The 2023 NFL Draft is here, and the internet is swirling with rumors and speculation as we approach the first pick at 8 PM ET. As always, late buzz has swayed opinions and thought processes on players—some at the top of the draft, others further down—but it’s hard to know for certain which is fact and which is fiction. It is the peak of “silly season”, after all.
We’ve all waded through hundreds of mock drafts at this point, and if you’re reading this, then you’re clearly interested in what happens tonight. SB Nation asked a group of similarly-inclined fans their thoughts on a wide range of draft topics with our Reacts program, and the results are pretty interesting.
For starters, fans are not buying the Bijan Robinson hype in the top 10.
Just 25% of fans surveyed think Bijan will end up drafted in the top 10 picks. To be fair, these results were collected earlier in the week, so the Bijan rumors weren’t swirling quite as strongly around the Falcons at the time. Even so, we’ve connected Bijan to Atlanta for weeks—and I sent him to the Falcons in a mock draft much earlier this month. The pick checks out with general manager Terry Fontenot’s typical approach, and there’s a clear argument for Bijan being the “best player available” at 8 overall.
Of course, there’s also been some late buzz that the Falcons are looking to trade down from 8 and still select Bijan. In that case, he technically wouldn’t be drafted in the top 10. Definitely something to monitor as things get started tonight.
Speaking of getting started, the first overall pick appears pretty obvious to fans.
A whopping 76% of fans surveyed believe that Alabama quarterback Bryce Young will be the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. That steam has been slowly building ever since Carolina made the move up to #1, and seems pretty set-in-stone at this point.
What about another potential top target for Atlanta? Could Georgia’s Jalen Carter wind up falling all the way down to 8?
There are definitely mixed opinions, but a slight majority of fans (51%) believe Carter is going in the top 6 picks. I’d tend to agree: I just can’t see both the Seahawks and Lions passing on Carter’s talent.
Speaking of potential Falcons targets, there’s a significant debate between which cornerback Atlanta might prefer: Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, or Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon? The choice might be made for Atlanta, as there’s significant buzz that one (or both) could be taken in the top 7 picks.
It’s close, but 52% of fans surveyed gave the slight nod to Witherspoon going ahead of Gonzalez on draft night. I’d tend to agree with this, as well. Although Gonzalez has the prototypical size and athleticism advantage, Witherspoon’s tape is much cleaner and his fiery personality is beloved by coaches. Both are worthy top-10 selections, but it may actually be Witherspoon coming off the board first.
What do you think about these draft predictions? Any bold predictions of your own for the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft?
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