2 Days before the NFL Draft, Uncertainty Clouds the First Overall Pick Once Again

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) throws during a NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. © Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK.

When the Carolina Panthers acquired the No. 1 overall pick from the Chicago Bears, it seemed like a foregone conclusion for multiple weeks that C.J. Stroud would be the first overall pick in the draft. However, in recent weeks, Stroud has taken a tumble down draft boards, and it opened the door for Bryce Young to emerge as the new leader.

However, with just two days remaining before the 2023 NFL Draft, uncertainty clouds the No. 1 overall pick once again. The culprit behind this is Kentucky QB Will Levis. Over the past 24 hours, his odds to be selected with the first pick have skyrocketed from 50/1 all the way to 4/1.

First Overall Pick
Mar 3, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (QB08) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

There appears to be a humorous cause behind this rise as well. Early Tuesday morning, a Reddit user made a post claiming that Levis is telling friends and family that he is going to be picked by the Panthers on Thursday.

Is there any truth to these claims? No one can say for sure, but the sportsbooks appear to have taken notice in the hours since. Young remains the overwhelming favorite to be the No. 1 pick on Thursday night, but this rise from Levis is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

The Weirdest and Boldest
Sep 24, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports.

The knocks on Levis as a quarterback are rather similar to those of Anthony Richardson. He hasn’t always been the most accurate passer throughout his collegiate career. However, especially in 2022, this can be blamed on talent around him.

To get a true sense of his talent, go back to 2021 when he was throwing to Wan’Dale Robinson and had Christopher Rodriguez for the entire season. Levis also has many of the same physical gifts as Richardson, even if his athleticism isn’t quite as off-the-charts. The Kentucky QB can extend plays with his legs and also brings some terrific arm strength to the table.

In all, it would still be very surprising to see someone other than Bryce Young become the first overall pick. But even now, with the event just two days away, it seems there is some doubt regarding that spot.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.