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NFL Draft 2023: Will Levis' slide ends early in second round

Will Levis' NFL draft slide ends early in second round originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Will Levis' draft free-fall has ended.

The Tennessee Titans selected the Kentucky quarterback with the 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft on Friday night. Tennessee moved up eight spots in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals to take Levis.

Levis was widely viewed as a top-10 pick entering the draft, with ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranking him as the second-best quarterback in the class. But after Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson were taken with three of the first four picks, several quarterback-needy teams -- like the Raiders, Falcons, Lions, Commanders, Buccaneers and Titans -- passed on Levis as he shockingly went undrafted in Round 1.

Before any of those other teams had another chance at Levis, the Titans moved up to grab him with the second pick of Round 2. The Titans shipped out the No. 41 pick, No. 72 pick and a 2024 third-rounder to Arizona in exchange for pick Nos. 33 and 81.

Levis joins a long list of big-name quarterback prospects who slid in the draft, with Malik Willis, Johnny Manziel, Geno Smith, Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn and Aaron Rodgers among the notable names from the past two decades. And Levis is now teammates with one of those players.

The Titans took Willis 86th overall last year after he fell into the third round. But Willis didn't show much promise in three starts while filling in for an injured Ryan Tannehill. The veteran Tannehill turns 35 in July and is entering the final year of his deal, creating uncertainty at the position beyond 2023. Tennessee, though, will surely be hoping they just found a long-term answer in Levis.

After transferring from Penn State, Levis started 24 games over two seasons at Kentucky. The Wildcats went 17-7 with Levis under center, as he tallied 5,232 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and 23 interceptions with a 65.7 completion percentage.