It may be early for bold NFL Draft takes, but in my mind, it is never too early for bold NFL Draft predictions. Being a month out from the Senior Bowl, two months out from the Combine and nearly 4 months away from the draft, there is a lot of time for narratives and player evaluations to change. Things always feel more locked in than they are, especially before rewatching film or seeing true numbers for athletic testing.
So, I’ll take some bold shots here. And when I go bold, I go bold. These are not for the weak of heart and have a low percentage of being correct, but all could happen with the right set of circumstances. Feel free to hit me up on twitter and voice how insanely wrong I am!
1. Will Levis goes #1 Overall
Alabama’s Bryce Young is the best all around QB in the draft. Ohio State’s CJ Stroud is the best passer. But, that hasn’t stopped NFL teams from making massive mistakes in the past. The smoke around Kentucky QB Will Levis surely means some fire.
Levis is a 5th year player who transferred from Penn State to Kentucky. After flashing NFL talent in an NFL style offense in 2021, he had high expectations coming into 2022. Unfortunately, injuries along with an awful OL led to a really poor season. Despite all of this, Levis is still viewed highly in the class.
I personally don’t see him having a ton of NFL success, but understand the allure. 6’3, 231, with wheels and a big arm who has worked in an NFL style offense means big potential. A team like the Texans could pull the trigger and feel “safer” with Levis over Young and Stroud. It would be a mistake. A huge mistake. But I put nothing past NFL teams. I have sprinkled a slight bet on this as well
2. Jalin Hyatt goes in the Top 12
The hype for the WR class has been with Ohio State’s Jaxson Smith-Njigba, USC’s Jordan Addison, and TCU’s Quentin Johnston. But, Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt had a breaking out against Alabama when he torched the defense for 207 yards and 5 TDs. The 4.2 wheels along with playing in the SEC will endear NFL teams.
Having a true deep threat to keep defenses honest is important in the NFL, and plenty of teams are in need of that type of skillset. Hyatt could shoot up boards to be one of the first two WRs taken in the draft and go Top 12 to the surprise of many.
3. Front 7 defenders make up over half of the Top 15
Rushing the passer is the second most important thing to have on a team outside a top tier QB. Luckily for the NFL, this draft is rich in pass rushers and other front 7 defenders. Players like Alabama’s Will Anderson, Clemson’s Myles Murphy, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson, and Arkansas’ Drew Sanders seem destined for Top 15 capital. But, we could see guys like Georgia’s Nolan Smith, Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey, Florida State’s Jared Verse, or even a few surprises like Army’s Andre Carter/Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness sneak in there.
On top of rushing the passer, there are some guaranteed locks on the DL too. Georgia’s Jalen Carter is a monster, and Clemson’s Bryan Bresee has big upside. Perhaps even one of the top LBs sneaks into the Top 15 as well.
Teams do need OL, playmakers, and of course will take QBs high, but if the CBs and OTs fall a bit, this bold take could come true.
4. 10+ RBs go in the Top 100
The last time this happened was 2008 when 11 RBs went in the Top 100. That class had some talented rushers in Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhell, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Ray Rice, and Jamaal Charles.
Honestly, this class could rival the 2008 group. Not only do we have an elite RB (Bijan Robinson) and another potential first round pick (Jahmyr Gibbs) but the next tier is full of insanely athletic, productive runners. Texas A&M’s Devon Achane and Illinois’ Chase Brown give the right athletic combination to go in the Top 100 while former 5* recruits like Mississippi’s Zach Evans and UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet could go high as well.
But there are plenty of options on the back end of Day 2. Syracuse’s Sean Tucker may have the biggest name, but Auburn’s Tank Bigsby, UAB’s DeWayne McBride, and Texas’ Roschon Johnson all have a good case to fall in there. I even like the upside of TCU’s Kendre Miller, Pitts’ Israel Abanikanda, and Georgia’s Kenny McIntosh to sneak in as role players.
There is a hole at RB in the NFL right now as injuries rack up at the position and teams are realizing they need more than one to get by. Hit those double digits in the first three rounds!
5. Anthony Richardson falls to Round 4
This is the boldest take (and probably wrong) but I think the NFL will generally fall into a lower consensus on Florida QB Anthony Richardson than the general public. Yes, he is big, fast and can rocket it easily. But the passing accuracy is so bad and he is so behind on reading defenses, a deep fall COULD happen. I tend to think SOME team takes the upside earlier, but there is a path to Day 3 for Richardson.
I imagine teams will be very deliberate about putting him on the board and ensuring he can go through progressions enough to feel comfortable. Perhaps he passes with flying colors and shoots up into Round 1, it is possible. It is also equally as possible that Richardson struggles in that portion and falls down the board. Is the electric upside worth a ton of development? Maybe not in a pretty deep class in Round 3.
Ultimately, Richardson remains one of the most divisive prospects of the draft. I do imagine SOME team will fall in love, but as we saw last year, NFL teams are getting smarter about not taking unworthy QBs. This may be another year of it.
Check out more articles here