Jacksonville Jaguars – Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a very promising, young offense led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who will be getting a boost with the addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley in 2023. If the Jags truly want to be contenders in the AFC, they must continue developing their defense.
Jacksonville has focused a lot on their front seven in recent years, so I think they need to add to their secondary in the 2023 NFL Draft. Brian Branch is the type of player that can help fill multiple holes with his ability to play both safety and corner.
Defensive coordinator Mike Campbell will have fun coming up with creative ways to deploy Branch, as a rookie and moving forward. Rayshawn Jenkins played well in 2023 and Andre Cisco has shown some promise, but Branch is the sort of player that can reshape a secondary. They will still need another boundary corner to complement Tyson Campbell, but Branch can play in the slot or deep in centerfield and make his presence known on every play.
Tennessee Titans – Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
It seems fairly clear that the writing is on the wall for Derrick Henry’s days in Tennessee. The Titans spent this offseason transforming their roster to be younger and cheaper, and Henry is not likely to fit that mold moving forward, on either front.
If the Titans draft a bruising back in the 2023 NFL Draft like Zach Charbonnet, they could trade Henry to the highest bidder and gain more capital to help reload for the future. No one is Derrick Henry but Derrick Henry, but Charbonnet has the closest style of play in this class. He has what it takes to not just be a bruiser in short-yardage situations, but can be a true number-one, bell-cow back for a run-first offense like the Titans.
Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
All the rumors are saying that the Indianapolis Colts are enamored with Will Levis and may even take him if C.J. Stroud is available. To me, Anthony Richardson is the best fit for Shane Steichen’s offense and what they should try to do.
Richardson has a ton of upside. No one can question that. He has an absolute cannon for an arm and may be the most athletic quarterback the NFL Combine has ever seen. He is an excellent runner but truly has potential as a passer. Sure, he needs to be more consistent with his accuracy and his decision-making, but that should come with time and coaching. All the tools are there for Richardson to be one of the best players in the league, and the front office needs to trust their coaching staff to mold him, similar to how Steichen and the Eagles molded Jalen Hurts into the highest-paid player in NFL history.
Houston Texans – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
Right now, all signs are pointing to the Houston Texans passing on a quarterback at number two overall, likely in favor of an edge rusher for new head coach DeMeco Ryans’ defense. To me, I think it would best to take one of the top two quarterbacks, then address the edge rusher position at pick 12, with Lukas Van Ness.
Van Ness seems like the perfect prospect to fill the Nick Bosa role in Ryans’ defense that he will be bringing over from the San Francisco 49ers. He has impressive size, massive athletic upside, and two years of proven production in the Big Ten.
To me, Van Ness has the potential to be a perfect 4-3 defensive end at the next level. That is exactly what Ryans will be looking for, and why there is some hype that Houston will take Tyree Wilson over Will Anderson Jr. as a better fit for the defense. Van Ness seems like the perfect prospect and would allow the Texans to take a quarterback with the second pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.