The Good Ish/Bad Ish from the 2023 NFL Draft

By: Ron Johnson

There is nothing better than when you work hard all your life and achieve a lifelong dream. For 259 athletes, that dream came to fruition on a chill night in Chiefs Kingdom. But during the madness and anxiety that these players faced, there were some moments that made this year quite epic. Here are some of those moments from the 2023 NFL Draft from Kansas City, Missouri.

2023 NFL Draft: The Return of the Dirty Bird in Atlanta?

With the franchise in shambles and looking for some form of positivity, the Atlanta Falcons needed a massive boost. In order to give their fanbase some form of that, we may have seen some semblance of those glory days of the Falcons as they utilized their No. 8 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft to select an impressive runner from Texas, Bijan Robinson. 

Robinson joins an already stacked offensive core that includes Tyler Allgeier, Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Desmond Ridder. With Ridder under center, both Allgeier and Robinson in the backfield and Pitts and London leading the receiving corps, it makes sense to have visions of The Return of the Dirty Bird in A-Town. But whether these high caliber players will equal a better season outcome for the Falcons is one thing that head coach Arthur Smith will have to show. Yes, I said show rather than tell because Falcons fans are still having nightmares from the team’s last Super Bowl appearance where Tom Brady showed that he is indeed Matt Ryan’s daddy. All in all, I cannot see an issue with using their eighth pick on this kid. 

Does anyone know what is going on in Arizona???

During the Live 2023 NFL Draft Show on No Filter, our own Uncle Rico was making a joke about the prediction in which the Cardinals would go to improve both sides of the ball. He mentioned that if the Cardinals traded out of the spot, that he would go complete nuts about it. Is it safe to say that he was Nostradamus for a moment because that is EXACTLY what the Cardinals ended up doing. 

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Following their initial pick (No. 2 pick) of C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State, the Houston Texans accepted a trade from Arizona to snag Will Anderson, Jr. Despite the chorus of boos from the Arizona fans during the watch party in Glendale, the Texans quietly made their pick for Anderson with everyone representing the Cardinals fanbase scratching their heads around one simple question: WHY???

The Cardinals proceeded to pick sixth instead and managed to acquire some serious O-line help with Paris Johnson, Jr. out of Ohio State. However, this pick did not come without its own share of bait and switch as well as Arizona traded with Detroit (who had acquired this pick from the Rams for Matthew Stafford) to move back into the first round to get Johnson. But then the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft came, which brought Arizona to the 41st pick and Edge Rusher BJ Ojulari out of LSU. After viewing their draft selections after this, it does appear that they are indeed focused on beefing up their defensive talent as well as bringing some much-needed relief to a battered offense. 

During the entire 2023 NFL Draft, it was pointed out that while their decision making was confusing, they did manage to focus on the two main things they needed for the draft: Someone to keep Kyler Murray upright and someone who could fill the shoes of the retired J.J. Watt. Only time will tell if the gamble truly worked for Arizona.

2023 NFL Draft: Take Away His Anxiety

NFL Draft 2023

We have all seen that face. We have all made that face. We even had created characters in various sporting games that have made that face. 

But for Will Levis, this was reality.

After watching Bryce Young (Alabama), Stroud (Ohio State) and Anthony Richardson (Florida) go in the top ten AND first round, Levis had to add an extra room to his stay in Kansas City. However, it is said that patience is a virtue, and despite the many looks of angst, frustration and bottled up/swallowed anger and sadness, it only took the start of day two for Levis to finally get the call he had patiently waiting for.

“With the 33rd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select…Will Levis, QB, Kentucky!”

With that, he was finally able to breathe. All the hard work playing for a school known mainly for its basketball program and huge patience shown as he watched the room he was in get one seat emptier finally paid off for who many believed to be the Dark Horse of the Draft. 

Levis joins a very impressive coaching staff that has a team led by the NFL’s Resident Posterizer, Derrick Henry. By drafting Levis, Tennessee has a pair of quarterbacks who can possibly unseat Ryan Tannehill as the starter. While he may have been labeled as a dark horse by some, Levis is just happy he didn’t suffer a stroke while waiting for his phone to ring.

A Family Affair

While it is rare that former players get to watch their children follow in their footsteps, this a great thing to happen nonetheless. While I have visions of being in the room when two of my sons, Quinlen and Kendrick, walk across the draft stage, I watch in awe and with inspiration as two proud dads got to enjoy their sons’ moments in person. 

Chris Vaughn, who is a scout for the Dallas Cowboys, got the pleasure of calling his son and asking him a question that most dads get to do with their kids when they are younger: “Son, you want to come to work with me next week?” The reason being is that the Cowboys had just selected his son, Deuce Vaughn (Kansas State), in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL draft. The raw and pure emotion out of the elder Vaughn’s face as owner Jerry Jones informed him of their pick is something that makes me smile as a proud father myself.

But Deuce’s moment came very later after a familiar name got to wave a familiar towel.

I am not sure how it happened, but it did indeed happen. With their 32nd pick in the opening of the second round of the draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Joey Porter, Jr. out of Penn State. Now if the name sounds familiar, it is because his dad Joey Sr. used to run roughshod all over Heinz Field as a member of those aforementioned Steelers. In fact, Joey Jr.’s biggest supporter would be his dad, and while his proud papa spent the tail end of Winter/fresh start of Spring alongside fellow Steeler alumnus Hines Ward with the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas, he made sure that his son was ready for his big moments in the Big Ten/Twelve and on Draft Day.

Now while both players are not expected to make an immediate impact on the team, do not be surprised if they become some of the missing pieces of these two once proud and feared franchises. To say the least, this writer will be watching and looking forward to hearing J-Peezy Jr. and The New Deuce in Town for many years to come.

Mr. Irrelevant: A Repeat Performance???

Okay. Let’s be honest for a second. Did anyone know who this guy was before he was handed the “keys” to the Niners Kingdom??

Did anyone expect him to go undefeated in all his starts with the team? Did anyone expect him to lead the Niners to a gutsy and gritty win over the Cowboys in the playoffs and take them all the way to the NFC Championship Game against the Eagles?

Nope. I did not either.

But Brock Purdy set a new standard with the infamous “Mr. Irrelevant” pick, which is the final pick of the NFL Draft. After Purdy joined the Niners, he watched as Jimmy G went down with an injury, followed by Trey Lance. Purdy was prepared for the moment, but there were no Willie Beaman pregame jitters (allegedly) prior to his first official NFL start. What followed was Brock Purdy becoming a household name and the Niners fans embracing their own Mr. Irrelevant.

Now it is the Rams’ turn to embrace theirs.

With the final pick of the 2023 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected defensive end out of Toledo Desjuan Johnson. Johnson now joins the ranks of this elite Draft Class. Now there have been some names that have gone on to make an impact as Mr. Irrelevant. Players like Ryan Succop, Ryan Hoag, David Vobora, Chad Kelly, Tae Crowder and Purdy have found success in the NFL…even if it was not with the franchises that drafted them.

With Johnson, the Rams get a more than capable alternative to Aaron Donald. While “analysts” may be questioning his physical ability, NONE of them can question the heart and fortitude that Johnson displayed during his collegiate career. Do not be surprised if you see Purdy and Johnson getting together in a few months over dinner and beers to discuss the impact and mystique that being Mr. Irrelevant has on a player’s potential. 

Yes, the 2023 NFL draft provided some great moments for all. But there is one moment where time stood still, and everyone was a football fan. That moment was this…

Cavalier For Life

Just as the NBA did for Terrence Clarke in the 2021 Draft, the NFL followed suit on Thursday night as it welcomed three new additions to the NBA Family that were drafted by the teams that were slated to pick them that weekend. 

D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis and Devin Chandler were killed as a former walk-on player (who I will keep nameless out of respect for the fallen) opened fire on a charter bus that was returning to campus from a field trip. On Draft Night, all three men were honored at the beginning of the opening round of the draft by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and the families of the fallen were given a jersey to commemorate the honorary draft picks. 

Perry was drafted by the Miami Dolphins, Davis by the Baltimore Ravens and Chandler by the Jacksonville Jaguars. For lots of writers, this was the moment that football and sports for that matter, took a backseat as these three men are in my opinion responsible for saving the lives of various members of their team and their classmates on that fateful day in November 2022. And while the University of Virginia will no doubt place these three names among their ring of honor, it would not surprise me if these three names end up on the Rings of Honor in their respective stadiums and possibly get a busts in the NFL Hall of Fame.

So what did we learn from the 2023 NFL Draft? That every team now has a clean slate heading into the season. It may take a while to go through each round and player to see if the needs of the team were met, but in the end, this is going to be a fun season. The Retirement of THE GOAT. The Departure of the Ayahuasca, Dollar Store Frank Gallagher to New York. The End of the Feed Me More Era in Big D. What will the new season bring us? Will the Eagles get revenge? Will this FINALLY be Dallas’ year? Will the Rams bounce back? Will these draft picks be the X-Factor? Will we see a new world champion?

Or…will it still be TOO EASY FOR PATRICK MAHOMES AND THE CHIEFS BECAUSE…..

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