The 2023 NFL Draft got off to a very predictable start on Thursday night when Carolina selected Bryce Young with the first overall pick, but after that, things got kind of crazy.
After the Panthers made their pick, the Texans turned the draft upside down. Not only did they take CJ Stroud with the second overall pick, but they followed that up by acquiring the third overall pick after making a deal with the Cardinals.
By making those two picks, the Texans pulled off an NFL rarity and that’s where we’re going to start with our 13 crazy facts (plus one bonus fact) from the first-round of the draft.
- Texas two-step. The Texans became just the third team in the Super Bowl era to make two of the top three picks in a draft, joining the 1992 Colts and Washington’s 2000 team. By taking Will Anderson third overall, the Texans also became the first team in more than 22 years to draft a defensive player with a top-three pick in back-to-back years (The Browns did it in 2000 and 2001).
- Alabama takes over the draft. Bryce Young helped Alabama make history. The selection of Young gave the school a first overall pick for the first time in the Super Bowl era. Before Young, the highest drafted Alabama player was Cornelius Bennett, who was taken second overall by the Colts in 1987. Thanks to Young and Will Anderson, Alabama had the first offensive player taken and the first defensive player taken in the draft, making them the first school since 1967 (Michigan State) to pull off that feat. Alabama also had at least one first-round pick for the 15th straight season, which is the longest streak for any school in draft history.
- QB spree. The first-round of the draft saw three quarterbacks go in the top-four — Young, Stroud and Anthony Richardson — marking just the fourth time in the Super Bowl era that three quarterbacks have been selected that high. The only other times that has happened came in 1971, 1999 and 2021.
- Running backs rule the day. There were two running backs drafted before a single receiver was taken, which is a rarity in the NFL Draft. Bijan Robinson (eighth overall to the Falcons) and Jahmyr Gibbs (12th overall to the Lions) were both off the board before the first receiver was taken, which was Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who went 20th overall to the Seahawks. Before this year, the last time that happened came in 2010.
- Lions go old school with their draft. After taking Gibbs with the 12th overall pick, the Lions turned around and selected linebacker Jack Campbell with the 18th overall pick. That was notable because it made the Lions the first team since the 1994 Colts to take a running back AND a linebacker in the first-round in the same draft.
- Historical run of receivers. The selection of Smith-Njigba at 20th overall started a run of four straight receivers, marking the first time in the Super Bowl era that four straight receivers had ever been selected in the first round. After Smith-Njigba was drafted, the Chargers took Quentin Johnston with the 21st overall pick, followed by Zay Flowers to the Ravens at 22 and Jordan Addison to the Vikings at 23rd overall.
- Eagles turning into the NFL’s version of Georgia. The Eagles had two first-round picks and they used them both on former UGA players in Jalen Carter (ninth overall) and Nolan Smith (30th overall). With those two picks, the Eagles became just the second team since 1967 to select two defenders from the same school in the first round. The Packers did it in 2022 and they also selected two UGA players.
- Stroud in the clouds. By going second overall, CJ Stroud became the highest drafted quarterback in Ohio State history. Before this year, that mark had been held by Art Schlichter, who went fourth overall to the Colts in 1982.
- Colts keep hunting for a QB. Speaking of Schlichter, he’s one of seven quarterbacks that the Colts have drafted in the top-five in the Super Bowl era, which is more than any other team. Their most recent one came on Thursday with the selection of Anthony Richardson at fourth overall. If Richardson is the Week 1 starter, he’ll be the seventh different opening week QB in seven seasons for Indy, which will tie the Browns, Ravens and Chargers for the longest streak in NFL history.
- Tyree Wilson is the new draft king of Texas Tech. Wilson was selected by the Raiders with the seventh overall pick, which represents the highest a Texas Tech player has ever been drafted, beating out Patrick Mahomes (2017) and Michael Crabtree (2009), who were both selected 10th overall.
- Breaking new ground for Boston College. Zay Flowers is the first receiver from Boston College to ever get selected in the first round. Flowers is also the third receiver the Ravens have taken in the first round since 2019, joining Rashod Bateman and Marquis Brown, who no longer plays for the team. To put that in perspective, the Packers have gone 21 straight drafts without selecting a receiver in the first round.
- Northwestern ends 40 years of futility. Peter Skoronski was taken with the 11th overall pick by the Titans, marking the highest a player out of Northwestern has been selected since 1983 when Chris Hinton went fourth overall to the Broncos.
- Bills end 40-year run of no first-round tight ends. The Bills used their first round pick on Dalton Kincaid, marking the first time that Buffalo has taken a tight end in the opening round since 1983 when they nabbed Tony Hunter with the 12th overall pick.
- BONUS: Small schools get shut out. All 31 players in the first round attended schools in a Power Five conference, marking the first time in the Super Bowl era that a smaller school failed to produce at least one first-round pick