NFL Hot Press: 2023 NFL Draft Week Rumors Friday

2023 NFL Draft Week Rumors Friday

Updated April 28, 2023
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Draft week is here! With Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft just hours away, here is some of the chatter that is hearing from team sources.

  • Sources with NFL teams were not surprised that Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs went as a top-20 pick, because they viewed Gibbs as one of the few players with an elite grade in the 2023 NFL Draft. Interestingly, sources with the Jets say their team was planning on taking Gibbs with the 15th pick. They felt he was too much of a playmaker to pass on, and he would have been a tremendous receiving back for Aaron Rodgers to work with. Gibbs also is a very good pass blocker who could have helped the aging quarterback. The Jets took Breece Hall in the second round last year, but Hall is coming off a serious injury, and having a potent rushing attack with a two-headed monster would obviously have helped the Jets set up good down-and-distance situations for Rodgers. After the Lions took Gibbs with the 12th pick and the offensive linemen went off the board, the Jets felt that Will McDonald was the best value available and could help them field a dangerous edge rush group.

  • The Falcons are continuing to build an elite offense by selecting Bijan Robinson last night. Many teams had Robinson graded as the best player in the 2023 NFL Draft, and he fits right in with other elite, freakish athlete prospects Atlanta has taken in recent years, like tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Drake London. In speaking with sources, Robinson was the target for Atlanta for quite some time. The only player who may have caused the Falcons to pass on Robinson was Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon. The Falcons loved both Witherspoon and Robinson. The choice was made for Atlanta when Seattle selected Witherspoon at No. 5, but those two players were the top targets for the Falcons.

  • Another player that the Falcons loved was Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. Sources said that Atlanta was interested in trading up from its second-round pick to get Campbell. Additionally, sources with the New York Giants said Campbell was in the running for their first-round pick. If he fell to late in the first round, they were planning on seeing what it would take to move up for Campbell. Multiple team evaluators have said Campbell is similar to former Carolina Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. Detroit snatched up Campbell at No. 18, breaking the hearts of some of the staff with the Falcons and Giants.

  • Two defensive tackles who had a late rise in the pre-draft meetings were Florida’s Gervon Dexter and Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton. Coaches from around the NFL liked the fits that they presented for schemes, with Dexter being a run stuffer possessing athletic upside and Benton having some interior pass-rush potential. The 2023 NFL Draft is not strong at the defensive tackle position, but there are a number of teams that need interior defensive line help. It sounds like both Dexter and Benton could go in the second round tonight.

  • On Monday, we discussed how some teams had medically flunked Georgia tight end Darnell Washington, and he was not alone, as other significant players received medical red flags. Among them is Baylor defensive tackle Siaki Ika. Ika had a shot at being a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but he could slide to the mid-rounds after being flunked medically by some teams. Some franchises have some character concerns with Ika as well. While Ika is a beast against the run, he is viewed as a player who lacks a role in the sub package, so that limits his playing time significantly. Going in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft is probably the best case scenario right now for Ika.