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NFL Draft Guide: As usual, QBs are coveted in first round

Apr 23, 2023, 10:43 PM

FILE - Alabama quarterback Bryce Young talks on the field during the NFL football scouting combine ...

FILE - Alabama quarterback Bryce Young talks on the field during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, March 4, 2023. The national high school player of the year as a senior in California went on to become the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner as a sophomore at Alabama. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

The NFL never really stops, so its offseason continues with the draft starting Thursday night.

The Carolina Panthers have the No. 1 overall pick and, as usual, a lot of the hype surrounds the quarterbacks. Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are among the coveted prospects.

The other top athletes include edge rushers such as Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. and Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson. Cornerbacks — including Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez and Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon — are also likely top 10 selections.

Among the draft’s most polarizing prospects is Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. On talent alone, he might warrant a No. 1 selection. But Carter pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors (reckless driving and racing) and was sentenced to a year of probation and community service in March on charges related to an automobile accident that killed a Georgia teammate and football staffer.

Here’s more to know ahead of the NFL draft:

THE BASICS

The draft is a three-day bonanza in Kansas City, Missouri, starting Thursday night.

The first round Thursday starts at 8 p.m. EDT. The second and third rounds are on Friday starting at 7 p.m. EDT. The fourth through seventh rounds are on Saturday starting at 12 p.m. EDT.

The draft can be viewed on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

TOP PICKS

The Panthers have the No. 1 pick in the draft after making a trade with the Chicago Bears.

After that, the Houston Texans select at No. 2, while the Arizona Cardinals are No. 3. The Indianapolis Colts (No. 4) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 5) round out the top 5.

The Panthers are expected to take a quarterback with the top selection. The candidates include Young, Stroud, Levis and Richardson.

QUIET THURSDAY

Not every team has a draft pick in the first round. The Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers will sit the first night out unless they make a trade.

Four of the five teams are out of the first round because of trades. The one exception is the Dolphins. The NFL punished the franchise by taking away its 2023 first-round and 2024 third-round pick after a probe found the team tampered with quarterback Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton.

BIG DRAFT FOR TEs, RBs?

The most loaded position in his draft might just be tight end. The record for tight ends drafted in the first round is three, most recently done in 2017. There is a chance that gets broken and more tight ends go in the first round than wideouts.

Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, Georgia’s Darnell Washington and Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave all have their fans and could be among those selected Thursday night.

The draft could also be a semi-renaissance for the running back spot. Texas’ Bijan Robinson is one of the most coveted prospects at his position in the past decade. Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, Texas A&M’s Devon Achane, UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet and Tulane’s Tyjae Spears are also talented prospects.

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AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi and AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.

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AP NFL: https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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NFL Draft Guide: As usual, QBs are coveted in first round