This is arguably the most dramatic week on the football calendar. On Thursday night, the NFL and college football worlds will become one during the 2023 NFL Draft, as the young stars from college graduate to the next level. The NFL draft is the most important event of the offseason when it comes to roster building, so teams will be aggressive, and maybe some misinformation is purposefully spread along the way.
It's no secret you can't trust everything you hear around this time of year. But at the same time, there are legitimate reports and legitimate developments coming to light too. What stories should we believe, and which ones should we ignore? That's what we're here to discuss, as we break down the biggest draft rumors and either buy or sell them.
All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
Rumor: The Texans won't take a QB at No. 2 overall
While this has been a rumor for about a month now, it's picked up steam over the past couple weeks. In fact, NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah said these "whispers" have evolved into "roars." You look at the odds in Vegas, and they agreed with these rumors for a moment. But now, a surprise quarterback is favored to be drafted No. 2 overall in Kentucky's Will Levis.
The C.J. Stroud storyline has been fascinating to watch. To some, he's the top quarterback in this class. At the very least, I thought he was a consensus top two quarterback. Does he deserve to be falling down mock draft boards? Who is the better pick between him and Levis? Or do you swing for Anthony Richardson's high ceiling? The bottom line is that I believe the Texans need to take a quarterback at No. 2 overall.
If Houston passes on Stroud for example, then the Texans are stating that they believe either Davis Mills or the quarterback they grab later in the draft can be better than Stroud. It's even more than that, though. The Texans are potentially gifting Stroud (or Levis) to the rival Indianapolis Colts at No. 4 overall. So you're telling me the Texans are comfortable not only passing on a top quarterback, but also playing against him two times a year? That's a big decision to make.
The Texans could trade out of the No. 2 spot if an eleventh-hour suitor emerges, but if they stay where they are, I say they draft a quarterback. Reports indicate no one knows what Nick Caserio is going to do, but I'm calling my shot.
Rumor: Tyree Wilson will be drafted over Will Anderson Jr.
Will Anderson Jr. is CBS Sports' No. 1 prospect in this class, yet he won't be going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers. In fact, he may not even be the first player off the board at his position. Some teams apparently like Tyree Wilson out of Texas Tech more. This is a rumor that has , and Peter King of NBC Sports has touched on it multiple times. Apparently DeMeco Ryans could be looking for his Nick Bosa at No. 2, and then there are the Arizona Cardinals at No. 3.
An NFL GM told King, "Tyree Wilson's a swing for the fences. Will Anderson's a solid double." It's not hard to understand why teams are intrigued by Wilson. He's a 6-foot-6, 271-pound monster with a long frame who should be an NFL star. But why are we limiting Anderson's ceiling to a "solid double?" He's probably the cleanest prospect in this class.
I can't say with conviction I'm "selling" this rumor. I don't have evidence to bring to the table to tell you it's smoke and not going to happen. In fact, the opposite is probably more true. There's more evidence indicating Wilson will indeed be drafted before Anderson, even if I disagree with it.
Rumor: Will Levis' stock is rising
With all of the quarterbacks in this class, Levis is the toughest to analyze in my opinion. He's got the size and the arm you want, but he didn't have the kind of production you were hoping for in 2022. Some of that was due to injury and maybe a lack of talent around him, but the bottom line is that Levis has potential. Now, who is going to take a chance on him?
Jaime Eisner of The Draft Network recently said he's heard "loud rumblings" that the Minnesota Vikings are looking to trade up for a quarterback like Levis -- who is as we previously mentioned is the to be selected No. 2 overall. I don't think I'm buying that theory specifically, but I am buying there are teams out there that will consider trading up for Levis. Even if we don't see a big trade early on opening night, the Colts are in need of a new starting quarterback at No. 4 overall, and reports state that their interest in the Kentucky signal-caller is "very real." Who knows? They may even trade up a spot or two for him.
Eisner believes there's a "major disconnect" between how fans and those in the NFL view Levis as a prospect. Just like every year, we will see plenty of these "disconnects" during the course of the draft. Remember when Justin Herbert was a disliked prospect? It didn't take him long to change people's minds. Maybe Levis follows that route with some stability at the next level. I'm not ruling anything out.
I don't know if Levis is going No. 2 overall, but I no longer believe he falls late into the first round like some mocks have suggested.
Rumor: Bijan Robinson will be a top 10 pick
Robinson is CBS Sports' No. 5 prospect in this class, but he plays the position the league doesn't seem to value anymore. The Texas product avoided a whopping 113 tackles last season. That's the most tackles avoided by any FBS player over the past five years! When it comes to him as a prospect, it's also thought he may beat the next level. Bottom line, Robinson has so much potential that he's going to be a first-round pick.
Now, how high he will go on Thursday night remains to be seen. Some believe the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8 overall are a potential landing spot, and the Philadelphia Eagles have been a popular mock destination as well. I say both pass on Robinson, as he falls out of the top 10.
Rumor: Jahmyr Gibbs is a first-round pick
The headline for this year's running back class is Bijan Robinson, but he may not be the only running back taken in the first round. Robinson is considered a lock to be taken on opening night, but Peter King reports there are a few teams in this draft that like Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs over him!
Gibbs was third in the SEC in scrimmage yards last season with 1,370. What stands out about Gibbs as a prospect is his pass-catching ability and how he makes people miss. I already feel sorry for the linebackers that will have to pick him up in coverage. Maybe he's not as "complete" of a back as Robinson, but it's hard not to believe this guy would automatically contribute to your offense.
King continues, saying that Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel would love to trade up into the first round to grab Gibbs if he could. If the Dolphins think of Gibbs that highly, I bet there are a couple other teams that share those feelings as well. Maybe one of those teams has a first-round pick to utilize.
I'm buying this rumor. There are random developments we get late in the draft process every year that end up being true. With how weird this draft feels, and with how many believe it's lacking in overall talent, I can see Gibbs sneaking in at the end of the first round.
Rumor: Trey Lance will be traded during the draft
Last week, it was reported that the San Francisco 49ers had about quarterback Trey Lance. Most automatically assumed the 49ers put this report out there, and are interested in selling the former No. 3 overall pick. Maybe they are, but this doesn't feel like the right time. Brock Purdy is recovering from elbow surgery, and may not be ready to roll Week 1. Sam Darnold is the only other quarterback on roster.
"Absolutely, I expect for Trey to be here," 49ers general manager John Lynch said this week, via Yahoo Sports.
Rumor: This wide receiver class is first-round overrated
Just a couple weeks ago, Jim Nagy, the Executive Director of the Reese's Senior Bowl, tweeted that the NFL as a whole is not as high on this year's wide receiver class as those who make mock drafts are. This report didn't drastically affect mocks, as most still have around four to six wideouts going in the first round, and Caesars Sportsbook is rather sold the number of wideouts taken on Thursday night will be Under 4.5 (-750). Remember last year when virtually all mock draft artists had Malik Willis going in the first round? Oftentimes, things don't go the way our mocks predict they will. Sometimes we are missing key information like what Nagy threw out earlier this month. I'm buying this rumor. Four wideouts at most in the first round.
Rumor: Hendon Hooker will be taken higher than expected
It's appearing more and more likely the Tennessee quarterback will be a Day 1 pick. I can get on board with that, even though I don't think it's a guarantee, but some believe he could be a top 15 pick. That's where I disagree.
The team associated with this rumor is the Texans, although Peter Schrager of NFL Media also recently mocked Hooker to the Tennessee Titans at No. 11 overall. If they pass on a quarterback at No. 2 overall, Hooker could be sitting there for them to scoop. Hooker really is one of the most intriguing prospects in this class. He's 25 years old and coming off of his sixth year of college football, and that maturity reportedly has really shown itself in interviews. Hooker is talented enough to be a starter at the next level, and he's someone who can clearly buy into a system and operate it exactly how the coach envisions. With all that said, I don't think a team is going to reach on him early on Day 1.
I think Hooker will be a first-round pick, but I'm not penciling him in the top 15.