This week, CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson posted a 2023 NFL Mock Draft that had the L.A. Rams trading up from 36 to 18 so that they could select QB Will Levis out of Kentucky. We posted about it here at Turf Show Times from Blaine Grisak and I also made my own comments this week that the last thing Les Snead needs to do is lose draft capital for a quarterback.
As someone who has been following the quarterbacks in this draft class closely for the last two or three years, it has been interesting to watch Levis go from a player who wouldn’t have been a first round pick in 2022 to one who was regularly mocked in the top-5 (including Mel Kiper and just about any ‘well known’ draft expert) since January despite coming off of a much worse season than the one prior.
Many will point to how much support Levis lost at Kentucky, including offensive coordinator Liam Coen who went to the Rams for one year and then returned to the Wildcats because of how that season went for everybody involved, but that doesn’t really explain the dramatic rise in his draft value; if the only thing going for Levis is his arm strength and body type, then why didn’t he declare for the draft in 2022 and leave Kentucky like everybody else?
Given that the 2022 quarterback class was the worst we’ve seen since 2013, surely then if Levis is a top-five pick now he would have been a top-five pick last year, right?
Should Rams trade into first-round for Will Levis? https://t.co/boiTqRmMMV— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) March 28, 2023
Because even as people like Kiper continue to point out, Levis didn’t do a single thing on the field last year to raise his stock. The 2022 season basically didn’t matter to anyone who thinks that Levis is a first round pick. Weird. Because if that’s the case, if his entire resume is that he worked with an NFL offensive coordinator in 2021 and has a huge arm and a little bit of mobility and just needs to get in the hands of professional coaches...then shouldn’t he have done that last year?
However, it’s getting a little hack to criticize Will Levis as a draft prospect at this point. Despite how often the mocks keep putting him at the top of the draft, it feels like maybe the strongest reason left to keep doing that is merely the fact that the Indianapolis Colts sit at four, have no QB, and will probably lose out on C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young. Mock drafts are either going with Levis, Anthony Richardson, or creating a trade for Lamar Jackson.
I’m not yet sold that the Colts won’t pick a defensive player instead of reaching for a quarterback knowing that they could potentially trade back into the first round for Hendon Hooker or wait on Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Tanner McKee, or even...Will Levis.
As often as Levis has been talked about as a top-5 pick, it’s interesting to find out how difficult it is to find any NFL fans who are excited about that possibility.
Every time I see Levis mentioned on Twitter, the fan reaction has been the same. “No.”
Here are the replies to Tuesday’s TST tweet asking if the Rams should do what Ryan Wilson suggested they should do, trading up for a 23-year-old QB who didn’t beat Sean Clifford for the starting job at Penn State with three opportunities to do so and then played mediocre football for two years at Kentucky with poor accuracy, touch, and too many interceptions.
Put down the crack pipe. Keep all picks, trade AD, CK n MS. Should get a big haul. Tank next year, get top QB (USC). You have a ton of draft capital in 24, ton of $$, & the dead money is for if u do it now. Rams trade and they r idiots. Not 1 player away, must get younger.— Manch (@mm_cheetz) March 28, 2023
I get the feeling that the answer is “No”.
This is not an exclusive reaction just because it’s the Rams and just because it involves trading up. This is how I see fans react anytime Levis is brought up as the quarterback their team takes in the first round.
But I am still going with the draft grade that Levis had in 2022 and after a bad season that followed: He could be available on day two. Last year, most draft analysts got it wrong when they projected that Malik Willis was a lock for the first round in spite of the fact that most draft analysts also said that Willis had a third round grade.
Just trust the grade.
He could be a nice guy and I’m sorry to him that he has to be the subject of this reaction. I’m sure that plenty of teams and fans like Will Levis.
The fans just don’t like him for the top-10 or trading up and it’s difficult to understand why that rumor started in January and has continued ever since other than to say...people keep copying Mel Kiper.