Four teams reportedly tried to move back into the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, possibly with the intention of drafting Kentucky quarterback Will Levis.
Although former Kentucky Wildcats star Will Levis remains undrafted, he will hear his name called sooner rather than later on Friday night.
While him going in the first round was certainly expected, it just didn’t happen for him. Even if Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker had an outside shot of going top 31 as well, only Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Florida’s Anthony Richardson went in the first round. They all went inside the top four, while Levis sat in the Kansas City green room all night long to no avail.
So when ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported four teams tried to move back into the first round last night but were unsuccessful, this leads us to believe that a market for Levis is manifesting, alright.
Those four teams Fowler mentioned were the Atlanta Falcons, the Los Angeles Rams, the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans. While Atlanta was probably looking to trade up to draft former Georgia star Nolan Smith who went to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 30, the Dirty Birds did bring Levis in for a visit. Los Angeles, New England and Tennessee’s interest seems real.
As for the team to watch potentially making a deal with one of those four, keep an eye on the Pittsburgh Steelers picking at the top of the second round at No. 32 overall. Exciting times, guys!
NFL Draft rumors: 4 potential Will Levis suitors are emerging in second round
Bias aside, I don’t think the Falcons will trade up for Levis at No. 32. They have committed to building the best team around Desmond Ridder as possible. Signing Taylor Heinicke as a high-end backup ensures me of that. Then again, he might be available to them at No. 44. As for the other three teams on the list, I can see why each of them might be potentially in on Levis at this time.
The Rams are picking at No. 36. They might have wanted to move back into the first round to draft Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid more than anything, but Matthew Stafford isn’t getting any younger. He is coming off a injury-riddled season last year. Although Liam Coen went back to Kentucky this offseason, Levis’ former Wildcats offensive coordinator stems from the Sean McVay coaching tree.
New England is not overly sold on Mac Jones. While the Patriots might have an affinity for Bailey Zappe, he is only two years removed from running an Air Raid offense in college. Keep in mind that Levis played in a pro system at Kentucky. Even if he is not 100 percent Patriot material, Bill O’Brien would probably like to have a quarterback who can rifle the pigskin through a cold winter climate.
And as for Tennessee, I think this is the one to watch. The Titans are picking at No. 41, ahead of the Falcons and Patriots, but behind the Rams. They seem to have fallen out of favor with last year’s third-round pick in Malik Willis. Ryan Tannehill is merely a stop-gap at this point. While former Volunteers star Hendon Hooker could be in play here as well, Levis is the better prospect.
Ultimately, I would expect for Levis to hear his name called somewhere in the second round. I am not going to say it will definitely be before the 50th pick, but he is not going into the third round, let alone into day three of the 2023 NFL Draft. He may not be afforded the fifth-year option, but he will go to a team who believes in him and one who will give him a shot at competing for them.
Pittsburgh could stay at No. 32, but you better believe the Steelers are fielding some phone calls.