final three selections of the first round were Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee to New Orelans, Georgia edge defender Nolan Smith to Philadelphia and Kansas State edge Felix Anudike-Uzomah to Kansas City.

Smith wrapped up a big night for the Eagles, who also landed his teammate Jalen Carter earlier in the first round.

Seattle and Houston will also get high marks for their work in the first round, while Detroit is likely to draw some criticism.

There will be plenty of time for grades and analysis. For now, all eyes turn to Friday’s second and third rounds.

The Raiders have the seventh pick of the second round. Will Levis still be on the board and would they select him? Those answers are less than 24 hours away.

8:26 p.m.

Three straight teams have made moves to bolster their roster on the line of scrimmage.

The Jaguars selection may have been the most interesting among them.

Jacksonville chose Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison just hours after learning starting tackle Cam Robinson was facing a suspension for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

While Harrison could very well have been in the mix regardless of Robinson’s status, his looming ban almost certainly increased the sense of urgency at the position.

Dallas, selecting just before the Jaguars, passed on tight end after missing out on Dalton Kincaid and instead took Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith.

Clemson’s Myles Murphy, an edge defender, went to Cincinnati at No. 28.

Will Levis continues to wait.

8:11 p.m.

NFL Network just cut to Henderson to show the live reaction of Faith Lutheran and Utah alum Dalton Kincaid and his family when he was selected by the Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo traded up to move ahead of Dallas, who was also expected to pick a tight end.

The pick was preceded by the Giants selection of cornerback Deonte Banks from Maryland.

7:56 p.m.

It appears teams were just waiting for someone to break the seal before they could start taking receivers.

After none were picked in the first 19 picks of the drafts, four straight wideouts have come off the board.

The most recent selection was Jordan Addison from Southern California. Addison is a college star that didn’t quite have the measurables to make him a top 10 pick like his production may have suggested.

He figures to be a tremendous running mate for Justin Jefferson in Minnesota.

This is the first time four straight wide receivers have been taken consecutively in the first round of the draft.

7:50 p.m.

The run on receivers continues.

Baltimore makes it three straight wideouts to come off the board by selecting Boston College standout Zay Flowers.

It has been a big day for the Ravens, who signed quarterback Lamar Jackson to a massive contract extension earlier in the day.

Now they have given him someone another target.

Oh, and Will Levis is still on the board.

7:36 p.m.

After waiting 20 picks for the first reciever to come off the board, two straight have been selected.

The Chargers followed up Seattle’s selection of Jaxon Smith-Njigba by picking TCU’s Quentin Johnston, a home-run hitter with great size.

While Justin Herbert has a few exceptional weapons to throw to, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have dealt with injuries and should welcome the reinforcements.

7:29 p.m.

There it is.

The Seahawks selected Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba at No. 20 in the first round, making him the first receiver picked in the first round.

The odds suggested at least four wideouts would come off the board in the opening round.

7:23 p.m.

The Lions are having an interesting night.

After shocking the NFL world by selecting a running back with the first of their two first-round selections, Detroit took a second player few expected to go on the first night.

Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell is a bit of a throwback middle linebacker, who can serve as the quarterback of a rebuilding defense. It’s possible they could have waited until the second round to get him, however.

The Lions clearly don’t use the same positional value chart as most other teams in the league.

Tampa Bay followed that pick by solidifying the interior of its defensive front with Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey, an explosive athlete who can wreck the middle of an opponent’s offensive line.

And the wait continues for Will Levis and the wide receivers.

7:09 p.m.

The wait is over for Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

After trading down three spots, the New England Patriots grabbed the tall defensive back who was seen as a potential top seven pick in this class.

He was actually the third cornerback off the board.

Washington selected Emmanuel Forbes from Mississippi State one spot ahead of Gonzalez.

Still, there have been no wide receivers selected.

7 p.m.

The first round of the draft is nearly two hours old and there are still no wide receivers off the board.

Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba is widely viewed as the top prospect at the position.

6:53 p.m.

There may have been a bit of divisional gamesmanship at play in a trade between the Patriots and Steelers.

Pittsburgh traded up from No. 17 to No. 14 to take offensive tackle Broderick Jones from Georgia. The Jets, an AFC East rival of the Patriots, are in need of a tackle and were on the clock at No. 15. So the Patriots were able to pick up some additional draft capital while also potentially keeping a top tackle prospect away from the Jets.

The Jets then elected to bolster the defensive line instead, selecting Will McDonald from Iowa State.

6:41 p.m.

After trading down to No. 12, the Lions made perhaps the first truly stunning pick of the first round.

Detroit selected Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the pick it acquired earlier in the evening from the Cardinals.

While it was a slight favorite for two running backs to go off the board in the first round, the fact it happened in the first 12 picks was a bit of a shock.

Gibbs was mostly an afterthought in most mock drafts, not because of his talent, but because the running back position has been so devalued.

The Lions already had a solid depth chart at the position and appeared to be more in need of an infusion of talent on defense.

Division-rival Green Bay followed the Lions by choosing Iowa edge defender Lukas Van Ness at No. 13.

6:26 p.m.

The Bears took an offensive tackle after trading down one spot, though it may not have been the one many expected.

Chicago passed on Peter Skoronski, who played just down the road at Northwestern, to take Tennessee’s Darnell Wright.

Tennessee immediately followed up by taking Skoronski at No. 11. He has the versatility to play tackle or guard for a team that needs to rebuild up front.

6:17 p.m.

The Eagles wanted to make sure Jalen Carter didn’t get away from them, so they traded up one spot with the Chicago Bears to select the controversial defensive tackle.

Carter was a dominant force on the field at Georgia, but there has been a great deal of concern about his work ethic and character off of it.

Philadelphia gave up a fourth-round pick in the 2024 draft for the opportunity to move up one spot. Chicago, which had already traded down from No. 1 with Carolina last month, is now on the clock at No. 10.

6:12 p.m.

There were a lot of questions about which team would go against the recent trend and actually use a high pick on a running back in the first round.

The Falcons answered the question, selecting Bijan Robinson.

Robinson is widely viewed as one of the top players in the class with the only real question being how much draft capital a team was willing to invest on the position.

It was a slight favorite that more than one running back would go in the first round.

6:07 p.m.

Tyree Wilson was still available at No. 7 and the Raiders decided to end the slide for a player that was widely expected to go in the top five.

Wilson emerged late in his collegiate career at Texas Tech and dealt with a foot injury that limited his pre-draft activity, but he has prototypical measurements for an edge defender and has plenty of mentors at the position to learn from already in the building.

5:59 p.m.

The Cardinals are wheeling and dealing in the first round.

After trading out of the No. 3 spot, Arizona moved back up to No. 6.

The Cardinals used that pick on offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., who quarterback Kyler Murray recently tweeted about having an interest in playing with this season.

In exchange for moving down, the Detroit Lions acquired picks No. 12 and 34 from the Cardinals.

The Raiders are now on the clock.

5:49 p.m.

A potential target of the Raiders is off the board.

Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon was selected with the No. 5 pick by the Seattle Seahawks two spots ahead of the Raiders first selection of the evening.

Witherspoon was the top cornerback prospect in the draft, emerging ahead of Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez

Detroit is the last team to pick before the Raiders are on the clock.

5:41 p.m.

Let the Anthony Richardson and Jalen Hurts comparisons begin.

Indianapolis selected Richardson out of Florida with the No. 4 pick, where he will begin his career playing for former Eagles offensive coordinator and former UNLV quarterback Shane Steichen.

Steichen unlocked the potential in Hurts and allowed him to flourish into an MVP candidate. Now he will try to do the same with Richardson, one of the most dynamic prospects at the position to enter the league in years.

It was the first pick to go against the late line movement as Will Levis was a small favorite to go at No. 4.

5:34 p.m.

The Houston Texans are having a huge night.

After selecting a quarterback of the future in C.J. Stroud at No. 2, they were able to trade up to No. 3 and also land perhaps the draft’s most complete prospect in Alabama’s Will Anderson.

Arizona will now pick at No. 12 and acquired a second-round pick along with first and third round picks in 2024 from Houston, which got the 105th overall selection this year along with the No. 3 pick.

Anderson was the favorite to go No. 3 as of a few hours before the draft.

5:25 p.m.

The Texans decided to go with a quarterback after all.

Houston selected Ohio State’s C. J. Stroud with the No. 2 pick in the draft despite reports over the last few days the franchise would not go with a quarterback.

Arizona, which does not need a quarterback, is now on the clock. The Cardinals are expected to be listening to offers on the pick, but the betting market suggests Alabama edge defender Will Anderson will be their selection.

5:20 p.m.

The Carolina Panthers have selected Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the first pick of the NFL draft.

Young has been a massive favorite to be the first pick for the past two weeks and reached as high as -20,000. Despite some strange movement on Kentucky quarterback Will Levis this week, mostly sparked by a Reddit post, the selection of Young essentially has been a foregone conclusion.

Now the drama begins with the Houston Texans on the clock.

Will they select a quarterback or take one of the top defensive players available, most likely Alabama’s Will Anderson or Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson?

They could also trade down or even stun everyone by going in a completely different direction.

A massive late line movement in the past few hours suggests Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud will be the pick. But will it be the Texans that make the selection?

The draft officially begins now.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Like and follow Vegas Nation
Grading the Raiders’ 9 picks in the NFL draft

Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler and his staff stuck to their plan in acquiring a mixture of talented players that should be cornerstones of the building process.