NFL Draft 2023: How to watch and what to know

College football stars will take their first steps toward becoming professional football stars (or flops) in the 2023 NFL Draft. Expect to hear plenty of the words “Alabama,” “Georgia,” and “Ohio State,” as well as “acceleration,” “physique,” and “football IQ.”

The draft begins Thursday evening and continues on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon from Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri.

First round coverage begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Coverage on Friday, for Rounds 2 and 3, begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN, and Rounds 4 through 7 begins on Saturday at noon on ESPN.

The Chicago Bears’ dismal 3-14 record qualified them as the first pick. But the Bears chose to trade that pick to the Carolina Panthers for a group of four draft picks, including No. 9 overall, wide receiver DJ Moore, 26, who has three career seasons with at least 1,000 yards on catches. Depending on how Carolina’s first-place selection works, and what the Bears do with their block of snaps, a huge trade can turn out to be victory or disaster for either team.

Although they haven’t made an official announcement, the Panthers are widely expected to pick Bryce Young of Alabama, who is considered the best among the solid group of quarterbacks available.

Young is an indisputable leader with an outstanding record leading an Alabama super team. The big question mark is his height: at 5-foot-10, he’s considered shorter than NFL teams usually like quarterbacks.

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The Bears traded the top pick in part because this seemed like a year for the quarterback to finish first, and they’re happy with 24-year-old Justin Fields, who had a stellar performance last season.

Defensive linebacker Jalen Carter helped lead Georgia to back-to-back national titles. But last month, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless driving and racing charges in connection with a car accident after a team championship parade that left two people dead, including a teammate. He was sentenced to probation, a fine, and community service.

While previously a confirmed top pick, the teams concerns over the incident cast some doubt, as did Carter’s poor performance in practice.

Carter could still be picked early if the team decides to look for his undoubted talent. The Seahawks at No. 5 are a potential landing spot. Or he could slip down, as some guys always seem to do on draft day, if teams decide his ability isn’t worth the risk.

All four quarterbacks could fill the top four spots, with three signal callers expected to move up alongside Young: Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson. Richardson is a particularly interesting case, an extremely talented player who some scouts feel has not been able to get the best of that talent yet. It could reach #2 or it could be out of the top ten.

The Houston Texans have the No. 2 and 12 overall picks to try to help turn around a streak that won just 11 games over the past three seasons. Also in a good place are the Seahawks (No. 5 and 20, plus two second-rounders) and the Detroit Lions (No. 6 and 18, two second-rounders).

The Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers probably can’t count on landing a star. They will not draft until the third round.

The Miami Dolphins lost their top pick, who would have come in at #21, after it was revealed that he had “improper contacts” with Tom Brady in two different seasons while he was under contract with other teams.

This is a title given to the last player drafted. Most of these players continue to make little impact in the league. But last year, former Iowa quarterback Brock Purdy, Mr. Irrelevant, challenged his humble recruiting status. After injuries to the 49ers’ Class I and II quarterbacks Tre Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy was given a chance to start. He went 5-0 in the regular season and led the team to the conference championship game.

Remember Purdy before you rush to dismiss your favorite team’s class as bankruptcy.

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