2023 NFL Draft first round full of surprises
Michael Smith and Michael Holley look at the winners and losers from the first round of the NFL Draft and analyze the Seahawks and Eagles making big moves.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Our Lions yesterday, I don't know-- I don't know what our Lions were doing. I'm really feeling it. I'm feeling the Lions. I'm not sure I understand it. One day maybe-- maybe one day we'll all--
MICHAEL SMITH: They drafted a running back and a off-ball linebacker. And a off-ball-- in the first round.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Are they old school? Like this is like-- we talk about 1997, and like you drafting Jack Campbell. That's a linebacker's name. Like, you're drafting a middle linebacker from Iowa.
MICHAEL SMITH: Yeah. Yeah.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: In the first round. And then look at Brad Holmes getting hyped. Brad, why you getting hyped?
MICHAEL SMITH: That's my dog, right there.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: I love Brad Holmes.
MICHAEL SMITH: Hey, I trust Brad Holmes. I trust Brad Holmes. You know?
MICHAEL HOLLEY: It's like-- that's like Dan Campbell when Dan Campbell was playing. That's like one of those drafts. What are y'all doing? And they had an opportunity, Mike. They could have-- if you want a running back who could do it all-- let's see, man, I wish we had a number six pick so we could draft Bijan Robinson. Oh, you did. You did.
Hey, so you didn't have to trade. If you wanted-- if you wanted to the linebacker and the running back--
MICHAEL SMITH: All jokes aside-- all jokes aside--
MICHAEL HOLLEY: You could have had the best linebacker and you could have had Jack Campbell without making any trades.
MICHAEL SMITH: All jokes aside, there were some teams-- well, but there were some teams-- OK, but they moved back from 6 to 12 with Arizona, who, again, I loved the Arizona--
MICHAEL HOLLEY: They got their picks.
MICHAEL SMITH: --getting-- right. But all jokes aside, there were some teams who had Jahmyr Gibbs as the highest rated running back or did not have a whole lot of separation between Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs. So from a draft-- playing draft game standpoint, if you slide down six spots, pick up some capital, and at the same time get a player that you had rated as high, if not higher than Bijan Robinson, that's a pretty good move.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Yeah, that is. But to that, can I just say this? I know it will never happen. I just want to say it. I want to see some receipts from these teams. We took him off our board. OK, proof. He was the highest rated player on our board. We were shocked we got him at 25. I need proof.
You had the 25th player, 28, 19. He's top rated on your board. Let me see your damn board, and let me know your history because I don't believe-- back to this. I don't believe you. I don't believe these teams say, hey, we had Jahmyr and Bijan side by side. No, you didn't.
And if you did, what else? Give me your history in the last five years. What else have you done? I want to see your draft perform-- what kind of results have you gotten off the field and on the field if your rating system works in such a way? So yeah, I mean, people--
Like everybody who watched it last night, everybody was [INAUDIBLE] Detroit [INAUDIBLE].
MICHAEL SMITH: That's the beauty of the draft.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Everybody--
MICHAEL SMITH: Yeah, that's the beauty of the draft, everybody's happy. Everybody's happy. It went according to everybody's plan. That's what's the beauty of it. That's the beauty of it. Everybody's happy.
OK, so you did-- so you weren't feeling Detroit. That's fine. I'll get plenty of people on the Lions bandwagon. I don't need you on the Lions bandwagon.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Seattle, Seattle.
MICHAEL SMITH: Yeah? Seattle, yeah, yeah.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Seattle, again, and it's a continuum. Look, I understand that the most attention went to Houston, which got back to back, the best quarterback, or probably the best player in the draft in CJ Stroud. OK, best quarterback in the draft, CJ Stroud, and then they get Will Anderson. Nice.
But Houston has a long way to go. So I'm not going to just look at it as, hey, look what happened last night. Seattle was a playoff team last year, had a terrific draft in 2022--
MICHAEL SMITH: They nailed it last year too, yeah.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Here they come back in-- at 23, here they come back. So they got Tariq Woolen last year. On the other side, they get my man from the Big Ten. Shout out Illinois, Big Ten, Devon Witherspoon. Great at number five. Didn't see that one coming.
And then to get Jaxon Smith-Njigba at number 20, are you serious? That is a great great job, Seattle.
MICHAEL SMITH: CB1 and WR1, that's pretty good. Yeah, quarterback one and wide receiver is pretty damn good.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: Or even WR3. They get WR3 because they don't need to be WR1.
MICHAEL SMITH: No, I mean in this draft class. Like, I mentioned Zay Flowers earlier, but they may have gotten the top-- a lot of people's top quarterback and top wide receiver. And I'm agreeing with you on Seattle. And in the now, instead of drafting an heir apparent to Geno Smith, they end up further complementing Geno Smith with a potentially dynamic third or maybe one day number two or even number one wide receiver, given his upside.
But and then the Eagles, man. The Eagles. I mean, this Georgia to Philadelphia pipeline is something. Like if anybody-- like look, say what you want about Jalen Carter. A lot of this is development. And great teams and great organizations know how to bring out the best in players.
And so if Jalen Carter was going to go anywhere, and obviously, there's a Jordan Davis connection. There's a Nakobe Dean connection and now the Nolan Smith connection. If Jalen Carter was going to go anywhere and flourish, it was going to be Philadelphia.
And again, all jokes aside, you were telling me about running backs. And I think Atlanta did the same thing, If I can keep connecting these bird mascots. It's like, hey, yeah, we got a running back, but this guy is a dynamic playmaker, an impact player. He may be designated as a running back, but he's more than that.
The Eagles are like, yeah, we got a good pass rush. They lost Hargrove and that sort of thing. But yeah, we got a good pass rush. Yeah, we're deep at defensive line, but we can make a strength even stronger, and we can give maybe the best talent in the draft. And Nolan Smith on and off the field is a tone-setter in the truest sense of the word.
So I mean, that's how the elite organizations, going back to the Ravens when I say this, whether it's the Ravens, whether it's the Eagles, whether it's the Seahawks, there's a reason why these elite organizations stay elite because they have not only great scouting but an infrastructure that's going to develop and support players, even if they may have some question marks or some red flags about them to be the best versions of themselves within their systems.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: I'm going to give-- a friend of mine sent me this text. He's an Eagles fans. And he said, the verdict is almost completely in. He said, the Eagles traded Carson Wentz and a 2022 first and got back AJ Brown, Jalen Carter, and a 2024 second. I mean, you know--
MICHAEL SMITH: Wow.
MICHAEL HOLLEY: So you think about that. Mike, you're right. Elite franchises-- the Eagles went to the Super Bowl last year. We all talked about them and how wonderfully they've built this team, and it continues. They are-- not that your roster wins you anything. I mean, it's a part of it, but lots of championships have been won on paper but not actually realized.
But the Eagles have the best roster in the National Football League. Top to bottom, they've got the best roster, especially at important trench positions. Offensive and defensive lines are impeccable, and they just added to it last night.