The NFL Draft is the biggest part of the talent acquisition portion of the offseason, and it becomes increasingly vital each year as massive quarterback contracts lead to teams looking for cheaper production in the draft. It is not the first stage of the talent acquisition period, however. Trades and free agent signings in March have a sizable impact on how teams approach the NFL Draft.
Here are some of the biggest moves that will shape action this week at the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City:
Aaron Rodgers trade
Green Bay and New York finally completed the deal, sending the future Hall of Famer to the Jets earlier this week. The Packers are moving on, and collected some draft compensation in return for Rodgers. The Jets have been making moves -- like the signing of wide receiver Allen Lazard and trade of Elijah Moore -- ahead of Rodgers joining the roster, so there is no reason to think their draft strategy would be any different when it comes to building around their new star QB.
Carolina trading up to No. 1 overall
The draft impact is pretty obvious considering a new team moved into the pick and ensured that a quarterback would be taken No. 1 overall. However, there were other ramifications as part of the move. Chicago acquired veteran wide receiver DJ Moore as part of the deal, which allowed the franchise to address one of its biggest needs before reaching draft night. The Bears now have additional draft resources to address other needs, such as offensive line, edge rusher and defensive tackle.
Las Vegas releases Derek Carr
The NFL landscape essentially knew that Las Vegas would be parting ways with Carr during the season, but the move did not become official until after the season. Although they signed Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency, the team is still considered one of the most likely teams to select a quarterback in the draft later this month. Do the Raiders need to become aggressive to guarantee they are in position to select one of those top quarterbacks, however? A trade up to No. 3 overall is still on the table.
Head coach Sean Payton dealt to Denver
It has been a wild year for both New Orleans and Denver. The Saints traded their own first-round pick to Philadelphia in order to add a second first-round selection in last year's draft. The Broncos traded their own first-round selection to Seattle for quarterback Russell Wilson. Denver then received a first-round pick for edge rusher Bradley Chubb, but traded it to New Orleans for Payton.
The Broncos signing of right tackle Mike McGlinchey would have been on the list, but San Francisco does not have a draft pick in the first two rounds. The 49ers need to address the offensive line in a big way.
Philadelphia re-signs James Bradberry and Darius Slay
It was a wild week in March when the team was poised to allow Bradberry to walk in free agency and then Slay declared he wanted a trade. Bradberry was re-signed during the uncertainty of Slay's future, and the latter returned on an adjusted deal. Cornerback has not been removed from consideration, but one would think it is now below offensive and defensive line depth in the pecking order.
The Eagles did lose several other veterans in free agency, including safeties Marcus Epps and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, running back Miles Sanders and linebacker T.J. Edwards.
Pick Six Newsletter
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Vikings release WR Adam Thielen
It had been assumed Minnesota would be moving on from Thielen sooner rather than later, but his presence meant that the franchise had a compliment to Justin Jefferson. Without Thielen, the team is left with a collection of Jalen Reagor, Jalen Nailor and K.J. Osborn. Wide receiver has to be high on the list of positional needs in Minneapolis.
Odell Beckham Jr. signs with the Ravens
General manager Eric DeCosta was vocal about the wide receivers not living up to expectations. While the signing of Beckham does not rule out the possibility of selecting a wide receiver in the first round, it drastically lowers the odds. Beckham, when healthy, is the best wide receiver that Jackson has had since coming into the league. The LSU product is not a perfect compliment to Rashod Bateman, but they just needed to get additional talent in that room.
Washington signs OT Andrew Wylie
Offensive tackle and cornerback were viewed as the biggest needs for the Commanders, with most fans supporting the idea that a lineman should be added. The signing of the right tackle from Kansas City opens the board up a bit for the NFC franchise. They can take one of the top cornerbacks if they choose and the teens are where a run on the position is expected to occur.
- Indianapolis releasing quarterback Matt Ryan did not make the list because the Colts likely would have been projected to take a rookie quarterback at No. 4 overall regardless of whether or not Ryan was on the roster.
- Cincinnati's signing of offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. also did not make the cut. Many assumed the Bengals would address other starting spots on the offensive line, including right tackle, but swapping Jonah Williams for Brown has them in the same place they began.
The 2023 NFL Draft takes place from April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri.