2023 NFL Draft: The biggest “winners” of the first round

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images) /
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NFL Draft
Jalen Carter, Georgia (Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Philadelphia Eagles hit a two-run home run, securing two top-twenty talents

2. The Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles entered the draft with the tenth and thirtieth picks. There were two players connected to them who people expected them to target inside the top ten: Georgia defenders Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith.

Jalen Carter is arguably the best player in the class, but he slipped due to severe off-the-field issues. Once he made it to the ninth pick, the Eagles called the Chicago Bears to discuss a trade because there were rumors that the Bears were also interested in Carter.

The Eagles ended up trading a fourth-round pick to move up one spot, which is a bit rich but will be worth it if Jalen Carter reaches his ceiling. Trading up for Carter is risky, but the Eagles didn’t have to go far to secure him, and he was potentially the top player on their board. This was a great pick for them.

The Eagles had a second first-round pick at number thirty, but they would have to wait a long time before their second selection. Taking Jalen Carter with the ninth pick meant the Eagles probably lost a chance to draft Nolan Smith and would have to look elsewhere if they wanted an edge rusher.

Luckily for them, the rest of the league passed on him. Five edge rushers went off the board, including Will McDonald IV, before Nolan Smith and the freakishly athletic pass rusher from Athens, Georgia, made it all the way to pick thirty. The Eagles’ front office probably passed out when they realized Smith fell to them, but once they got off the floor, they turned the card in and made him an Eagle.

Nolan Smith was the sixteenth-ranked player and fourth-ranked edge rusher on the consensus big board, so the Eagles getting him with the thirtieth pick is insane value. Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith will make the Eagle’s front seven even scarier and gives them a ton of depth moving forward.

Howie Roseman continues to prove that he is arguably the best general manager in football.