Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft is in the books. Eric Edholm provides analysis for every player drafted in Rounds 2 and 3 below.
NOTE: Only trades agreed to after Day 1 began are reflected below.
Well, this match was bound to happen one way or another. The son of the former Steelers linebacker great is a different type of player at corner. But his length and athleticism should help a Pittsburgh secondary that has been a bit shorthanded on the outside.
I thought Levis could be a target for Tennessee at No. 11, so this certainly represents a pretty good value here. Whether Levis ever develops to peak form is debatable, but I believe he's landing in a good spot where he can challenge for a starting job this year or next. His athletic ability and arm talent might be a tad bit overhyped, but Levis is mentally and physically tough.
The Lions lacked a receiving talent at tight end following the trade of T.J. Hockenson last season, but that void is now filled. LaPorta didn't put up big numbers at Iowa because of QB issues, but he absolutely could be the second-best TE receiving threat this year, behind Dalton Kincaid. LaPorta plays with Lions-esque passion, too.
Tight end run! Get hyped. We didn't have Mayer as TE4 on our draft bingo card, but the Raiders were smart to trade up and pounce on the most solid prospect at that position. He's not a dominating blocker but competes in that area and is a very good short and intermediate receiver -- perfect for a Jimmy Garoppolo passing game. Mayer could start Day 1.
The Rams select a plug-and-play guard who has center versatility, but was it their biggest need? We're not sure. Still, there is good value with this selection of Avila, who was a favorite of multiple scouts we spoke with during the pre-draft process. He's powerful and blocky but moves better than you might think.
Hall plays with his hair on fire -- just how the Seahawks like their defenders. He can scream off the snap but lacks bendiness. His game is predicated on burst and effort. Hall is a good addition to that remade front.
Interesting that the Falcons are listing him at guard. Bergeron played tackle almost exclusively, but some shortcomings as an edge protector had some teams projecting him inside. This is one of the best run-blocking prospects in this class. Atlanta's first-round pick, running back Bijan Robinson, should be happy.
After the Panthers took QB Bryce Young first overall, it was clear where their attention needed to turn: receiver. Mingo was a late riser and a height-weight-speed prospect whose game is in need of a little more subtlety and polish, but he absolutely can be a big-play option in Carolina. Ole Miss has been a quality WR factory in recent years.
The Saints are making the front seven a priority, as expected, and the highly athletic Foskey is similar to first-rounder Bryan Bresee in that they're both high-motor pursuit players. Foskey isn't that creative a rusher and might not put up boffo sack totals in the NFL, but he could be a quality defender.
The Cardinals were highly active in Round 1, and their approach appears to be paying off. Ojulari was earning some late-Round 1 buzz, so getting him here after so many rushers have gone off the board is terrific. We'll predict that the high-character, edge-bendy Ojulari will outperform rushers picked ahead of him.
After the Packers passed on multiple pass-catching options Thursday, they land a potential Round 1-quality talent who has been beset by injuries. When healthy, he can be a big, highly athletic target for Jordan Love as Love begins his tenure as the Packers' starting QB.
The Jets found their starting center. Bypassing the offensive line in Round 1 was a risky gambit by GM Joe Douglas, but it pays off here with a quality pivot whose mental capacities should stand any tests from Aaron Rodgers. The Jets needed a new starting battery on offense, and they found both parts in Wisconsin. Go figure.
The Colts love big, long, athletic specimens, and Brents fits to a T. The Stephon Gilmore trade opened a starting spot on the outside, and Brents should have every chance to step right in. Brents can be a bit grabby, but he's a long, loose athlete with ball skills. He's an Indianapolis native, too.
Many observers voiced their outrage at Detroit's two first-round picks, but their two second-rounders might reel some of those folks back in. Branch might not have tested like a first-rounder, but his instincts and versatility (ability to play safety and nickel) are high quality. This secondary seems pretty legit all of a sudden.
The Patriots have now made two additions on defense and none on offense. White is a trickier projection as a 24-year-old who's relatively new to defense (he's a converted tight end), but his unusual athletic template -- long and fast -- fits the mold of the type of prospect the Patriots have sought in the draft the past two years.
The Commanders' secondary makeover continues after they took Emmanuel Forbes in Round 1. Martin has experience inside and at outside corner, as well as at deep safety and in the box. His combine workout was terrific and might have bumped him up a round at least. Martin was overshadowed in that Illinois secondary, but he has translatable skills and athleticism.
The Bucs unearthed Ali Marpet at D-III Hobart, so it's no shock they'd be open to taking Mauch, who was dominant at the FCS level. He was a college tackle but is projected inside, possibly as the Day 1 starting right guard. They still need a tackle, but Mauch can help fuel the run game immediately.
The Steelers arguably have addressed their three biggest needs with their first three selections. Mike Tomlin had a front-row seat for the OL-DL one-on-one drills at the Reese's Senior Bowl, and Benton consistently put his best foot forward in those. He's a violent, aggressive attacker with positional versatility along the front.
Reed doesn't hit the typical benchmarks for what the Packers seek at receiver, but he could be a quality option from the slot, as well as a threat as a return man. His injury concerns are something to factor in, but Reed's big-play ability should help diversify this passing game.
The Dolphins enter the chat with a somewhat surprising pick, considering their needs elsewhere. But Smith can shadow Jalen Ramsey on a daily basis and has the tools to become a very good corner in time with more maturity. We assumed the pick might be at an offensive position, but Smith can play.
Do not get between the Seahawks and their running back draft picks. A year after taking Kenneth Walker III in this same round, they double up with Charbonnet this year. Is it overkill? Perhaps. But Walker and Charbonnet could comprise one of the best 1-2 punches in the league, and Charbonnet offers some excellent third-down value, as well.
The Bears passed on the chance to get their 3 technique (Jalen Carter) in Round 1, so they do the deed here. Dexter is a confounding player at times, a massive, long-framed defender who is more of a disruptor than a true playmaker right now. Good coaching could coax out something special.
It's a short drive from USC (and also from Tuipulotu's hometown of Hawthorne, California) to the Chargers' facility, so the relocation costs should be manageable. We think the Chargers would have paid up, given the kind of player Tuipulotu can become. Not yet 21, Tuipulotu thrives on effort and athletic gifts now, but once he becomes more refined, he could be special opposite Joey Bosa.
The Chiefs figured to go receiver early, although this particular selection is interesting. He's not a blazer, has average measurements, was a bit quiet at the Reese's Senior Bowl and might need time to adjust to the demands and expectations of the NFL. But Rice filled up box scores on a weekly basis last season and could do so eventually with Patrick Mahomes, given Rice's outstanding body control and aggressive style.
General manager Ryan Poles nabbed one of our favorite Day 2 prospects in Stevenson, who is a physical, well-built outside corner with some vinegar running through his veins. Chicago wants to keep adding layers to its defense, and Stevenson bolsters a talented young DB room.
The Giants found their likely starting center in a good spot. Schmitz is an ornery blocker who grades out like a lesser Creed Humphrey. This was solid value here.
Dallas has some pretty good options to replace Dalton Schultz in-house already, but it found a two-way option as a blocker and short receiver. Schoonmaker is a bit of a late bloomer, but he's a very solid, complete contributor who rose throughout the pre-draft process.
Adding to the offensive line figured to be on the Bills' agenda on Day 2, and they land a quality run blocker and wide-body who could win a starting job early. His weight issues appear to be in the past, but Torrence's movement skills rate as merely average.
Back-to-back Nittany Lions -- and this one surprises us. Yes, it's a thin year for centers, and two have gone off the board already. But we envisioned Scruggs as a Day 3 pick, given his average athleticism and concerning injury history. That said, his length and smarts give him a chance to make the pick respectable.
The Broncos' first pick under Sean Payton is a receiver, which is interesting, considering how much draft capital the team has used at that spot the past few years. Mims is a good returner and big-play threat from the slot who can give Russell Wilson another downfield option.
Bears' second-rounder Gervon Dexter Sr. is the 3 technique, and Pickens could be the nose. He's not overpowering or dominant in any one facet but is very solid and dependable in the trenches -- also able to slide up and down the line. Pickens and Dexter might not rack up big sack and TFL numbers, but the duo could be good at keeping the linebackers clean.
Steen played exclusively tackle at Vanderbilt and Alabama after switching from defensive line in his redshirt year. But it appears that the Eagles will use him primarily inside, even while Steen offers four-position versatility. He's solid, dependable, strong-handed and able to steer defenders in tighter spaces.
Brown showed out at the Reese's Senior Bowl after living just a bit in his twin brother Chase's shadow at Illinois. Sydney is a rocked-up box safety with good athletic traits and the mentality to cut his teeth on special teams before fully cracking the defensive rotation.
This is an interesting selection, as Sanders could have gone much higher, but his positional projection varied from team to team. Similar to Baron Browning coming out, Sanders is an edge rusher-turned-linebacker who is honing his instincts but boasts rare closing speed and has a nose for the ball.
The Lions didn't hide the fact they wanted to draft a quarterback, and at one point, we mulled the possibility of them taking Hooker late in Round 1 or early in Round 2. So from the value standpoint, it's hard not to love. Hooker's age (25), health (recovering from a torn ACL) and offensive experience in the Vols' up-tempo, spread system make him a challenging evaluation in some respects. But from another perspective, his athleticism, maturity, experience and arm talent could make him the perfect behind-the-scenes developmental QB and possible replacement one day for Jared Goff.
It's going to be interesting to see how the Texans utilize their slew of complementary receivers with C.J. Stroud. Dell's diminutive frame took him out of contention for a few teams, but he's as quick as a hiccup and a real chore to match up against in the slot. He's also a quality return candidate.
Young came on as a senior and maximized his length, toughness and work ethic to make some plays for the Crimson Tide last season. In the NFL, he might be more of a lunchpail contributor than playmaker, but he adds talent to the Raiders' front.
When you consider Alvin Kamara's contract, mileage and off-field issues, it made sense to consider a back here, even with the Saints' backfield being in pretty good shape. But Miller? He's a bit of a curious fit in that he doesn't yet have the third-down ability to replace Kamara and has some similarities, role-wise, to Jamaal Williams (though they have different styles).
The Cardinals are quietly having a nice draft. Williams is a PUP-list candidate coming off a torn ACL, but the mission in Arizona is to accumulate talent. Williams achieves that as a man-cover corner with really intriguing coverage feel and instincts once he's healthy.
There were some who thought Hyatt might be a Round 1 candidate for the Giants, considering their lack of speed at the position. This is solid value early in Round 3. We viewed Hyatt as too much of a one-trick pony to go in the top 40-45 picks, but this is a terrific spot to add a field-tilting talent with decent ball-tracking skill.
Jalin Hyatt's college teammate, Tillman is a more complete, well-rounded receiver at his very best, but he's coming off an injury-plagued year and really only produced one season. Still, his skill set should help the Browns on the outside and in the red zone.
This is almost exactly where we envisioned Harrison coming off the board. He possesses borderline elite traits but might never be a pass-rush maven. Still, the Falcons need edge help, and Harrison could be a good contributor for years.
A classic Patriots safety pick, Mapu profiles very similarly to Kyle Dugger and can contribute on special teams, at safety or as a sub-package linebacker. He's not yet refined but has some fascinating upside.
This Byron Young is quite different from his 'Bama counterpart of the same name, being a 25-year-old edge rusher who spent time away from football in college. He took the long road to success and has the intangibles to make it. If Young struggles at the next level, it won't be for a lack of effort or quickness, but it could be because of his small frame.
Double your pleasure! The Packers can become more of a 12-personnel team with the addition of Luke Musgrave and now Kraft, who might take time to adjust to NFL speed but who absolutely has the frame and athletic skill to make it.
The first time I watched Downs, I had some T.Y. Hilton flashbacks. Downs might not be quite the burner an early-career Hilton was, but Downs' downfield ability can be featured out of the slot. He's also a tough cookie for a 175-pounder.
An athletic wonder, Johnson is not yet the sum of his parts. He played rush end, outside linebacker and even moonlighted as a tight end at Oregon, and it's possible all that position shuffling stunted his growth as a player. We'll see if Carolina can unlock a truly gifted athlete.
It has been a roller-coaster year for Spears. He finished last season on an absolute tear for Tulane, finishing the season by shredding USC, and he dominated at the Reese's Senior Bowl. Injury red flags were raised by some teams over his knee, but Spears possesses the shifty, third-down ability to be special if healthy.
Diaby was a virtual unknown in the scouting community coming into the 2022 college season, and he's a late bloomer after needing to take the long road to achieve college success. But he flashed some fascinating burst and has a chiseled frame that allows him to battle in the trenches. He'll be groomed for a pass-rush role in Tampa.
Achane is a blur in the open field, and he's actually tougher than you'd imagine for his super-small frame -- just check out the LSU game tape for evidence. Can he be more than a change-of-pace weapon? We're not sure, but this appears to be a perfect fit in a backfield committee in Miami.
The Chargers have only been so-so at linebacker recently, but Henley has the skill to perhaps change that. He's an undersized converted tight end (and high-school QB) who is very new to linebacker, but the early returns have been terrific. Henley projects to have four-down versatility in time, with great speed and terrific special-teams makeup.
A classic Ravens value pick for a player who was projected to crack the top 50. Simpson's speed is his superpower, and he closes on the ball in a hurry. His take-on strength is only average and there are some limitations to his game, but he'll contribute in a meaningful way.
His sub-par combine testing likely knocked Brown down a full round, but his football instincts and work ethic should carry him far. Brown's lack of speed could limit his role on defense a bit, and he's guilty of some fly-bys, but his temperament will elevate this defense.
Bigsby is a decisive, two-down runner who could be a perfect complement to Travis Etienne. Although Bigsby isn't a great third-down option now, he can help give this offense another chain-mover.
After transferring from Richmond, Turner didn't start for the Demon Deacons but did lead the team in forced fumbles and earned third-team all-conference honors. With six years of college experience, Turner is overaged and lacks bulk, but in a rotation, he can add energy and decent production with 30-35 snaps a game.
Overshown is a former safety who brings good coverage and blitzing skill to Dallas, which is less than an hour from where he grew up. There might be a limit to his ceiling with a smaller frame, a few injuries in his history and sometimes out-of-control play, but Overshown can be an energy source on defense and special teams.
Buffalo must replace Tremaine Edmunds, and it wouldn't be shocking if Williams and 2022 third-rounder Terrel Bernard are candidates to do so. Williams suffered a broken wrist at the Reese's Senior Bowl and lacks bulk to likely play full-time inside, but his range, pursuit ability and blitzing skill could fit well on this unit.
Morris started as a freshman at Tennessee, but it took until his strong senior season at OU to convince scouts he was fit for the league. We think Morris could be a quality swing tackle and decent starter on either side if he keeps making strides with his technique. Most of the time, it's solid, but he has a few ugly reps on tape, too.
The slide ends for massive Washington, whose health and maturity were thoroughly examined by NFL teams. But if he is healthy and buys in, Washington has the chops to be a fascinating player -- sort of a hybrid offensive tackle/receiving weapon, although his blocking isn't as polished and effective as some would like you to believe.
Health is the biggest question for Wilson, who has missed significant chunks in each of the past three college seasons. At this stage of the draft, he feels like a noble risk. Wilson's natural feel for the position is notable, and his Reese's Senior Bowl showing was a reminder of his playmaking skill when healthy.
Battle appeared to be protecting himself from injury a bit last season, with eyes on the NFL, and it might have influenced where he came off the board. Talent-wise, he isn't anything remarkable, but there are signs of good toughness and football instincts the farther back you go on his tape. Battle also has great big-game experience and is durable, almost never missing snaps.
This feels like a reach for a two-down nose tackle, but there are some interesting traits here. Martin has great mass and surprising length, and he moves surprisingly well for a 340-pounder. His limited arsenal of tools suggests he'll be a rotational player mostly.
Stromberg showed well at the East-West Shrine Game and projects to be a three-position backup to start, with the ability to start at center or guard eventually. He's tough, strong and highly experienced but can get thrown off-balance and lose leverage quickly.
In no way, shape or form did we expect Ika to last this long -- nor did we see him going after Brodric Martin. Despite Ika's limited value as an ox-strong nose tackle, he plays with good stamina and was more of a playmaker prior to last season. This is good value here.
Third-round kicker, DRINK! Moody was the star -- the only star -- for the West Team at the East-West Shrine Game, scoring all 12 points, and he blasted a 59-yarder in the College Football Playoffs. He's not considered an elite deep kicker, and Round 3 is just a tough sell for a player at this position, even for one as talented as Moody.
Tucker has speed to burn, and there's a WR4 role that could be won in time in Vegas. But we're a bit shocked that he went prior to his teammate, Tyler Scott, and wonder whether Tucker will ever project to be more than a low-volume, medium-yield role.
Latu emerged as a red-zone weapon in 2021 and showed a more complete game in 2022, having transitioned from a pass-rushing role early in his 'Bama days. That said, he might only have TE2 potential, with a limited frame and foot speed.
The small-framed Blackmon has a playmaker's mentality, isn't afraid to go for the ball and plays with a physical edge, but he also can be burned by that approach. Perhaps his best future home will be in the slot, although the Vikings could use help throughout the secondary.