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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Seattle Seahawks
Devon Witherspoon (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Seattle Seahawks struck gold, getting a star cornerback and a star wide receiver

3. The Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks entered the draft with the fifth and twentieth picks of the first round. There were rumors that they may target Jalen Carter with their first selection, but there were also rumors that they weren’t interested at all.

The Seahawks decided to go in another direction, selecting Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the fifth pick. This was a surprising pick, as Witherspoon had not been connected to the Seahawks before the draft, but it makes a ton of sense. Witherspoon was the top-ranked corner and fifth-ranked player on the consensus big board, and he and Tariq Woolen give Seattle a scary cornerback duo that they haven’t had in a long time.

With the twentieth pick, the Seahawks scooped up Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Heading into the draft, it was hard to imagine the Seahawks coming away with Smith-Njigba with their second pick because he would have to get past the Titans, Texans, Packers, Patriots, and Jets. Luckily for Seattle, he fell right into their lap.

The Seahawks may have gotten the most talent of any team in the first round. According to the consensus big board, Witherspoon was a top-five player, and Smith-Njigba was a borderline top-ten player. To make that even better, both players play premium positions meaning their value will be extremely high if they succeed.

The Seattle Seahawks used to be extremely confident in their big board, which led to them reaching for players they liked and making bad picks. Their draft philosophy has seemingly changed, though, and over the last two years, they have absolutely crushed the draft. Their general manager John Schneider is quietly becoming one of the better drafters in the league.