PFT Draft: Biggest winners of 2023 NFL Draft

Mike Florio and Chris Simms evaluate which teams came out on the upside from the 2023 NFL Draft, from the Eagles to the Texans and more.

Video Transcript

- All right, biggest winners of the 2023 Draft, today's Draft, go.

- Well, I mean, come on. I mean, what? We know who won the draft. That's the Philadelphia Eagles.

(SINGING) Fly, Eagles, fly.

We're going to dominate the next freaking decade, the Eagles, that's what they're going to do. But to get the best player in draft at nine? To get, what I would say, the second best natural pass rusher in the draft in Nolan Smith at 30? I mean, are you kidding me? It's just insane what they did.

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And then, yes, to pull off the DeAndre Swift trade, but get a guard that's going to probably be a starter or depth, and we talked about Sydney Brown, the safety from Illinois who's a hell of a football player. You get a Georgia corner, Kelee Ringo, who's a big corner, who ran 4.39. I just-- you can't say enough about what they did in there in Philadelphia. They won the draft.

- I'm going to go with the Houston Texans just because they've been so dysfunctional for so long.

- Yeah.

- And they just needed something to turn the page. And to their credit, look, I think in hindsight, we can say with some degree of confidence-- and all that crap about CJ Stroud was aimed initially at knocking the Texans wobbly and getting them to not take him, and it didn't work. They were resolute. They held firm. They went with CJ Stroud, even though I think others out there wanted him to fall so they could draft him, or trade up to draft him.


They didn't give in. They trade up to get Will Anderson, and it just creates a different vibe right away. That blue helmet looks different. That uniform looks different. Everything about the Texans feels different, and they had the draft assets they could use because of the Deshaun Watson trade, which ended up being a win-win.

One of the narratives floating around, oh, they're not going to mess with CJ Stroud. He's represented by the same guy who represents Deshaun Watson. Hey, they came out of the Watson situation with a bunch of extra stuff that they could use to finally get the players they need to move forward the way they want to.

- Yeah. No. It was. That was a big-time draft, big-time move there to start the draft. And like we kind of said at the start of the show, yeah, it just changes the outlook of your organization altogether. And sometimes, it's that type of bold move that needs to be done to change that vibe. And yeah, that's some bold moves. DeMeco Ryans, hiring him first, and now what they do at pick two and three certainly makes you think about them differently.

Big-time credit for them for what they did in the draft. I'm with you, Mike, there. It's a good pick I think the next one I'm going to go to Seattle, Seattle Seahawks. One, my man crush, Devin Witherspoon, at pick number five, right? But then I think Jackson Smith-Njgiba at 20. One, yeah, not my favorite, but if there's a spot to land in, OK, that's the spot for Jackson Smith-Njgiba. Yes, you got those receivers on the outside. Now you got him working in the middle. Holy cow.


Their other second round pick, Derrick Hall, Mike. You know, again, this is where Darick Hall, wow. I mean, outside linebacker, defensive end from Auburn. See, there were things about him and his pass rush ability that I liked more than Will Anderson. That's why I wasn't big on Will Anderson, but I love that. The running back, Charbonnet, from UCLA, got another guard. I mean, they had a really good draft, Seattle, to build their team and help them right now.

- Pete Carroll, the coach of the Seahawks, was talking on Saturday to reporters about this idea that they look for guys with a chip on their shoulder, and it's just another subset of the overall scouting, but they want guys that are going in there ready to compete, kind of feeling like they've been overlooked, they've been disregarded, and that they have something to prove. You get enough guys like that on your team with something to prove, you're going to win a lot of football games.

- That's right.

- Because they're going to play that way too. I'm going to go with the Colts here just because we've seen them ricochet around aging veteran to aging veteran after the Andrew Luck retirement caught everyone by surprise in 2019 late August. Boom! Then it happened, and it was Jacoby Brissett. It was Philip Rivers. It was Carson Wentz. It was Matt Ryan.


And what do they do? I got to give them credit. If you're going to be wrong, be wrong by commission, not omission. Don't pass on the superstar. Go get him and see what happens. Because if it doesn't work out-- and maybe this is why they're in that mindset. You know what? We've had a lot of veterans that haven't worked out. We know how to deal with quarterbacks that don't work out. Let's get a young guy, and we'll take the chance that maybe he won't work out.

But the upside, he's a guy we've never seen before in Anthony Richardson. He's got skills that could make him a short list franchise quarterback. I like that the Colts, after all this crap they've been through, they take the guy that I really do think they would have taken if they'd had the number one overall pick, Chris.

- Yeah. I don't doubt that. I don't, and good for them. They believed in the guy, and they believe in what he can do and how they can formulate an offense around him. So I'm all for that. That was a big-time move. You're right. A little bit like we were talking about Houston. You need something to kind of jumpstart the organization, get it over the top, whatever it is. That move does that.

I like the rest of the damn draft too. Julius Brent, their second round pick, he's a Seattle defense corner, Seattle 3, right? He's a Richard Sherman-type of guy, really long, press, bail, get out. They got a slot receiver. Blake Frelund, their fourth round pick, the tackle from BYU, he's a starting-caliber tackle, Mike. You know? And then they got the freak, Adetomiwa Adebawore Northwestern, who was the Combine freak who can play D-tackle, D-end, and just be a chaos-creator that way. So yeah, again, I think you and I, we're both pretty big fans of what the Colts and Chris Ballard are doing, and they had a very good draft.


- Let's take a break. We'll do round three, plus our exclusive draft grades for all teams before the show wraps. We'll be back.

- You're funny.


- All right, biggest winners of the 2023 Draft. Two rounds down, one round to go. Christopher, you're up.

- I'll give Green Bay some love here, Mike. Green Bay, I love Lucas Van Ness. They're a team that we've talked about. They need to get bigger and more physical on the defensive line. That helps address that. And then they got two big, really athletic tight ends, who I think can be instant contributors to that department of their football team in Luke Musgrave and Tucker Craft. Jayden Reed, a little slot receiver out of Michigan State. Damn, he's a good player. So they had a good draft, Mike. There's a few other guys I'll throw in there, but we'll save that for another time. Who you got in your third round?

- I'm going to continue the AFC South vibe. It's a division where they're all chasing the Jaguars, and the three teams not the Jaguars came out of it pretty good. If the Titans are going to get Will Levis at the top of round two when they would have taken him at number 11, but a left tackle fell into their laps and they're getting Will Levis at a lot less than what they would have paid him at that amount-- of course, they're going to pay Skoronski that money, the Titans come out of it laying the foundation for a brighter future as they get ready to build a stadium. They went from the one seed to out of the playoffs. Now they can turn it around. By the way, all draft grades incomplete. All 32 exclusive incomplete.