In round three of the 2023 NFL Draft, squads are starting to look for depth and project players. However, several players every year go from round three to the Pro-Bowl, making an immediate impact on their team. Russell Wilson was a third-round selection for the Seattle Seahawks before winning the job in training camp and setting several rookie quarterback records. Joey Porter, the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, was a third-round pick. NFL teams can find legends in round three, and the 2023 NFL Draft round three will feature several; it is just a matter of time before finding out who those players are.
5 2023 NFL Draft Third Round Selections Who Will Contribute on Day-One
Josh Downs, Wide Receiver, North Carolina (Indianapolis Colts, Pick 79)
Josh Downs from North Carolina might not be the next Wes Welker, standing at a mere 5’9” with a 171 lbs. body. However, he exudes confidence and precision catching passes out of the slot. He will also join rookie quarterback (fourth selection overall) Anthony Richardson in Indianapolis, serving as a much-needed precise route runner. He should have high-volume targets within the first few weeks of the season and continue to improve throughout the year. The Colts have found a long-term receiver with incredibly high upside based on where he landed.
Daiyan Henley, Linebacker, Washington State (Los Angeles Chargers, Pick 85)
Brilliant defensive selections largely defined round three of the 2023 NFL Draft. Multiple players from this draft class and round should make an impact on their squads. However, choosing which players will make the most significant impact largely depends on the system and opportunity available. Daiyan Henley from Washington State will be a three-down linebacker who roams the field for the Los Angeles Chargers. He will start by week one, rack up tackles, and might find his way to a Pro Bowl by Week 17. If Henley continues to produce, the Chargers just found one of the most consistently productive day-two rookies. He should start for several years in Los Angeles.
daiyan henley: electric factory pic.twitter.com/nAMoQbLZaz
— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) April 29, 2023
Trenton Simpson, Linebacker, Clemson (Baltimore Ravens, Pick 86)
Immediately following Henley is Trenton Simpson, a super-athlete out of Clemson. Simpson is not the refined player that Henley is, but he will make an immediate impact for the Baltimore Ravens based on his role in the defence. He will serve as a two-down, athletic linebacker capable of stopping running backs in the flat on passing downs and blanketing receivers. If he improves his tackling – which the Ravens are a squad fully capable of improving Simpson’s weak points – year two and three could see Simpson becoming a three-down face of the Ravens defence.
Tank Bigsby, Running Back, Auburn (Jacksonville Jaguars, Pick 88)
Tank Bigsby is a running back who needed to go to an offense looking for an elusive, twitchy running back to be productive. Fortunately for Bigsby, the Jaguars need him as much as he needs them. While Travis Etienne (2021 first-round pick) was electric (5.1 yards per carry, 1,125 yards), the rest of the running back room left production to be desired. Bigsby should find his way into the Jaguars system and become an immediate contributor. He is incredibly quick and will simply explode through defenders. Bigsby’s production as a second-punch running back should add productivity and longevity to Etienne as well, making him a key addition in round three for the Jaguars.
Kobie Turner, Defensive Line, Wake Forest (Los Angeles Rams, Pick 89)
Rumors of Aaron Donald retiring were indeed much exaggerated. However, the Los Angeles Rams still needed to improve their defensive line and find a player who can defend against the run or rush passers. Coming from Wake Forest, Kobie Turner is about electric as a defensive lineman come. He has incredible hand speed and combat skills, which will give him a great toolkit at the NFL level. With Donald still in Los Angeles, Turner can learn a thing or two and construct a truly punishing toolkit by year two. Turner can become the next face of a powerful Rams defense.
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