Three teams came out of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft as huge winners
Yesterday was like Christmas for NFL Draft junkies as the 2023 NFL Draft finally began. Months and months of prospect evaluations and unhinged draft rumors have led to this event. As teams begin to fill their rosters with young talent, fans and analysts are eager to see who will come out on top in this year’s draft.
While there were many unknowns heading into the draft, there were a few teams that did an impressive job in the first round. Let’s take a look at three teams that “won” the first round and made some great picks.
The Arizona Cardinals made a franchise-altering trade in the top ten
1. The Arizona Cardinals
Heading into the draft, the Arizona Cardinals had the third overall pick but were not interested in making the selection. There were many reports over the last few days that the Cardinals wanted to trade back, and there were reports that they were targeting Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
The Cardinals may have taken Paris Johnson Jr. with the third pick, but they were able to trade back with the Houston Texans for a package including the twelfth pick.
This was a massive haul for the Cardinals as they were able to stay inside the top fifteen picks while also receiving the thirty-third overall pick in this year’s draft and a first and third-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The 2024 first-round pick is immensely valuable because that is the Texans’ first-rounder, which could turn into a top-five pick in a draft featuring elite talents like Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Marvin Harrison Jr.
On the other hand, this was a disastrous trade for the Texans. Using the Draft Tek trade value chart, here’s how much each pick involved in the trade is worth:
Houston Texans Picks
No. 12 Pick: 1,200 points
No. 33 Pick: 580 points
2024 1st Round Pick: 2,600 points*
2024 3rd Round Pick: 265 points*
Total Value: 4,645 points
*Based on the projected 2024 NFL Draft order on NFL Mock Draft Database
Arizona Cardinals Picks
No. 3 Pick: 2,200 points
No. 105 Pick: 84 points
Total Value: 2,284 points
Surplus Value: 2,361 points (equal to the third overall pick)
Based on these trade value numbers, the Arizona Cardinals fleeced the Houston Texans, and it’s not arguable. The amount of surplus value the Cardinals got in this trade is equal to the third overall pick. This means they got way more draft capital than expected, and the draft picks they received were equal to the pick they gave up in the first place.
This trade was a masterclass for Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort, and he will look like a genius if the Cardinals end up with two top-three picks in next year’s draft.
This wasn’t the last move the Cardinals made, though. After moving back to number twelve, the Cardinals traded up with the Detroit Lions for the sixth pick.
After trading back into the top ten, the Cardinals drafted Paris Johnson Jr., the player they were likely targeting the whole time. The Cardinals were the biggest winners of the first for a few reasons. They were able to get a talented prospect they liked who plays a premium position, and they traded down to get him, netting them a future first and third-round pick.
Trades like this don’t happen very often, and it could drastically change the future of the Arizona Cardinals.