2023 NFL Draft: Winners, Losers, and Best Futures to Bet Right Now

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C.J. Gardner-Johnson #23 and Reed Blankenship #32 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrate a play against the San Francisco 49ers on January 29, 2023. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP.

NFL Pick: NFC Championship Winner – Philadelphia Eagles (+300) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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NFC Championship Winner – Philadelphia Eagles (+300)
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The 2023 NFL Draft held plenty of intrigues going in, and it did not disappoint with some teams making stunning, bold moves. Some also made very calculated, logical decisions that follow a good process.

We are going to look at some of the draft winners and losers, and the best futures you should be betting on for your NFL picks now that the wait for the 2023 NFL season is really on with training camps in July up next.

Draft Winners: Pennsylvania Teams (Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles)

The 2023 draft was more than kind to the Keystone State teams.

Steelers Match Talent With Need

The Steelers had their first draft with general manager Omar Khan taking over for Kevin Colbert, and he did not disappoint, selecting Georgia left tackle, Broderick Jones, with the No. 14 pick after moving up from No. 17. It was the first time in 11 years that the Steelers used a first-round pick on the offensive line, a definite need to keep Kenny Pickett upright.

The Steelers also drafted Joey Porter’s son to play cornerback, and the Penn State product was one of the best-rated corners in this class at a position the Steelers have neglected for years. They also were able to get their new nose tackle (Keeanu Benton), and tight end Darnell Washington should be a steal late in the third round as a No. 2 tight end/sixth offensive lineman.

Eagles Add Even More Pass Rush

The Eagles also did a slight trade-up by getting Jalen Carter at No. 9 instead of waiting for their pick at No. 10 to see if anyone would trade for the controversial defensive tackle from Georgia. Some considered him the best defensive talent in the draft, and if any team can get the most out of him, it should be the Eagles with their pass rush that produced 70 sacks last year.

Fletcher Cox is getting near the end of the line, so it makes sense for the Eagles to keep building up the trenches, which have really been the cornerstone of their two recent Super Bowl teams.

Nolan Smith also fell to the Eagles as a No. 30 pick, giving them another player similar to Haason Reddick if things work out well. Between Carter and Smith, the Eagles have beefed up their front-seven rotation once again.

While some thought the team might go for a running back in the first round, it is hard to argue with the strategy they used. Also, the Eagles sent a 2025 fourth-round pick to Detroit for D’Andre Swift, who is a talent if he can stay healthy.

Futures Bet: Should You Take the Eagles to Return to Super Bowl?

Key Facts

  • Eagles return most of the key parts from last year’s Super Bowl roster while also adding more pass rush in the draft.
  • Eagles still have one of the best young coach-quarterback combos in the league in Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts.
  • Offense has retained quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson as the new coordinator to maintain chemistry.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts (with his skill players) gives the Eagles a big leg up over a conference that lost Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, and the San Francisco quarterback situation is up in the air. Are you going to trust Kirk Cousins and the Vikings after all those close wins last year? Can you ever trust Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys in big games?

While the Eagles lost their two main coordinators, neither should sink the ship. The offense also is going to stay about the same with the quarterbacks coach taking over as new play caller. The defense had a Super Bowl to forget with the breakdowns in the fourth quarter anyway.

The Eagles are well-designed to run this NFC for a couple of years until another contender emerges. They are the best pick right now to get back to the Super Bowl.

NFL Pick: NFC Championship Winner – Philadelphia Eagles (+300) at Bovada

Draft Winner: Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens may not blow the league away with their draft choices last week, but April was a huge win for this team as it finally got Lamar Jackson signed to a long-term contract. We can cut out the drama. He is there to stay, but now he just has to focus on staying upright for a full season again.

But the Ravens did make a fine pick in the first round by going with Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers, who was a riser in this process the last few months. He gives the Ravens something different as a slot receiver who should be a high-percentage target for Jackson to go along with his vertical receiver (Rashod Bateman), his shiny new possession receiver (Odell Beckham Jr.), and his favorite tight end (Mark Andrews).

Baltimore’s history of drafting wideouts has been poor, to say the least, but Flowers is a good fit that should present some new opportunities for this passing game that needs to evolve as Jackson starts to lean more on his arm and on-time plays.

Futures Bet: Ravens to Win AFC North

Key Facts

  • Since 2021, the Ravens are 15-9 when Jackson starts and 3-8 when he does not.
  • This will be the most complete receiving corps Jackson has ever played with, and the defense ranked higher than Cincinnati’s did in 2022.
  • New offensive coordinator Todd Monken should be a big improvement over Greg Roman.

The Ravens (+250 at Bovada) are still behind the Cincinnati Bengals (+120) for the best odds of winning the AFC North, but Baltimore very well could have won this division the last two years had Jackson not gotten injured in December. The Ravens could not win a close game to end 2021 after the injury, then the offense went into the tank last season without him.

Still, if not for a fumble on a quarterback sneak at the 1-yard line, the Ravens very well may have upset the Bengals in that Wild Card game. The Bengals’ big offseason addition is Orlando Brown Jr. at left tackle, but he will not make old fans forget about Anthony Munoz any time soon.

You can get after him, and Joe Burrow still has to prove he can get rid of the ball better against quality defenses, and the Ravens ranked higher on defense than the Bengals last year.

New Offensive Coordinator

But the big reason to be excited about Baltimore in 2023 is new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. He was in Tampa Bay in 2018 when Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston combined for 5,358 yards and 36 touchdowns. He then went to Georgia and coached a great attack that was part of back-to-back national championship seasons.

Monken will modernize this offense to get more in sync with passing, he will still use the running game and Jackson’s legs, and it is an impressive collection of skill players with Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, Mark Andrews, Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, Zay Flowers, and Isaiah Likely.

This could be the best offense in the division if everyone stays healthy. After two years of ridiculous injuries, we are going with the Ravens to pull it off and dethrone the Bengals in the AFC North.

NFL Pick: AFC North Winner – Baltimore Ravens (+250) at Bovada

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AFC North Winner – Baltimore Ravens (+250)
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Draft Losers: Dolphins and 49ers

It is hard to bash a team’s draft when it did not have many high picks to use, but sometimes it just highlights past mistakes that are worth criticizing again.

49ers Take a Kicker in the Top 100

While it is understandable that the 49ers have a strong roster, taking a kicker with the 99th pick who is not the second coming of Justin Tucker just feels wrong. Michigan kicker Jake Moody is only the second kicker in the last 15 years to go in the top 100 picks.

Of course, the 49ers did not pick until No. 87 because they traded so many picks for Trey Lance and Christian McCaffrey. One of those moves was smart, but the other is hanging over this organization like a dark cloud because some think Lance is destined to be a backup as long as Brock Purdy is medically cleared for 2023.

The 49ers also reached for a tight end, Cameron Latu (Alabama), whom many thought would be a fifth-round project. When you have George Kittle and he already is fighting for balls with McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk, it does not seem likely that we will see much of Latu here.

Dolphins Barely Tamper With This Draft

If you are wondering why the first round had 31 picks instead of the standard 32 this year, it is because the Dolphins had to forfeit their pick for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton. They also lose a third-round pick next year for that.

That put the draft off to a bad start this year for the team, and they are still waiting to see if Bradley Chubb was a good trade move with Denver, because that was another reason they made just two picks in the first 190 selections this year.

One of their “top picks” was Texas A&M running back Devon Achane in the third round. This is an offense that surprisingly was not great at running the ball last year with Mike McDaniel bringing his version of the vaunted Shanahan system to Miami.

He even tried it with two former 49ers running backs (Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert), but they never seem to stay healthy. Maybe Achane will, but this is supposed to be a system that is plug-and-play with the right offensive linemen in place. The Dolphins had other holes left unfilled.

Futures Bet: Miami to Miss the Playoffs?

Key Facts

  • Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered multiple concussions in the 2022 season and considered retirement.
  • After upsetting the Bills in Week 3, the Dolphins did not beat a single playoff team the rest of the season.
  • The 2022 Dolphins are the ninth team in NFL history to make the playoffs despite a 5-game losing streak during the season.

The Dolphins made the playoffs in Mike McDaniels’ first season, but it was a rollercoaster of a year. There was some definite mismanagement of Tua Tagovailoa’s concussions, a 5-game winning streak against teams that were playing lousy, a 5-game losing streak against better competition, an ugly 11-6 win over the Jets to sneak in as the No. 7 seed, and a spirited effort in Buffalo with a third-string rookie quarterback forced to start.

In all, the Dolphins were 9-8 and both encouraging and discouraging. The problem is the AFC continues to load up with quarterbacks and talent, and what barely qualified for the No. 7 seed may not work this year.

Fight for the Last Three Spots

You have to figure the Chiefs, Bengals, and Bills still have a very good chance of being playoff teams and the class of the AFC. Someone has to win the AFC South, whether it is Jacksonville again or not. That leaves the Dolphins likely battling it out for the last three spots with these teams:

  • Jets with Aaron Rodgers.
  • Steelers with Kenny Pickett no longer being a rookie.
  • Ravens with Lamar Jackson enjoying his new deal and weapons.
  • Chargers with a defense that cannot get any worse after still winning 10 games.
  • Browns with Deshaun Watson getting a full offseason.
  • Broncos with Sean Payton trying to fix Russell Wilson.
  • Never count out Bill Belichick in New England (8-9 last year).

The Jets alone are an easy choice to pick to leapfrog the Dolphins, and even if we do not crown the Bills prematurely, the most reasoned analysis would still rank Buffalo ahead of Miami in 2023 even if McDaniels’ team played them tough all three times.

NFL Pick: To Make the Playoffs – Miami Dolphins/No (+100) at Bovada

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To Make the Playoffs – Miami Dolphins/No (+100)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.