One of the biggest surprises from night one of the 2023 NFL Draft was the fall of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, a gunslinger of a prospect many believed could be a top-five pick. So now, as we move into the second day of the draft, Levis is still on the board for any team to take at a good value.
That being said, the three teams with the most obvious and pressing quarterback needs already took signal-callers early in the first round. The Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, and Indianapolis Colts selected Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson, respectively. Any team that might be looking to draft Levis after the first round will be doing so—most likely—looking to the future rather than having him start in 2023.
Fortunately for Levis, there are quite a few teams that would still be great fits for him on Day 2. These are the four that would serve as Levis’ best fits.
Yes, the Seahawks just signed quarterback Geno Smith to an extension after an incredible breakout year that helped bring Seattle to the playoffs. But the way that extension was structured protects the Seahawks from a potential regression to the mean from Smith. If the quarterback takes a step back from his excellent 2022 season, Seattle can cut ties and save nearly $14 million in cap space for 2024.
Head coach Pete Carroll is one of the most trustworthy NFL coaches when it comes to developing quarterback talent and maximizing the skill set of his players. Levis could take most of the 2023 season to learn from Carroll and Smith in Seattle before stepping into a starting role toward the end of the coming season or in 2024.
Los Angeles Rams
Just two years after hoisting a Lombardi Trophy, the Rams are in a position to tear everything down and rebuild. They finished 5-12 in 2022 with quarterback Matt Stafford hampered by injuries all season, and his future, not only with the Rams but in the NFL, is uncertain. To start what feels like an imminent rebuild in Los Angeles, the team could use their first pick of the draft on Levis, grabbing a new offensive cornerstone to build around as they look to the future.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The start of the post-Tom Brady era is bound to be rough for any team, and there’s plenty of uncertainty at the quarterback position this year in Tampa Bay. Baker Mayfield is set to be the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback in 2023, but the one-year contract he’ll be playing on is cheap. Tampa Bay has a good offensive line up front and some excellent pass-catching weapons to work with in the passing offense.
Drafting Levis in the second round gives the Buccaneers a chance to stay in contention should Mayfield stumble out of the gate with his new team. Even if he doesn’t, Levis could get a chance to start later in the season and take over as a starter once Mayfield’s contract is up after 2023.
New England Patriots
Either you have your guy, or you don’t. Is Mac Jones the long-term answer in New England? That will be the question he and the Patriots hope to have answered in 2023. If head coach/general manager Bill Belichick or returning offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien have any doubts about that, especially after Jones’ relationship with the Patriots reportedly has gotten strained, they might look to move on.
Levis has experience playing in a pro-style offense from his time at Kentucky, and if O’Brien especially likes his potential—his strong arm, build, and mobility—more than what Jones brings to New England, the Patriots could pull the trigger for a new franchise quarterback.
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