Updated November 13, 2023

NFL Draft 2023 Heads to Kansas City, with Largest Stage Ever Built

The NFL Draft makes its first appearance outside of that city’s Union Station,  and the main stage the league employs will be the largest structure ever built for the draft.

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The  new players introduced to the league and the public will have a chance to strut on a stage that is 380 feet wide and 175 feet deep — quite a bit larger than a football field.

The NFL also will use more LED screens than any previous draft with 10,000 square feet of LED panels and displays.

The draft is a three-day affair, and it is by far the biggest of the North American major sports draft shows. It will attract close to 48 million viewers on television and all devices, and football fans will have a chance to watch their teams build and replenish their personnel.

Related: See what the experts say about the upcoming games in our NFL Predictions.

When is the NFL Draft in 2023?

Dates: Thursday, April 27 (Round 1) | Friday, April 28 (Rounds 2-3) | Saturday, April 29 (Rounds 4-7)

Start time: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday) | 7 p.m. ET (Friday) | Noon ET (Saturday)

TV channels: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network

Live stream: fuboTV, ESPN and NFL apps

The draft was essentially a one-day affair throughout much of its history, but the growth of the draft as one of the most popular events on the sporting calendar has turned it into a multi-day event that features the top players in college football and their entrance to the NFL.

The first NFL Draft was held in Philadelphia in 1936. The majority of the drafts that followed were held in New York City through 2014, but other cities including Chicago, Milwaukee, Washington DC and Pittsburgh also served as hosts.

The NFL made the draft a road show beginning in 2015, and host cities since then have included Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Nashville, Cleveland and Las Vegas.

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Who is eligible to be drafted?

According to the NFL, “players must have been out of high school for at least three years and must have used up their college eligibility before the start of the next college football season” in order to become eligible for the draft.

Underclassmen and seniors who have not used all of their college football eligibility can request special permission from the NFL to declare for the draft. In this case, such players are required to submit their requests to the NFL within seven days of the NCAA National Championship.

These exceptions can account for more than 100 athletes in the draft eligible pool. Once a player declares for the NFL Draft, they forfeit the rest of his NCAA eligibility, so the NFL is careful to grant “special eligibility” to only those with true draft day potential.

Draft Order Determination

Teams draft in the opposite order of the final standings of the previous season, with the regular season last-placed finisher drafting first, and the remaining non-playoff qualifiers taking picks 2-20 following the same order.

The teams that did make the playoffs are calculated both by how far into the postseason they advanced in addition to their regular season standings.

Those eliminated in the wild card round take picks 21-24, divisional round picks 25-28 and conference round 29-30. The wild card round loser with the worst regular season record drafts first among those teams, while the wild card loser with the best regular season record drafts last, and so on.

The loser of the Super Bowl receives the 31st pick, with the Super Bowl champion receiving the 32nd and final pick of each round.

In the case of a tie in regular season records, the teams involved will be compared based on the strength of their schedules. The team that played opponents with a collectively higher winning percentage will draft after the team whose opponents had a collectively lower winning percentage.

If teams also had identical strengths of schedule, then it moves into division and then conference records. If this still does not break the tie, or if the teams involved are from different conferences, there are seven additional tiebreakers: head-to-head, win-loss-tie percentage, strength of victories, points scored vs. points allowed, net points per game, total net touchdowns and finally a coin toss.

This year there are 31 first-round selections, as the Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick as a result of an NFL investigation into tampering.

2023 Draft Order

Round 1

1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago)

2. Houston Texans

3. Arizona Cardinals

4. Indianapolis Colts

5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)

6. Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams)

7. Las Vegas Raiders

8. Atlanta Falcons

9. Chicago Bears (from Carolina)

10. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans)

11. Tennessee Titans

12. Houston Texans (from Cleveland)

13. New York Jets

14. New England Patriots

15. Green Bay Packers

16. Washington Commanders

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

18. Detroit Lions

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20. Seattle Seahawks

21. Los Angeles Chargers

22. Baltimore Ravens

23. Minnesota Vikings

24. Jacksonville Jaguars

25. New York Giants

26. Dallas Cowboys

27. Buffalo Bills

28. Cincinnati Bengals

29. New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco through Miami and Denver)

30. Philadelphia Eagles

31. Kansas City Chiefs

Mock Draft

1. Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud has the size, strength and skill to be a dominant quarterback for years. The fact that many others like Bryce Young better should inspire him to find his top gear right away.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Don’t kid yourself, size is an issue here. Young, 5-10 and 201 pounds, is a brilliant athlete and understands the nuances, but he is not always going to be able to get himself out of trouble or see over the top of the defense. The Texans will celebrate many good days with Young, but he may never lead them to the promised land.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

The Cardinals will have the bravado to take Carter, who may very well be the best player in the draft. However, his off-the-field behavior is not to be excused. The Cardinals appear to be a reckless organization at this point, and this will be a disastrous marriage right from the start

4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay recently offered this gem of a statement. “We might draft a quarterback, we might not. We might trade our No. 4 pick, we might not.” Don’t know if he was trying to confuse his competitors, but it seems quite sure that the Colts will draft a quarterback, and Levis has a huge arm and fine athletic skills.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Will Anderson Jr, EDGE, Alabama

Anderson appears to be the pass rusher who will average double-digit sacks every year. The Seahawks may be closer than everyone thinks to returning to glory, and having a major-league threat like Anderson to harass quarterbacks looks like the key to their rise.

6. Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Gonzalez will be a No. 1 cornerback, as he combines height, athleticism and skill that is found in only the best at his position. The Lions need significant help in pass coverage, and Gonzalez has the class and drive to become a star player.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois 

The Raiders could opt for a quarterback, either by trading up or holding onto their position, but the idea of selecting Witherspoon could turn a weakness into a strength. He can handle the best receivers one-on-one and make life much easier for the pass rush.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

The Falcons need to get bigger, stronger and meaner, and Van Ness certainly fills the bill. Van Ness is a polished product and he has a chance to be a player who can contribute right from the start. A remarkably strong grip allows him to take down quarterbacks and running backs just when it looks like they are going to get by him.

9. Chicago Bears: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

The Bears have multiple areas of need, but if they want to give quarterback Justin Fields improved protection, they need to select Skoronski. While it may take a year for him to reach his top form, he has an opportunity to be one of the best in the league at his position in 2-3 years.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

The Eagles fell just short in the Super Bowl, and while there is a thought that they could draft a home run hitter at wide receiver, the thought of bring in Wilson should appeal to Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman. Wilson has the skill level to become a double-digit sacker on a consistent basis.

11. Tennessee Titans: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Richardson has become the darling of the draft season, rising largely because of his athleticism and impressive physical skills as compared to his production during his college career with the Gators. Richardson is this year’s boom or bust candidate, and the Titans are willing to take their shot with a quarterback who has much to prove

12. Houston Texans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

The Texans will draft their quarterback in Young, so they might as well give him the best wide receiver in the draft. Smith-Njigba is a remarkably accomplished receiver who can make the most difficult receptions and accentuate his pass-catching ability with a talent for setting up defensive backs. The Texans change their identity by drafting Young and Smith-Njigba with their first 2 picks.

13. New York Jets: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

The belief is that the Jets will complete a deal with the Green Bay Packers for Aaron Rodgers, and they will try to protect him by drafting Jones. Brilliant ability to move for a big man, and he brings the kind of competitive fire to the Jets that should provide a major upgrade to the offensive line.

14. New England Patriots: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

It’s often tough to get a read on what Bill Belichick is going to do in the draft, but it’s clear his team is lacking playmakers. Flowers had dynamic skills and can be a game-changer, but he is also 5-9 and bigger defensive backs have a chance to overwhelm him. Still, he would have a chance to become the No. 1 receiver for the Patriots.

15. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Since the Packers are clearly turning their offensive unit to Jordan Love, they need to get him a legitimate threat at the wide receiver position. Addison can go downfield and get it, and he has the quickness to get away from tight coverage. He can separate from the defender and run away from him

16. Washington Commanders: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Slowly but surely, Ron Rivera is building a strong defense with the Commanders. The front seven is at a dominant level, but the secondary needs to get better. Banks has superior coverage skills and has the confidence to take on No. 1 receivers.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Wright got the best of Will Anderson Jr. when Tennessee outlasted the Crimson Tide during the 2022 regular season, and there are not many tackles who can say that. He has a chance to be one of the dominant offensive linemen in the league and become one of Mike Tomlin’s favorite players.

18. Detroit Lions: Paris Johnson Jr, OT, Ohio State

While the Detroit defense will take a step up by drafting Gonzalez, it is their offense that will drive the team in 2023. Adding a strong pass blocker like Johnson will go along way to turning the offense into one of the more impressive units in the league.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State 

The Bucs certainly could opt to choose a quarterback like Hendon Hooker of Tennessee, but the addition of Baker Mayfield means that they can make a move on defense. Porter Jr. is tough and physical – much like his father – and he is also a skilled cover man.

20. Seattle Seahawks: Brian Branch, S, Alabama 

The Seahawks can make another key defensive addition after selecting Carter earlier in the first round. Branch demonstrated his ability to shut down receivers from high-profile programs, and he will give Seattle another potential star on defense.

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

The Chargers have to think about building a better defense, but Johnston will give them a young and powerful receiver to go along with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. At 6-3, he can make the play over the defensive back and also separate from the defense.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

The Ravens will be surprised to see a pass-rushing stud like Smith still on the board, and they will not let him pass. Smith can flatten out and get to the quarterback in the blink of an eye.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

The Vikings had an opportunity to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract in the offseason, but they were not willing to make that commitment. They will have the opportunity to draft their quarterback of the future in Hooker. Reports about his return to action after tearing his ACL last year are quite encouraging.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Robinson is a special running back, and he has a chance to be a top-5 player at his position within 2 years. The Jaguars would be wise to give quarterback Trevor Lawrence big-time support by selecting Robinson, who is explosive, fast and multi-talented.

25. New York Giants: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota

The Giants made their statement when they gave quarterback Daniel Jones a huge contract extension in the offseason. Now they have to get him the best protection they can, and selecting Schmitz should provide a step up for the offensive line. He excels as a run blocker and appears to be a player who can start right away.

26. Dallas Cowboys: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

The Cowboys have a major need at the tight end position, so why not select the best tight end in this year’s draft? He is an excellent and aggressive blocker, and he will also push plays to the limit after making the catch because he refuses to go down easily.

27. Buffalo Bills: Bryan Breese, DT Clemson

The Bills may be tempted to find another offensive weapon for quarterback Josh Allen, but they won’t be able to resist selecting Breese. He can overpower interior blockers and quickly get into the backfield. A very instinctive player who has great athletic skills at 6-5 and 298 pounds.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh

This is almost the signature move for the Bengals. Kancey is a fast, aggressive and undersized impact player. The athletic defensive lineman had 14.5 sacks over the last 2 years, and the Bengals believe in him. However, the lack of size at 6-1 and 281 pounds could be an issue for him.

29. New Orleans Saints: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Simpson has a ton of know-how as he excels against the run and also has shown he can be an excellent blitzer. The concern is his lack of size at 235 pounds, but he has eye-catching 4.43 speed. He is a brilliant athlete who could prove to be a difference maker.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

Forbes is a smart, tough and gutsy defensive back with exceptional ball skills. He had six picks last year and he is a threat to take it back all the way when he gets his hands on the football. Size is an issue because he weighed 166 pounds at the Combine, but he has the skills to fit in with the Eagles.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

When you have the best and most dynamic quarterback in the NFL, you have to make sure he has the best protection possible. Patrick Mahomes is that quarterback, and bringing in Harrison will demonstrate Andy Reid’s desire to make sure Mahomes remains upright throughout the season.

Draft News & Notes

The Dolphins lost the 21st overall pick because of tampering by owner Stephen Ross. The Dolphins are one of 3 teams to forfeit their first-round pick, joining the 2008 and 2016 New England Patriots. … The Seahawks have not drafted a QB in the first round since Rick Mirer in 1993. … The Washington Commanders have been in search of a franchise quarterback, having used 12 starting quarterbacks since 2018. …While Bijan Robinson of Texas is the only running back likely to be drafted in the first round, Jahmyr Gibbs of Alabama, Zach Charbonnet of UCLA, Devon Achane of Texas A&M, Tyjae Spears of Tulane and Tank Bigsby of Auburn have a chance to be selected in the second round. … The Rams do not have a first-round pick once again. They have not had one since 2016, and will tie Washington, which failed to select in the first round from 1984 through 1990.

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