The first round had a lot of surprises in a draft that was one of the hardest to predict. Players that I see as top prospects and others thought so by consensus have fallen and are still available as we head into day two. Here are my top five best remaining players following the first round of the 2023 NFL draft.
1. CB Joey Porter Jr.
Joey Porter Jr. was ranked eleventh on my personal board, and by consensus was closest to fifteenth on average on large talking heads’ big boards. Someone that could have gone in the first half of the first round is still on the board, a talented corner out of Penn State with a 9.71 Relative Athletic Score. There were talks of him going to the Steelers around the middle of the first round, and now Pittsburgh sits at the top of the first round, where I would not be surprised to see as his landing spot.
2. TE Michael Mayer
Michael Mayer fell through the first round, and was someone I thought could go to several teams in that back half. Mayer was ranked fourteenth on my personal big board, and closest to twentieth on average when it came to consensus. Another player that could have gone in the middle of the first round is sitting there at the top of the second, a tight end out of Notre Dame that seemed to be at least strong across the board in everything you look for at the position.
3. S Brian Branch
Defensive back Brian Branch also fell, who was thought of as a first round pick. He was ranked seventeenth on my personal board and twenty third by consensus, so a valuable player is still available. Brian Branch is a very versatile player that can do just about anything an NFL team asks in the secondary.
4. IOL O’Cyrus Torrence
The start of the second round is about where I saw O’Cyrus Torrence going, but he is still valuable and one of the best players remaining. Torrence can come in and bolster the interior of an offensive line that needs it with the teams selecting at the start of the second round. If his position was more valuable, he may have gone higher, but he was still ranked thirty second on my big board and thirty sixth by consensus.
5. QB Will Levis
After a run to start the draft with three quarterbacks in the top four, Will Levis saw himself fall outside of the first round. I am lower on Will Levis than most, but still had him at twenty ninth on my big board compared to twenty fourth by consensus. Teams that may have thought about him in the first round may still have a shot at him in the second, and with his tools, it is definitely worth the swing.
(The consensus rankings I note are pulled from averaging out three different consensus boards, built by Nick Baumgardner and Austin Mock of The Athletic, Jake Liscow et al, and NFL Mock Draft Data Base.)