NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft: Ranking 9 Biggest Reaches in This Year’s Class

The 2023 NFL Draft has wrapped up, and like every year there were some head-scratching moves and some clear value picks made. After collecting their thoughts and assessing the fits, The 33rd Team scouting department — comprised of former NFL personnel members — put together a breakdown of the 10 biggest steals and reaches from the 2023 draft.

>> READ: 9 Biggest Draft Steals

Biggest Reaches in 2023 Draft

Lions: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama (No. 12)

So much for the Lions not taking a running back in the first round. Gibbs (scouting report) is an explosive player with the ball in his hands, and the Lions must have a specific plan for him. However, they already signed David Montgomery in free agency, making this a head-scratching move.

Gibbs was the No. 19 overall player on our big board, but the positional value here definitely factors into this pick being considered a clear reach. It is possible Gibbs would have been available for Detroit with one of their later selections.

Jets: Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State (No. 15)

The offensive line was a bigger need for the Jets, but the top linemen were already off the board. The Jets love to roll in pass rushers in waves. McDonald (scouting report) was 30th on our big board, making this a reach considering he likely could have been had later in the draft.

McDonald was an extremely productive player despite being forced to play inside the tackle in some of Iowa State’s three-man fronts at less than 240 pounds. He will need to play stronger against the run, but he gives excellent pursuit and has some athletic upside.

  Lions: Jack Campbell, LB, Detroit Lions (No. 18)

The Lions continued to surprise everyone with this selection. They had premium draft capital, and they squandered it on two non-premium positions. Campbell (scouting report) might be a solid starter with surprising athleticism for his size but with his height, he can struggle to break down in space against smaller, quicker skill players.

We graded Campbell as having starter potential and ranked him as the No. 87 overall prospect. After being taken at 18, he will be expected to start immediately.

  Bucs: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh (No. 19)

Kancey (scouting report) is a disruptive player, but where does he fit in the Buccaneers‘ scheme? This pick just doesn’t make sense given Kancey’s skill set and the Buccaneers 3-4 base front. Perhaps they think Vita Vea can protect him. There is no doubt they needed to bolster their pass rush, but this was not the way. There was hype around Kancey, who was the No. 69 overall player on our big board, but he is not Aaron Donald.

Cowboys: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan (No. 26)

The Cowboys needed to improve the middle of their run defense, so grabbing a defensive tackle makes sense. However, Smith (scouting report) is more of an athlete than a stout run defender. He has high bench press numbers but needs to be better in the run game.

This looks to be a reach for a need for Dallas, as Smith was ranked as our 89th overall prospect.

Saints: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson (No. 29)

The Saints needed to beef up their defensive line after the losses of David Onyemata and Marcus Davenport. Bresee (scouting report) is a high-motor player who did not play as well later in his college career due to injuries.

He showed flashes of athleticism, power and eased some concerns about his game by testing well at the combine, but his injury history and struggles with high pad level make this a roll of the dice for the Saints.

  Rams: Steve Avila, OG, TCU (No. 36)

Avila (scouting report) has positional flexibility with ability to play both center and guard. He is a big, strong lineman who can get movement off the line of scrimmage and locks on defenders with his strong hands. However, he has some athletic limitations and will be exposed in space at times.

The Rams need help on the offensive line, but taking a player we graded as a backup and ranked No. 169 overall is a clear reach here regardless of positional need.

Falcons: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse (No. 38)

With their first pick, the Falcons picked perhaps the most talented player in the draft in Bijan Robinson, and with this pick, they selected an offensive tackle who may be best suited as an offensive guard. Bergeron (scouting report) is big, strong, smart and tough but comes with athletic limitations and will struggle in space against athletic defenders.

The Canadian product has starter potential but we ranked him as the No. 124 overall prospect in the class, making this a clear and obvious reach.

  Broncos: Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma (No. 63)

Mims (scouting report) does not have a top-level trait to hang his hat on. He lacks size and needs to add strength. He has a tight lower body, and his play speed is average. He is a better tester than player, but he does have good hands and overall ball skills.

We had Mims graded as our No. 217 overall prospect and felt his talent was at an NFL practice squad level, making this a clear reach in the second round.

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