We spend months reading up on prospects and looking at mock drafts from all the experts, but when the NFL Draft officially opens on Thursday night, things will happen that no expert saw coming. It happens every year.
In 2021, the Chicago Bears sent two first-round picks and more to the New York Giants to jump up to No. 11 for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears hadn't really been linked to Fields, so the move was a surprise. The Philadelphia Eagles traded two first-round picks to the Dallas Cowboys to move up to No. 10 for Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith. And the Cleveland Browns moved up seven spots in the second round to select Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
2022 saw even more unexpected moves be made, including a couple Browns changing teams (and I don't mean ones from Cleveland). The Baltimore Ravens sent wide receiver Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals, and the Tennessee Titans traded wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles.
So what wild and unexpected things could we see happen this weekend in the 2023 NFL Draft? Here are three bold predictions from fans and my reaction to each one. And as we've seen before, no prediction is too bold to scoff at when it comes to the NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns will NOT trade up; instead, the Browns trade back and/or out of picks to collect assets for 2024 and 2025
With eight selections in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns are in a situation that fans still aren't used to. The Browns simply do not have room on their roster for eight rookies, especially eight rookies who are selected on late Day Two and Day Three.
I could definitely see the Browns electing to use some of their draft capital this year to build a larger collection of assets next year and the following year. In fact, Browns GM Andrew Berry recently made a statement during a press conference that supported this notion.
As quoted by The News-Herald, "I wouldn't say it's a hard and fast rule," Berry told reporters, "But generally speaking, because we look at the draft more through a long-term lens, we probably in general would be more apt to move back than necessarily move up."
It's also important to note that, while Berry has shed some insight on his draft philosophy, the Browns GM has only traded up once in his three drafts with the team.