The highly anticipated 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone, leaving fans with a lot to talk about. One of the most notable moments was the Carolina Panthers selecting Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the first overall pick, as expected. However, things got interesting when the Houston Texans made a surprising move, trading with the Arizona Cardinals to acquire both quarterback CJ Stroud and linebacker Will Anderson Jr at picks two and three.
Texans’ Stunner Trade for Stroud and Anderson Jr
The Texans’ intentions at pick number two were unclear, as they had been considering selecting a new franchise quarterback or a pass rusher to bolster their struggling defense. Ultimately, they decided to address both needs with consecutive picks, pulling off a stunning trade to move up nine spots from their scheduled second pick at 12. This allowed them to select Ohio State QB Stroud at number two and also snag Alabama linebacker Anderson Jr, who is widely regarded as the best defensive prospect in the draft.
Young, Stroud, and Richardson: Three Quarterbacks in the Top Four
The draft saw three quarterbacks selected in the top four picks for just the fourth time since 1967. Heisman Trophy winner Young was taken first overall by the Panthers, while the Indianapolis Colts picked Florida’s Anthony Richardson fourth overall, who impressed many with his sensational workout at the NFL Scouting Combine in March.
No More Quarterbacks in the First Round
Despite Hendon Hooker from Tennessee and Kentucky’s Will Levis being projected as first-round, if not top-15, picks, no more quarterbacks were selected in the first round.
Other Top Picks
Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon was selected fifth overall by the Seattle Seahawks, while big-bodied linebacker Tyree Wilson went to the Las Vegas Raiders at number seven. Two running backs went inside the opening 12 picks, with Bijan Robinson from the University of Texas ultimately being selected by the Atlanta Falcons at number eight, and Jahmyr Gibbs from Alabama being picked by the Detroit Lions at number 12 after they traded back from number six with the Cardinals.
The 2023 NFL Draft had its fair share of surprises and excitement, with the Texans’ trade to land Stroud and Anderson Jr being one of the biggest moments. With three quarterbacks going in the top four picks and several highly-touted prospects being selected in the first round, fans and experts alike will be closely following the careers of these new NFL players.