All 32 NFL franchises are now finishing up their draft boards in preparation for the 2023 NFL Draft. Compared to freedom of choice, this is a far more momentous occurrence. The most important element in constructing a winning squad is the acquisition of young, inexpensive talent.
The onus is on general managers and scouts to mine all seven rounds for worthwhile prospects. Every NFL club is under pressure to find success in the draft, but some teams face more intense scrutiny than others.
The events of this month will have a significant impact on the future of every organization, whether they have a dozen draft selections to use or are on the verge of a rebuild. Below, CBS Sports have examined the three NFC teams who, for various reasons, absolutely must do well in the 2023 NFL Draft.
3. Washington Commanders
It’s important to pick well for Ron Rivera‘s sake. Last year, he angered the fan base by replacing Taylor Heinicke with Carson Wentz in the starting lineup at the end of the season. Wentz, in his second opportunity, promptly threw three interceptions in a loss to the Cleveland Browns that effectively ended the Commanders’ playoff hopes. To top it all off, Rivera was caustic with the press after the game, as if he didn’t realize his club had been knocked out of playoff contention.
As the NFC East improves, the Commanders are in danger of repeating as division champs. Dallas Cowboys have won 12 games each of the last two seasons, Philadelphia Eagles have shown they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and New York Giants are on the rise under Brian Daboll. To be competitive in a difficult division and to demonstrate to potential new ownership that the club is headed in the right direction, the Commanders need to win the draft.
2. Green Bay Packers
With Aaron Rodgers likely being traded to the New York Jets in the near future, a new era has begun. In 2022, love made a few brief appearances and showed promise. In Week 12’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he directed two scoring drives and threw for 113 yards and a score while completing 6 of 9 passes.
It will be crucial for the Packers to take care of him, arm him, and provide him with a strong defense to shut down the rival team’s offense in 2023. Especially given the fact that all three of its divisional competitors are making strides upward.
1. Carolina Panthers
Carolina sent two first-rounders, two second-rounders, and wide receiver D.J. Moore to Chicago in exchange for the first overall choice in the 2023 NFL Draft. The new starting quarterback has been chosen, and Frank Reich and Scott Fitterer are thrilled.
The Panthers may use the services of a new tight end and wide receiver. Although talented, the defense might benefit from adding a pass rusher, linebacker, and cornerback. The Panthers must get off to a winning start in the Frank Reich era. After Tom Brady’s retirement, the NFC South is wide open. The 2023 draft will be crucial if the Panthers want to surprise everyone with a strong season.