Who will be the first pick in the NFL? Mel Kiper Jr. would bet on Kentucky QB Will Levis

Heading into the summer, Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud appeared to have a significant gap as the top quarterbacks in next year’s NFL draft class. On Thursday, however, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. pitched a new name as the potential No. 1 overall pick: Kentucky quarterback Will Levis.

During an appearance on “Keyshawn, JWill & Max,” Kiper noted that “it’s a three-horse race” now between Young, Stroud and Levis to be the first quarterback off the board, but he gave Levis the lead. That’s quite a jump given that in Kiper’s initial 2023 NFL Draft Big Board in May, the 6-foot-3, 232-pound senior was ranked 22nd overall, rounding out the top five among NFL draft pickers. signals.

“Levis is the guy in an NFL offense in Kentucky that has had some tough times with turnovers. I get it. But he’s in Kentucky,” Kiper said. “The offensive line hasn’t helped him much. He has to work hard for what he does there, and in the NFL, it’s not easy. It’s easy for the quarterbacks who throw and receive. It’s not easy.” in Kentucky, and that will help Will Levis make a quick transition to the NFL.

“If I had to bet on who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, right now, I’d bet on Kentucky’s Will Levis.”

Levis had led the Wildcats to a 4-0 start and to No. 7 in the national rankings before last week’s loss at Ole Miss. He has thrown for 1,405 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in five games, completing 68.8 percent of his passes. Levis has also rushed for a couple of touchdowns, though he did have two fumbles in the final minutes that helped seal Kentucky’s loss to the Rebels.

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A look at the current NFL standings offers a quick insight into why Kiper’s recent comments about the Levis are relevant to Houston Texans fans: The team is currently 0-3-1 and would be scheduled to have the first pick in the 2023 NFL draft. There had been hope heading into the 2022 season that second-year pro Davis Mills could be the Texans’ answer at quarterback going forward, but his early performance this season has thrown that prospect into question.

Mills, who has a 62 percent completion rate, 908 passing yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions this year, has certainly shown flashes of talent this season. However, he has struggled late in games, highlighted by his fourth-quarter quarterback rating of 54.6, which ranks 27th in the NFL.

The Texans have drafted the No. 1 overall player three times in their history. They drafted quarterback David Carr before his inaugural season in 2002, and drafted defensive ends Mario Williams and Jadeveon Clowney, respectively, in 2006 and 2014.

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