The 2023 GZL draft has officially concluded and all the picks have been made. Who were the winners and losers of the draft? Who got the biggest steals and who failed to show up? Read on to find out!
Best Draft: New Orleans Saints
While there were several teams out there with good or great drafts, the Saints absolutely killed it this year. First they traded up to number one overall and grabbed the top prospect in the draft in Tre Deveroux. Given his 6'3" build and freakish athleticism, the Tulane standout should be one of the best defenders in the league for a long time. Then they followed it up with great value at the 12th spot selecting Solomon Thomas out of Stanford. I'm sure Thomas' lack of elite lateral quickness made some teams shy away, but his other skills will no doubt make him a force in both against the pass and the run. With their next pick they came up with what for my money was the biggest steal in the draft in Ajax Glazer. Glazer doesn't have elite potential, he has the potential to be a really good defensive end, and that's great value at the end of the second round. Finally, they put together a trade to secure two additional picks in the third round and selected two athletic offensive lineman that easily have the potential to be above average starters in this league. They only had seven picks in the draft, but I counter five starters, all who can be very good or better. Give it up for Spencer because this was a hell of a way to start his career with the Saints.
Worst Draft: New York Giants
I didn't want to be boring and pick a team who missed picks, and this is the only time I will knock those for the sake of the article, but I also didn't want to give someone this award who didn't really deserve it, so here we are. The Giants GM failed to show up to make any of his selections, and therefore receives this award. It's safe to say they'll be looking for someone else to run the show. Unfortunately this could set the team back years as its tough to stay competitive when you miss out on whole draft classes at a time.
Biggest Steal of the First Round: WR Corey Davis
I also did not want to give myself any awards (and this will again be the only one), but Davis definitely fell further than anyone else on my board. I was considering trading up to the 10-15 range to take him, but feared he could have been gone by then. Davis has the chance to be quite good, and like I said after I selected him I was quite speechless he was still on the board at 24. Garon Conley was also considered for this award as he was a great find where he went.
Biggest Reach of the First Round: FS Budda Baker
There really weren't any terrible picks in the first round this year (at least that were made on time), so this one wasn't the easiest to decide. Still, I was definitely surprised when Baker came off the board so early. I had a second round grade on him due to his height, and was pretty confident that was where he would go. It definitely wasn't the strongest safety class this year, but I can't help but think the Panthers wouldn't have been better off picking up a more talented player at a different position. It's not that Baker isn't skilled, because he is. I just see his height being too big a negative to overcome given all the fast, towering wide receivers in the league to be worth a first round pick.
Biggest Steal of Day Two: DE Ajax Glazer
I've already mentioned the Saints and Ajax Glazer, but that doesn't stop them from picking up a second award. Glazer isn't quite as good as Taco Charlton who went with the 22nd pick of the draft, but he's very similar and was the next best defensive end behind him. For a full round and more to go by before Glazer was picked was simply stunning. Glazer Could theoretically be pumped up to 85 SPD/80 STR/85 ACC which is a good benchmark for DEs to hit. The Saints almost have me wishing I lost a little earlier in the playoffs (almost).
Biggest Reach of Day Two: DE Miles Carponzo
The biggest reach of day two came with the first pick of day two, and boy did it have me scratching my head. If I had not been watching closely I would have surely thought this was a missed pick that was made up two or three rounds later. Compared to Glazer, Carponzo is -3 SPD, -6 STR, -5 AGI, and -7 ACC. He does have 2" on Glazer in height, +7 AWR, and +9 TAK, but that surely does not make up for the differences in physical talent. And, even if you would argue that the progressable attributes are of equal initial value to the physical attributes (which would be hard to do), that's a difference of -21 in physical attributes compared to +16 in progressable attributes. I am still dumbfounded by this one. But hey, maybe he'll pull a Sutton and put up 20 sacks this year.
Feel free to respond with your own picks for each award!