Unpopular 2023 NFL Draft Advice: Bryce Young Isn’t Super Safe, No One Should Take A TE In Round 1, And More

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By Webdesk

The 2023 NFL Draft is packed with seemingly unmissable prospects, including Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, the odds-on favorite to become No. 1 in the overall standings, Texas running back Bijan Robinson, a potential top-10 pick, and pass rusher Will Anderson Jr., one of the best defenders in the class. There are also some near-certainties about which positions go where: For example, the Panthers are a virtual slot to select a quarterback with the first pick.

But if history tells us anything, it’s that the draft, like any NFL season, is more unpredictable than not. All it takes is for one team to value a prospect differently than another, and the entire board can be confused.

With that in mind, we polled 12 of our pundits here at CBS Sports and gathered unpopular opinions about the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Love them? Do you hate them? We hope you give them food for thought anyway:

The panelists: Senior Writer Pete Prisco, NFL Draft Writers Chris Trapasso and Josh Edwards, NFL Writers Cody Benjamin, Tyler Sullivan, Jared Dubin, Jeff Kerr and Garrett Podell, NFL Draft Editor Kyle Stackpole, NFL Editors Brett Anderson and Joel Magaraci, and college football writer Tom Fornelli

Bryce Young isn’t super safe (and Anthony Richardson has a high floor)

Bryce young

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Young is great, but certainly comes with a definite risk. He’s a pretty underpowered QB with an average to slightly above average arm who leans on his creativity outside of structure despite not being a highly explosive, big athlete like Kyler Murray. At the very least, Richardson will be a significant threat in the NFL. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s bust-proof. But his athleticism raises his floor quite a bit. — Chris Trapasso

Will Levis deserves more love (and Will Anderson Jr. deserves less)

Will Levis


Will Anderson Jr. is overrated. He’s a good player, but he’s not Von Miller or Derrick Thomas. He doesn’t have the same suddenness as those guys. He was dominated by Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, which is a concern. Will Levis, meanwhile, will be a better pro than people now attribute to him. Tearing him reminds me of Josh Allen’s pre-draft hatred. Levis played with bad players in a terrible system last year and he got injured when he got injections to play. — Peter Prisco

The Texans will not draft a QB with the number 2 pick

Texans GM Nick Caserio


Davis Mills isn’t the long-term answer at QB, we can all agree on that, but the Texans are not in win-now mode and new head coach DeMeco Ryans will have a hard time passing on a potential bummer in Will Anderson Jr. The Texans can always use their other first-rounder (No. 12) in a pack to go up and get one from Will Levis or Anthony Richardson. — Joel Magaraci

Jalen Carter is still a favorite to be taken as the first defensive player

Jalen Carter

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Yes, Carter has dealt with legal issues (which have since been resolved) and some character issues (such as showing up overweight at his Pro Day and struggling with his workout), but he’s still one of, if not the most talented defender in this whole class. With the Cardinals looking to trade the No. 3 spot, there’s a chance QBs will be taken with the first four picks. If that’s the case, the Seahawks, hosting Carter on a top-30 visit, could be confident they can get the best out of Carter and select the standout fifth overall from Georgia. — Kyle Stackpole

No team should have to line up a tight end on Day 1

Michael Mayer


The track record of tight ends in the first round is really, really bad. And with the exception of freaks like Kyle Pitts, players at this position just aren’t producing at a high level on a short enough timeline to warrant the first-round investment. You’re better off shooting on Day 2 or Day 3 and developing a tight ending on a somewhat longer timeline, as most of the players in the position don’t become high-level producers until they get their second contract anyway. — Jared Dubin

Will Levis is almost ready to get into the top 10

Will Levis


What did Will Levis do to be mocked mostly in the top five for three months, then suddenly fall way down the first round in everyone’s latest iteration? He’s a gamble that may or may not work out just like Anthony Richardson, but as he plays QB it’s a gamble worth taking early and I don’t think he’ll get past No. 7. send Levis down. — Bret Anderson

The Lions are very much in the game for a QB

C. J. Stroud


Detroit fans are quick to defend the words of Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes when defending Jared Goff’s job security as QB1. But let’s not ignore the reality: Non-elite veterans — even established veterans who have exceeded expectations — will never prevent an NFL team from exploring an upgrade if it is feasible. The Lions host CJ Stroud and Hendon Hooker in top-30 visits for a reason. With four picks in the first two rounds, they are better positioned than most to add a long-term signaller, no matter how much lip service they pay their current starter. — Cody Benjamin

The Chiefs must trade to take Bijan Robinson

Sesame Robinson


You never see teams trade first round for a running back these days, but Robinson should be the exception for the Chiefs, especially when he falls into his twenties. Putting this generational talent in the backfield of a Patrick Mahomes-led offense that doesn’t allow teams to stack the box is borderline unfair. — Tyler Sullivan

Cam Smith and Cedric Tillman are extremely underrated

Cedric Tillman, No. 4

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Smith, of South Carolina, is no worse than the third-best turn in this draft class and will be a first-round pick. And while Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt has appeared much higher in mocks and big boards all over the internet, his teammate Tillman is the superior player and will be much more productive at the NFL level. — Tom Fornelli

The consensus first round WRs are overrated

Jaxon Smith-Njigba


A wide receiver will be taken outside of Day 1 who has a better NFL career than an opening round receiver. Also, a team will trade the top 10 for a non-QB. — Josh Edwards

The Eagles will not take Bijan Robinson at number 10

Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman


While Bijan Robinson’s visit to Philadelphia is intriguing, it just isn’t happening. The vast majority of the Eagles’ top-30 visits have been on the offensive line, defensive line, and cornerback. While it’s fun to fantasize what the Eagles’ offense would look like with Robinson, it’s just not their way this early in the first round. The Eagles have not fielded a RB in the first round since 1986. — Jeff Kerr

Teams shouldn’t be afraid to field a running back

Jahmyr Gibbs


In the NFL, the prevailing feeling is that you can only have two or three running backs on a rotation, and that’s fine. However, if a legitimate all-purpose weapon like a Bijan Robinson is available, set it up. That doesn’t mean teams should give RBs a second contract, but drafting a real top-shelf playmaker in the first round can put an incredible offensive weapon under five or six years of team control at a relatively low pay. — Garrett Podell

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