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NFL Draft: Winners or Losers?

Eagles Thrive as Rich Get Richer

The 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone, and now that the dust has settled, we can look at some of the big winners and losers of the event. We won’t know for sure who belongs where until these teams take the field later in the year. But, based on projections and team needs, we have a pretty good idea of who made out like a bandit and who wasted their picks on the wrong prospects.

Philadelphia Eagles – Winners

The Philadelphia Eagles created a unique strategy in the 2022 NFL Draft that they kept alive in 2023. The team decided to prioritize drafting former teammates from the historically good 2021 Georgia Bulldogs defense.

NFL Draft: Winners or Losers?
(L-R) Bryce Young poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell | David eulitt/getty images/afp

The Eagles drafted DT Jalen Carter at No. 9 and Nolan Smith at No. 30 during the first round of Thursday’s draft. They went on to pick up CB Kelee Ringo in the fourth. They also picked up former Bulldogs running back D’Andre Swift from the Detroit Tigers.

Since the 2022 Draft, the Eagles have added five players from that 2001 National Title team. The defense was excellent last season, and the Birds might be onto something with this idea of theirs.

Dallas Cowboys – Losers

According to the big board, the Dallas Cowboys made one good pick in the draft after picking up RB Deuce Vaughn. However, the other Cowboys picks were questionable and considered “negative value” additions.

It’s not that Dallas drafted terrible players, but instead drafted them way too high.

Luke Schoonmaker is a good example. The tight end was ranked 100th on the board, but Dallas took him in the second round with the 58th overall pick. Similarly, the overreach for Mazi Smith in the first round after being ranked 49th.

They picked two guys off the top 300 list entirely in Jalen Brooks and Eric Scott Jr. Maybe the scouts in Dallas see something different than everyone else.

Carolina Panthers – Winners

There was some drama leading up to the draft’s first round when rumors swirled that the Panthers may not take Bryce Young with the No. 1 pick. They would have been at the top of the loser list if that happened.

But, after trading away serious assets to pick first, they ended up with the right quarterback, according to the projections. He offers the best floor/ceiling ratio of any other signal caller in the draft.

The Panthers were nice enough to draft him a target with their second-round pick, getting Ole Miss WR Jonathan Mingo.

Washington Commanders – Losers

In proper Washington football form, the Commanders didn’t make a good pick other than fifth-rounder K.J. Henry. The rest of the draft was a mess, especially reaching to pick Emmanuel Forbes from Mississippi State in the first round. The undersized cornerback was taken 20 ranks higher than expected.

It was the same story in the second round when the Commanders selected Jartavius Martin, one of the biggest players in the draft. Despite ranking outside the top 80, Martin went 47th to the Commanders.

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