NFL draft: Panthers make Bryce Young first overall pick but Baltimore splash makes headlines
Former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was picked by the Carolina Panthers as the No.1 selection in the 2023 NFL draft, just hours after Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens finally settled on a record-breaking new contract.
The 21-year-old Young, who was awarded the Heisman Trophy for best college player in 2021, had replaced CJ Stroud as favourite to be the first off the board. Ex-Ohio State quarterback Stroud, also 21, was selected second by the Houston Texans in Kansas City, Missouri. The Texans then made a huge play by trading up from the 12th pick to third to take pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. Ex-Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, whose athleticism has drawn comparisons with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, was taken fourth overall by the Indianapolis Colts. But the biggest story on draft day actually involved 26-year-old Jackson, the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 2019. Three hours before the draft started, the Ravens announced they had agreed a new five-year contract with Jackson reportedly worth $260m, which would make him the NFL's highest-paid player less than two weeks after Eales signal caller Jalen Hurts claimed that title. Baltimore have already boosted Jackson's offence by signing free agent Odell Beckham Jr and they added another wide receiver in the draft, claiming dynamic slot Zay Flowers with the 22nd pick. It was thought as many as four quarterbacks could be among the first 10 picks, but the highly-rated Will Levis was kept waiting in the green room on day one. NFL analysts had predicted several draft-day trades in the scramble for the best young players and that certainly came to fruition. There were three among the first nine picks alone, plus the trade Carolina had already agreed last month to move up from ninth to gain the first overall pick from the Chicago Bears. The Philadelphia Eagles, narrowly beaten by the Kansas City Chiefs in a thrilling Super Bowl in February, traded up one spot from 10th to nine to reunite Jalen Carter with two of his former team-mates on the Georgia Bulldogs defence, who they drafted last year. As for the Chiefs, they selected Kansas State Wildcats edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah with the final pick of the round. A total crowd of 300,000 people is expected at this year's draft, with rounds two and three on Friday before the whole event wraps up on Saturday.
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