The NFL Draft is under two weeks away, and preparations are still underway. No doubt, the NFL is going to land a knockout blow for hosting locations in Kansas City. And for many of the NFL fans attending, they are more focused on previewing the best bars & BBQ joints “The Zoo” has to offer. I don’t blame them. Smokey v. Sweet, Tangy v. Spicy, is Bud Light still on tap….these are most of the issues travelers will face before & during the draft. They will pay attention to the first two rounds & then hit the scenes KC has to offer.
Again, I don’t blame them.
For NFL worshipers & fantasy die-hards, the draft is an all weekend affair. In the Northeast, we could give two-shits about 15 different flavors of BBQ (and Bud Light, for that matter. Jack Daniels is next to go). I’m not a BBQ sauce sommelier, and I’m not about to pretend to be. To be honest, the only parts of the draft I care about are what happens to the Steelers, what happens inside the AFC North, & who gets drafted from which PA institutions of basic learning (that’s not a knock on our schools, FYI. I think colleges have become a joke & I’d rather see my kids attend an HVAC school after graduation. Rich people will always need their crap fixed).
But alas, Bleacher Brothers has knighted me an “aficionado” of NFL Draft particulars. And since this is my first article for the new sleeper media outlet, I promise, going forward, to continue rambling on about things that have absolutely no relevance to the heading at the top of the post. Though, from time to time, I will turn my focus back to the topic at hand. Like right now.
NFL Draft Preview: Stars (First Round):
-Bryce Young (Alabama), QB:
Young is a leader. Especially when it’s all on the line. Plain & Simple. He took it in the chops, time after time, in the National Championship Game two years earlier against Georgia when he absolutely had to. His top two receivers were down (one in-game) and he still almost pulled out a victory. The intangibles can be taught. Calm under pressure, can’t. And his calming presence certainly can’t. He’s a future superstar.
-CJ Stroud (Ohio State), QB
He can make every throw in the book with accuracy & above-average arm talent. He was launching it +65 yds at the NFL Combine, and he got better every year. He’s always had haters & proved he could quiet the noise on his own, silencing his critics this past season. That means he’s not weak between the ears, which seems to be an epidemic with these young QBs getting thrown into the fire right away. Just ask Arizona.
-Will Anderson (Alabama), OLB/DE (5-Technique/Edge Rusher)
Anderson is an absolute freak. He would’ve been top-graded had he been able to come out last year. He only got stronger, and he only got smarter. A few quiet games this past season is a bit of a concern, but he’s got tools-for-days, and he’ll be (what looks like) another beast of a pass rusher coming out of the NFC West.
-Peter Skorownski (Northwestern), OT (moved to OG)
“Sko” is a Paul Bunyan of a man. He showed out this past fall, only allowing six pressures in 474 pass blocking attempts. His massive 33” pythons only allude to his ability to toss around DLs across the board. While he did play T this past season (and very well, I might add), his footwork & body type remind me more of an All-Pro calibur OG, rather than a suitable starter at OT.
-Michael Mayer (Notre Dame), TE
What more needs to be said about this kid, that hasn’t already been said by his play. He broke every receiving record at Notre Dame (for all positions, not just TE), and he did it with a chip on his shoulder. His “Montreal Screw-Job” of a shaft during this past season’s College Awards for the John Mackey (Most Outstanding TE) for the second year in a row will only make that chip grow. And the best part about his game might not be his pillowy-soft hands, but rather his edge & willingness as a blocker (both running & passing). He is a throwback TE that is sure to be a lock for productivity.
-Calijah Kancey (Pittsburgh), DL (Interior/Pass Rusher)
Just say it. I’m already thinking it. “Homer Pick”.
And you’re right, but it’s not without merit. While Kancey may be under-sized at the IL position (standing 6’0, 280 lb), he was a nightmare for ACC QBs this past season. His 92.4 pass rushing grade last season is proof that metrics don’t always equate to results. There was another undersized Pitt IL who got drafted a few years back by the name of Aaron Donald. How’s that worked out for the LA Rams?
-Darnell Wright (Tennessee), OT
Wright was a 4-yr starter out of the best DL conference in the land (the SEC) and looks to use that experience to make an immediate impact for whatever NFL team scoops him up. While his impact wasn’t greatly felt until this last season, his tape against Alabama’s Will Anderson is proof of his star potential at the next level. The NFL is about productivity against the best in the game. Anderson is a good representation of what Wright will see every Sunday for the foreseeable future. His one pressure allowed that game only made it eight for the entire year.
-Zay Flowers (Boston College), WR
I love players who produce against big competition without a suitable supporting cast. BC is no FBS powerhouse, and yet Zay Flowers has had offensive-minded coaches licking their chops for the time they draw plays up for him. His separation speed & route-running is uncanny, and he will be a nightmare for DBs in the NFL for a longtime to come. Zay Flowers just sounds like a superstar name.
Say it with me, now: ZAY FLOWERS.
Has a nice ring to it.
-Myles Murphy (Clemson), DE
6’5”. 275lb. The man is a beast. A raw beast, but still a beast. He has a lot which he could still add to his game, but his combination of power & athleticism jumps off the tape. His size allows him to play across the line, meaning he’ll be a match-up nightmare. And if tutelage doesn’t take, at the worst you can just tell him, “Go get me a QB scalp.”
Chances are, he will.
If you think I missed something, let me know in the comment section. I’d also like to hear some SLEEPERS you guys think are hiding in this draft class. I think there are some absolute gemstones. Let’s see if you’ve done your homework.
2023 NFL Draft order for all seven rounds
NFL Draft Tracker