Will Levis had a rough Thursday night during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Kentucky quarterback sat and watched as the green room emptied around him. While he seemed in good spirits — and his sister looked like she was having the time of her life — it had to be brutal to fall from a potential top-five pick to out of the first round.
On paper, Levis has everything NFL teams want. He’s 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds with a rocket for an arm. He did struggle with interceptions over the past two seasons at Kentucky and consistency was an issue. That said, he has a ton of tools to work with and plenty of scouts love what he brings.
Levis’ fall shouldn’t last too long on Friday night. There are a number of teams who could use a quarterback and it would be absolutely shocking if he fell out of the second round. Here’s a look at his potential second-round landing spots.
Jared Goff had a nice year in 2022, but he’s only under contract through 2024, and if he falters in 2023, the Lions could look to move on. Adding a young, talented quarterback to develop behind and push Goff would be a lot of sense. The Lions own the 34th and 55th picks.
Matthew Stafford and the Rams struggled mightily in 2022, with the veteran quarterback only suiting up for nine games. Stafford is under contract through 2026, but there’s no guarantee he plays that long. The Rams are thin behind him and the project of developing a young quarterback could appeal to Sean McVay. Los Angeles owns the 36th pick.
Some experts thought the Seahawks would take a quarterback with the fifth pick in the draft, but with the top three guys gone, they went defense, snagging consensus top cornerback Devon Witherspoon. With the 20th pick, the strengthened their receiving corps by landing Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Geno Smith had a breakout year in 2022 and was rewarded with a new contract. But the 32-year-old has never been consistent and that good year could have been an anomaly. The Seahawks could look to protect themselves long-term by adding a wildly talented quarterback on Day 2. They own the 37th and 52nd picks.
After finally letting Derek Carr go, the Raiders signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year deal this offseason but if he doesn’t live up to expectations they can get out of the contract after the first season. They’d take a $18.75 million dead cap hit in that scenario. That’s probably why they were so heavily connected to all of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft. Levis has the kind of measurables the Raiders like, and in Josh McDaniels they have an offensive-minded head coach to mold him. The Raiders have the 38th pick.
The Saints signed Derek Carr to a four-year, $150 million contract this offseason and it was a huge gamble many questioned. Carr is a decent quarterback but committing $100 million in guarnatees to a guy who hasn’t ever won anything was certainly a puzzling decision. While Carr will start, the Saints have never been shy about having a little quarterback competition. Levis would give them that, plus all the tools of a franchise quarterback for the long-term. New Orleans has the 40th selection.
There were rumors the Tennessee Titans were looking to move up in the first round on Thursday to grab Ryan Tannehill’s eventual replacement. That didn’t happen, but it’s clear the Titans are thinking about the future. That makes Levis a fit. Tannehill is entering the final year of his contract, and 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis looked wildly out of place in the NFL as a rookie. Levis is a more conventional choice who could slide right in when Tannehill leaves, running the same offense. The Titans have the 41st pick.
The Commanders’ depth chart at quarterback features Sam Howell, Jacoby Brissett and Jake Fromm. That’s it. It’s no wonder many expected them to take whichever quarterback dropped out of the top 10 Thursday night. They didn’t do that and instead took Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes with the 16th pick. At some point they have to address the quarterback position. Levis would immediately be the best quarterback on Washington’s roster. They own the 47th pick.