The 2023 NFL Draft is just one month away and there is a ton of chatter surrounding many of the top NFL prospects. There are many great defensive prospects in this year’s NFL Draft, so let’s continue our NFL odds series with a prediction for the first defensive player taken in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Will Anderson right now is the odds-on favorite to be the first defensive player off the board. Anderson showed great work at the combine and his pro day to be considered the safest pick to be the first defender off the board.
The good thing about the NFL Draft is that anything can happen. Seeing as Jalen Carter came into this season as one of the nation’s best edge rushers and sought out to be the best defender in this year’s class, the views on him have changed over time due to his legal issues. As those seem to be on the back burner right now, there is a chance that he could still regain that top spot. With that said, let’s take a look at the odds of who will be the first defensive player off the board in this year’s draft.
Here are the 2023 NFL Draft odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
Will Anderson: -350
Jalen Carter +700
Tyree Wilson +700
Christian Gonzalez +1000
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On paper, Will Anderson is the safest defensive pick in this year’s 2023 NFL draft. The Alabama linebacker has been wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines his entire college career. In just five games last year which was an injury-riddled season, he still notched 10 sacks and one interception.
In his last two seasons, he accounted for 27.5 sacks, 162 tackles and one interception. He did good work at the combine and during his pro day. It may not have wowed anyone, but he showed that he was quick and in shape coming into his rookie season.
Jalen Carter was once the favorite to be the first defensive player drafted this year, but off-the-field issues stemming from a fatal car crash have really plummeted his stock. He also didn’t have the best pro day as he came in a bit heavy and looked slower than we normally used to see him. He still has elite talent, though. When in his best form, he can be a difference-maker every time he steps onto the field.
The defensive end from Texas Tech has the intangibles to be a great pass rusher in a few years. Once he has a few years under his belt he will be able to be the on-the-field difference-maker that would thrive at the NFL level. He is a Top-10 prospect in this year’s 2023 NFL draft, so even if he doesn’t go no.1 there is a very good chance that he is going shortly thereafter.
Christian Gonzalez is the premier cornerback in this year’s 2023 NFL Draft. He has elite speed at 4.38 40-time which will have him adapt well to the speed of the NFL. His cover skills are certainly the best in the draft as he was able to corral four interceptions last year. Whoever gets to draft Gonzalez is getting an immediate starting cornerback to help solidify the backend of their defense.
It is hard to go against Will Anderson being the first defensive player to be drafted. He has the elite talent to make an immediate impact on whichever defense gets to have his services. His versatility in run support, rushing the passer, and coverage skills make him the real deal and the safest bet to make a team’s defense better.
First defensive player taken prediction: Will Anderson -350
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