While telling the future might be impossible, it didn’t take a psychic to see how special the 2023 NFL Draft class would be. From quarterbacks taken in the first round to a pair of dynamic running backs, elite defensive players, late-round steals and everything in-between, the talent was always undeniably there.
Keep up as Panini offers a recap of what some of these young, budding superstars have been up to.
For starters, we’d be remiss to not mention one of the first five picks of the first round: Anthony Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts (No. 5 overall). Named a starter ahead of the season, he wasted no time living up to the role. His cannon arm and penchant for picking up first downs with his legs is a dynamite combo.
Young’s ability to read the coverage in the blink of an eye, assess and exploit a weakness before the defense knows what hit it has been on full display. Meanwhile, in the AFC South, a couple of youngsters are set to battle for division supremacy for years. Stroud’s pinpoint accuracy to all levels of the field is off the charts, and Richardson’s cannon arm and penchant for picking up first downs with his legs is a dynamite combo.
Staying on the offensive side, we saw two electric backs taken in the first round as well. Jahmyr Gibbs of the Detroit Lions and Bijan Robinson of the Atlanta Falcons have looked exactly as advertised to start their careers. Both playmakers simply need the ball, whether through a handoff or reception, and an inch of space to dash to the end zone.
Remember the late-round steals we mentioned earlier? Well, the perfect example is Puka Nacua. Taken in the fifth round (177th overall) by the Rams, the receiver has established himself as a premier threat in the passing game in Los Angeles. Developing into one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets, he snags anything thrown in his general vicinity and fights for first downs.
Lastly, but certainly not least, let’s wrap things up back in the first round, all the way back to the Texans in the Lone Star State. Take a gander at defensive end Will Anderson Jr., a mighty force coming off the edge. Offensive linemen will have to cope for him for a while and try to keep him from chasing down the quarterback for a drive-busting sack.