2023 NFL Draft Odds: Young, Stroud, Levis For No. 1 Overall Pick?

Written By Brett Gibbons on February 14, 2023
nfl draft odds

The Chicago Bears are on the clock. The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 27 from Kansas City. With 10 weeks between the end of Super Bowl 57 and the draft, speculation runs rampant with who we’ll see drafted first overall. Will a QB-needy team trade up? If they do, will we see Alabama’s Bryce Young be the first selection? If you have a hunch, DraftKings Sportsbook offers NFL draft odds.

Beware smoke screens and intentionally-misleading information during the NFL Draft process. Teams often plant incorrect information to try and disguise their intentions in the first round.

NFL Draft Odds To Be Picked First Overall

Click on any odds to place a bet on the first pick in the draft below.

(Eastern Time)
CJ Stroud
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Bryce Young
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Anthony Richardson
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Will Levis
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The Bears And The No. 1 Pick

To know who’ll be picked first, you first have to know who will be picking first.

Former Texans coach Lovie Smith gifted his beloved Bears one last present before the 2022 NFL season ended: the first overall pick. Houston’s upset win in Week 18 bumped the Texans to second overall and put the “former” in “former Texans coach.”

But with young QB Justin Fields on the roster, what will the Bears do with the first overall pick? Free agency, which opens March 15, might make this a bit more clear as a dozen teams currently need starting QBs. Perhaps the most widely-believed theory is that the Colts or Seahawks trade up to pick one of the top QBs.

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Indianapolis Colts

Nobody needs a QB in this league more than the Colts do. Newly-hired coach Shane Steichen could use the draft to secure his guy moving forward, and Indianapolis has the draft capital to make the move. It’d likely take more than just picks this year, but Indianapolis has at least one pick in every round.

If the Colts do make the move up to first, expect a serious drop in Kentucky QB Will Levis‘ odds (+500). Steichen worked with the Chargers for seven seasons as the QBs coach and eventual offensive coordinator, working closely with Philip Rivers and rookie Justin Herbert. However, his system with the Eagles suggests the Colts might move to secure a mobile QB, perhaps Florida’s Anthony Richardson later on.

Regardless, Levis’ name has been glued to the Colts all offseason even prior to Steichen’s hire.

Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll’s team has the most draft capital to move in order to jump the Texans. Geno Smith won the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year award, but at 32 years old, it’s clear he’s not the centerpiece to stage a rebuild around.

Thanks to the Russell Wilson trade, this draft is likely the best-positioned Seattle will be without completely tanking a season to take a top QB. Carroll’s window is also closing and this draft makes the most sense to jump up and pick QB1.

Young and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud (+250) would likely be the options here.

Other Suitors

The Panthers and Raiders both have QB as their top need prior to free agency and possess the draft capital to move up to first overall. The Raiders agreed to cut Derek Carr, the last QB the franchise drafted back in 2014. Carolina, however, notoriously doesn’t trade up in drafts.

NFL Draft Odds: Young, Stroud, Or Levis?

Of course, waiting until free agency plays out or waiting for a team to make a trade likely costs you a lot of value on some of these players. As it stands today, there’s not much value betting Young at -130.

There’s no harm in waiting to see how the board plays out to bet Young. A team that trades up will also bring a ton of speculation surrounding the other QBs. A trade in this instance likely only grows Young’s odds.

Stroud makes an interesting case for a bet to be picked first overall. His final two games at Ohio State launched his draft stock, thanks to displayed mobility and the ability to throw off-platform (his top concern). Even more convincing, he threw for nearly 350 yards each against the likes of Michigan and Georgia, two of college football’s most fearsome defenses.

Stroud likely holds an advantage over Young because of concerns surrounding Young’s size. At 6-foot flat and under 200 pounds, concerns still exist surrounding the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner. Whether or not we agree doesn’t matter, in the NFL, measurables and tools reign supreme.

Levis’ odds will likely take the biggest hit waiting for free agency or a trade to play out. Betting him is betting on the Colts (or Raiders) to make that move up to first overall. Another tools guy, Levis has a rocket arm and intangible leadership qualities lauded by NFL scouts. But waiting for Indy to make the move up only shortens his odds, making Levis worth a flier before any pieces move.

NFL Draft Odds: Is A Non-QB Worth A Shot?

There exists a world in which the Bears don’t trade the first overall pick. Some believe Fields could be dealt, since he wasn’t a selection of the new regime, but I don’t buy that.

Instead, Chicago could stay put and draft a true game wrecker on defense. Depending on how free agency plays out, there’s an equal chance Chicago drafts Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter (+650) and Alabama linebacker Will Anderson (+750). DT is a desperate need for the Bears, and the top of the free agency market is laden with veteran talent, like Fletcher Cox.

The Super Bowl runners-up Eagles showed that a couple savvy veterans mixed with a young game-wrecker (Jordan Davis) can turn a defensive front around overnight. It’s not unlikely that Chicago tries to replicate this formula themselves, perhaps with former Eagles, like Cox and Javon Hargrave on the market.

That said, it’s tough to imagine that the Bears would pass up offers for No. 1 knowing those teams trading up likely do so for a QB. Trading back to the fourth or fifth pick still affords them the ability to draft either Carter or Anderson.

NFL Draft First Overall Pick History

2022Travon WalkerEDGEJaguars
2021Trevor LawrenceQBJaguars
2020Joe BurrowQBBengals
2019Kyler MurrayQBCardinals
2018Baker MayfieldQBBrowns
2017Myles GarrettEDGEBrowns
2016Jared GoffQBRams
2015Jameis WinstonQBBuccaneers
2014Jadaveon ClowneyEDGETexans
2013Eric FisherOTChiefs
2012Andrew LuckQBColts
2011Cam NetwonQBPanthers
2010Sam BradfordQBRams

“Premium positions” in the NFL matter. In the draft, QBs, pass rushers, and offensive tackles take precedent over every other position. It’s why every first overall pick dating back to 1997 have been one of those three positions.

Given that strong history, it’s fair to assume that Carter and Anderson (though he could move to pass rusher) likely won’t be picked first overall.

Cornerbacks, interior defensive linemen, and wide receivers fall in afterwards, followed by linebackers, safeties, and interior offensive linemen if some real standouts exist. Running backs recently fall to later rounds even if premium players are around — highlighted by Jonathan Taylor going in the second round in 2020.

This stands the case for Texas’ Bijan Robinson, largely thought to be the next great back in the NFL. However, it’s unlikely we see Robinson go inside the top 16 or perhaps even on Day 1 at all.

A glut of talent might also push draft stock down. This year, it’s namely with receivers. Players like Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who were previously thought to be top-three home runs, now fall to the back of the first in projections due to the competition at the position.

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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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