The NFL Draft happened. Do you care?
Me neither. But
SEO dictats from Corporate deep, burning passion for the NFL Draft dictate that we tell you who from the Big Ten did well and who didn’t.
Or something. Read on!
Winner: The Northwestern Wildcats
Four Wildcats—Peter Skoronski, Adetomiwa Adebawore, Cam Mitchell, and Evan Hull—heard their names called in the 2023 NFL Draft, the most for Northwestern since 1985. Can’t be a bad thing for OL coach Kurt Anderson or DBs coach Matt McPherson on the recruiting trail to point to the swelling ranks of their position players in the NFL.
Loser: Pat Fitzgerald
1-11 with four NFL Draft picks, huh bud?
Winner: The Houston Texans
Drafting #2 and #3 shows some damn moxie. I believe in rewarding big brass balls.
Loser: The Houston Texans
Some things, though, never change.
Winner: Purdue Boilermakers
5 Draft picks for the first time since 2004. Most in the state. Too bad they are starting over with a new coach. But the new guy is claiming a top 5 pick in Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon so it's not all bad.
Loser: Indiana Hoosiers
0 Draft picks. For those keeping track at home, that makes them one of just seven P5 programs without a player drafted this year and the only FBS program in the state without a draft pick (congrats Ball State). As an added kick to the groin, Iowa State ended their first round draft pick drought on Thursday making Indiana the new reigning champion among P5 programs. The Hoosiers have not had a first round pick since 1994. The next longest drought began in 2008.
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers
Kind of...: Yeah, sure, here’s the Wisconsin homer. But UW had established itself as a pretty damn good feeder of LB talent (T.J. Watt, Joe Schobert, T.J. Edwards, Leo Chenal), and, based on everything I saw, Nick Herbig is in that conversation (okay, T.J. is in a league of his own, but the other three are good NFL players). Steelers got a steal in Herbig.
I also love Keeanu Benton. He went in the second, so can’t call him a steal, but, if they aren’t looking for sacks, Benton will work out really well as a dude who can command attention from the interior linemen and open up room for blitzing LBs (like Watt and Herbig). Given that that’s been Pittsburgh’s recipe for most of the last 50 years, Benton landed in a good spot.
Loser: Joe Tippmann
Kind of...: Oh, sure, THIS time the Jets are really close to be good. I’ll believe that when I see it. What’s more, Tippmann gets to spend his rookie year with Aaron Rodgers’ hands on his ass talking about darkness retreats, conspiracy theories, or whatever the hell he’s moved on to by fall.
Sorry, Joe. You probably have a long career ahead of you, so it should get better later.
Winner: Chase Brown
Kind of...: Joe Mixon is owed about $20 million over the next two years by the Bengals. Joe Mixon continually gets into awkward situations off the field. Either/both of these facts make is pretty likely that Chase Brown will get a chance to prove that he can be the man in the Bengal backfield. Given what Illinois’ offense looked like last year, there seems to be good reason to think that Brown could fall forward for 4.5 ypc when NFL defenses have to account for Chase, Higgins, and Boyd.
Loser: Either the Detroit Lions or the Iowa Hawkeyes, or both
Kind of...: A lot of draftniks thing the Lions reached not once, but twice, on Hawkeyes, taking Jack Campell at #18 and Sam LaPorta at #34 (and that’s after definitely reaching on Jamyr Gibbs at #12). So, yeah, maybe after giving their fan (singular on purpose) hope last year, the Lions are back to their old ways with a draft full of reaches.
But, what if Campbell and LaPorta are both really good? Well, then Iowa has a lot of explaining to do. With Luke Van Ness going #13, only OSU, Alabama, and Georgia had three players come off the board faster than Iowa did. Yet the Hawkeyes couldn’t beat dead-Nebraska-walking at home to clinch the West last year despite having all this talent. I’m sure things will go swimmingly now that the pressure is actually on Brian Ferentz and company.
Winner: Denver Broncos
Kind of...: Fine, I can say something nice about Iowa. The Broncos drafted Riley Moss, and based on Iowa’s history in the secondary, he’s probably going to have a long career in the NFL.
Loser: Michigan Wolverines
Only one draft pick in the first round, whereas...
Winner: Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State had three really high-profile first-round draft picks! Guess where all the five-star recruits are going to want to play now, scrubs!
Winner: Michigan Wolverines
I dunno. Probably? They won the Big Ten or whatever. Your team having all those draft picks just means you wasted a bunch of talent. My team develops players. Or whatever.
Loser: Ohio State Buckeyes
Remember, all those draft picks and nothing to show for it. Fire Ryan Day.
Adam Korsak went undrafted and remains unsigned, and every NFL team is worse for it.
Winners: The New England Patriots and Whoever Drafted Chad Ryland
Except the Patriots, who drafted Baringer (who honestly projects better at an NFL level) and Chad Ryland, so they obviously won the draft.
Winner: Sean Clifford
Drafted in the fifth round by the Green Bay Packers, he has no expectation of getting a starting role any time soon. Clifford’s ceiling is probably a career backup in the NFL, and he’s basically halfway there by putting himself in a situation where competing for the starting job would be well beyond everyone’s wildest imagination.
Losers: Everyone who spent the past four years complaining about Sean Clifford
Suck it losers!
Tell us your winners and losers in the comments.