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2023 NFL Hot Takes: Before the Draft

With the NFL Scouting Combine over, all that is left are some private pro days, and each team's judgment to decide what to do during the draft. With free agency looming, and many teams already cutting players to free up cap space, the NFL offseason is just getting started. The chaos of the next 2 months can decide a team's season before it even starts. With all of that being said, here are some pre-draft NFL Hot Takes.

Take #1: Jahmyr Gibbs goes before Bijan Robinson.

Heat Level: 4/10

The speedy Alabama running back, Gibbs, looks to be the next great running back to come out of the university. Robinson is the best running back in the class, with the college production to show for it. He could go mid-first round, but nobody picks running backs in the first round anymore. My case for Gibbs going before Bijan is Gibbs’ blistering 4.36 40-yard dash, and his ability to be a force in the passing game. The Raiders love players with speed, and hold the 38th overall pick, and that very well could be where the first running back lands. The Eagles are another team, sitting at 30th, that could take a running back, since Miles Sanders is expected to leave this offseason. They very well could handpick which back they want, and they may prefer the speed of Gibbs.

Photo: Jenna Watson / Indy Star / USA Today Network

Take 2: Treylon Burks and Chig Okonkwo have breakout seasons and form the best WR-TE duo in the league (besides Deebo-Kittle).

Heat Level: 6/10

Yes, I am a Tennessee Titans fan, but there is a legitimate shot at this happening. With new OC Tim Kelly, the offense looks to get back to what it was in 2020. Kelly over-achieved in 2021 with Houston, somehow getting that offense to be good, and giving them 4 wins with Tyrod Taylor/rookie Davis Mills under center. Burks showed off his big play ability in the horrible offense of the 2022 Tennessee Titans. In a game vs. the Packers, when he went off for 111 yards. Turf toe and a concussion kept him out of 6 games, and Todd Downing being an idiot limited his production. With Kelly, Burks can be similar to what AJ Brown was for Tennessee, a fast, dynamic receiver, who thrives off of play action in a run-first offense. There is a good chance that Big-Play-Trey goes for around 1K yards and 10 TD’s on around just 60 touches. Okonkwo is just a monster and could become a huge matchup nightmare for teams. Being just 6’3”, 238 lbs is small for a tight end, but he has 4.5 40 speed, and is a big play waiting to happen. The Titans love running play-action out of 2 TE sets, and Okonkwo is lethal out of that. Re-signing Auston Hooper, or drafting Georgia’s monster, 6’7”, 270lb Darnell Washington will get Chig many more one-on-one matchups where he can do lots of damage. He had 450 yards on just 32 catches and wasn’t utilized until the 2nd half of the season. With Kelly, Chig could have a monster season with somewhere around 600-700 yards and 7-10 TD’s on limited targets.

Take 3: Trey Lance recovers from injury to lead the 49ers to the #1 seed.

Heat Level: 5/10

The 49ers have an offense that basically anybody could run and they would be a wildcard team. With a top-5 defense, and weapons like Kittle, Deebo, Aiyuk, and Christian McCaffery, anybody could succeed. But they want to win a Super Bowl. So in 2021, they traded multiple first-round picks to trade up and get NDSU’s raw, dynamic QB, Trey Lance. He sat behind Jimmy G his rookie year, and it looked like Lance would get his shot in his second year, but he broke his ankle in week 2, and never got an opportunity. With Mr. Relevant Brock Purdy out with Tommy John surgery for all of the offseason, and possibly a small chunk of the regular season as well, it seems like Lance can get his shot if he recovers from ankle surgery. People seem to write Lance off already, but I am not. He is still only 22 years of age, has had two years to ingest the complex Kyle Shanahan offense, and has raw playmaking ability that many QB’s don’t have. He has a rocket of an arm, and the speed to escape the pocket when needed to make plays that a Niners QB hasn’t made in a while. If he receivers well, I see nobody beating him out. Lance will be the starter, and will have a breakout 3rd season, leading the Niners to the #1 seed in the NFC.

Photo: Michael Owens / Getty Images

Take 4: The Bengals run out of money, trade Tee Higgins, and regress to a 2nd place finish.

Heat Level: 10/10

The Bengals have quietly built a dangerous offense, in the shadows of the Bills, Chiefs, Niners, and Eagles. Joe Burrow is eligible for a contract extension and is their number-one priority this offseason. Superstar receiver Ja'marr Chase is eligible next year, and tight end Hayden Hurst is a free agent, after having a breakout year with Cincy. But star wideout Tee Higgins, came into his own in his 3rd year, stepping in as a number one receiver when Chase was hurt. He enters this year on the final year of his rookie deal, and without a doubt wants to get paid. Despite having a lot of cap space (as of now they have around $36 million), the Bengals could be the next team to trade a star receiver. Recently teams have traded for a proven #1 WR, and that has drastically improved their young QB’s development. AJ Brown made Jalen Hurts an MVP runner-up a year after people said he should be traded. Tyreek Hill made Tua look like a top-10 QB before all of the scary con concussions he had. Stefon Diggs turned Josh Allen into a top-5 signal caller after 2 seasons of wildly inconsistent play. Teams like the Texans, Titans, Patriots, and Giants desperately need a premier pass catcher to aid their QB. Given the right price, Higgins could be on the move. Burrow is a must-have for the Bengals, and Hurst should also be re-signed. While Higgins wants to stay in Cincinnati, the Bengals may end up in a scary situation where they have to choose between Higgins, Chase, or keeping their defense somewhat intact, because there is no way that all three can stay in Cincinnati.

Take 5: Draft prospect Will Levis stops putting mayo in his coffee, and drinks a glass of milk.

Heat Level:∞/10

Yeah, there is no way this happens. Levis, the cannon-armed QB from the University of Kentucky, not only puts mayonnaise in his coffee, but is deathly afraid of milk and will apparently start screaming if he sees the dairy product. If that doesn’t seem odd, he eats his bananas without peeling them. Whatever works for you, I guess.


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