4 Wacky Draft Theories That Could Become Reality

wacky draft theories
Oct 8, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws the ball in the third quarter of the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Osu22msu Kwr 61

The 2023 NFL Draft begins in just two days, but even as it gets closer, there continues to be great uncertainty surrounding what could actually happen when it begins. Virtually anything could happen, even when the Carolina Panthers go on the clock with the first overall pick, and that is something we haven’t seen from a draft in years. Before the event officially begins, here are 4 wacky draft theories that could flip the event on its head if they become reality.

Houston Passes on C.J. Stroud

wacky draft theories
Nov 19, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If you told someone two weeks ago that C.J. Stroud would be the QB prospect that has to wait to hear his name called, you probably would have been laughed out of the room. However, that has not only become a possibility, but it may be the most likely scenario for Stroud on Thursday night.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen QB Bryce Young become the overwhelming favorite to go first overall, and both EDGE Will Anderson and QB Will Levis jump Stroud for the favorites to go No. 2 to the Texans.

There are a couple reasons for Stroud’s recent fall from grace. Firstly, he’s probably the most boring quarterback prospect in this class. We know what he is as an accurate pocket-passer without much mobility: he’s basically the second-coming of Kirk Cousins. That isn’t as exciting as the allure of an athlete like Anthony Richardson, the Swiss Army knife that is Bryce Young, or even the banana peel-eater, Will Levis.

However, particularly for the Texans, it makes sense that they may be wary of drafting Stroud considering he has the same agent as Deshaun Watson. If Young or even Levis go No. 1 overall, it seems safe to say they won’t be targeting Stroud, opening the door for another team to snag him.

A ‘Surprise’ Team Trades Up for a QB

NFL: Combine
Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo Mensah speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of other teams potentially targeting a QB, an effect of Stroud falling down the draft board could be a surprise team moving up to take a chance on him or one of the other quarterbacks in this draft.

Especially if the Texans pass on a quarterback at No. 2 entirely (or perhaps even trade the pick), the door opens to such a trade occurring. Here are a couple teams to keep an eye on for a QB-focused trade up the board:

  • Tennessee Titans (No. 11)
  • New England Patriots (No. 14)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 19)
  • Minnesota Vikings (No. 23)

Wide Receivers Tumble Down the Board

Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If you look at the reviews of the wide receivers in this year’s draft class, it’s overwhelmingly negative, especially for first-round talent. This is a complete flip from recent years where we’ve seen 5+ receivers go in each draft from 2020-2022.

There is a very good chance that we see receivers tumble down the board as a result, especially with how deep the cornerback position is and with the assumption that four QBs go in the top half of the first round.

If we see this happen, Day 2 could become a gold mine for receivers. While there may not be any Justin Jefferson/Ja’Marr Chase/Garrett Wilson types in this class that revolutionize an offense, there are plenty of players who can impact offenses in a WR2/WR3 role. We could see teams get very productive receivers even outside the top-50 picks.

Positional Value Goes Out the Window

Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) runs the ball. Texas took on Texas Christian University at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on Oct. 2, 2021. © Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK.

This draft class is very weird. As alluded to already, teams don’t seem as sold on typical positions of value like quarterback and wide receiver. We will certainly see plenty of cornerbacks and offensive tackles come off the board in the first round, but the other picks have to be filled by someone.

Well, if we throw positional value out the window, the running back and tight end classes are some of the very best we’ve seen, especially recently. Bijan Robinson is the most obvious name at RB, and it would be shocking to see him fall outside of the first round. However, perhaps we could see someone like Jahmyr Gibbs out of Alabama rise into the first round with his talent.

Then at tight end, there is a group of 4-5 that are bunched at the top. Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer are the two most often discussed as first-round prospects, but others such as Sam LaPorta, Luke Musgrave, and Tyler Kroft could also find their way into the top-50 as well.

If we throw positional value out the window, and simply draft ‘best player available’, there could be some very interesting positions getting love that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.