2023 NFL Draft: The four biggest reaches of Round 1, including Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell to the Detroit Lions

Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs (1) looks for yards during a game between Tennessee and Alabama in Neyland Stadium, on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. Tennesseevsalabama1015 2519

  • The Detroit Lions reached on both their picks: Detroit took both Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell in the top 20, and both weren’t first-round prospects on PFF’s big board. 
  • The Green Bay Packers needed a pass-catcher but passed yet again: Green Bay extended its streak of not taking a first-round wide receiver or tight end to 21 years.
  • The Houston Texans might’ve just traded away Caleb Williams: By sending their own first-round pick in 2024 to the Arizona Cardinals, Houston might’ve just given up an opportunity to take one of the best quarterback prospects in recent memory.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The first night of the draft has come and gone. Some teams were big winners of Day 1, such as the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles

Others… not so much. Here were the four biggest reaches from the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Both of the Detroit Lions’ first-round picks

The Detroit Lions started off strong by trading back to No. 12, acquiring the 34th and 168th picks for the No. 6 and No. 81 picks in the process. 

How they used both of their top-20 picks though was… puzzling. The Lions spent the 12th pick on Jahmyr Gibbs before spending the No. 18 pick on Jack Campbell. Neither were first-round prospects on PFF’s big board and play two of the least valuable positions in running back and off-ball linebacker. Not to mention, Detroit already rosters both D’Andre Swift and David Montgomery in its backfield. For a franchise looking to take the leap from fringe playoff team to a true contender, Detroit needed to find better value with their premium picks. 

The Atlanta Falcons taking Bijan Robinson No. 8 overall over a defensive player

Robinson wasn’t necessarily a reach at No. 8. He’s arguably the best running back prospect in the PFF College era, beating out Saquon Barkley, who went second overall in 2018.

However, this was a luxury pick for a Falcons team that needs to attack more valuable positions than running back. With that eighth pick, Atlanta could’ve taken someone like Jalen Carter or Christian Gonzalez as it continues to add to a defense that was the third-worst in the league in terms of expected points allowed per play in 2022. Plus, Tyler Allgeier was the fifth highest-graded running back last year as a rookie with an 86.7 mark.

The Green Bay Packers taking Lukas Van Ness No. 13 overall over a pass-catcher

As the Packers move on to the Jordan Love era, they could’ve helped their new signal-caller by taking a wide receiver or tight end with the No. 13 pick. None were taken in the first 12 picks, and Green Bay hadn’t taken a pass-catcher in the first round since 2002. 

Instead, they took Iowa edge defender Lukas Van Ness, who ranked 27th on PFF’s big board. Someone like Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Michael Mayer or Dalton Kincaid could’ve eased the transition for Love as he becomes a starter in his fourth season.

The Houston Texans trading back up to No. 3

On the surface, the Texans had the best haul of the first round by selecting C.J. Stroud with the second pick and Will Anderson Jr. with the third. However, it’s what they gave up to obtain Anderson that leaves a sour taste. 

Houston sent the Arizona Cardinals the No. 12 pick, the No. 33 pick, a first-round pick in 2024 and a third-round pick in 2024 in exchange for the No. 3 and No. 105 picks. The 2024 first-round pick, in particular, makes the trade difficult to swallow. Instead of sending the Cardinals the Cleveland Browns’ selection, which Houston owns from the Deshaun Watson trade, the Texans sent their own. As of now, Houston has the worst odds to win the Super Bowl next year, according to BetMGM Sportsbook (+20000). If the Texans end up as the worst team in the league, they very well could’ve given up the rights to draft Caleb Williams, who could be one of the best quarterback prospects in recent memory.

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