We're just weeks away from the 2023 NFL Draft (April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri), in which teams will have another chance to boost their respective rosters for the upcoming season.
Every organization feels the pressure to nail the draft, but some have more capital to work with than others. The Miami Dolphins have the fewest draft picks with four, while the Houston Texans and Las Vegas Raiders hold 12 selections over the three-day event. With all of this mind, we ask a simple question:
Which NFL team has the most to gain in the 2023 NFL draft?
PICK: Detroit Lions
A team on the rise after an 8-2 finish to last season, Detroit has been the darling of the offseason -- and a hot pick to win the NFC North. There is good reason for the optimism. The Lions have two first-round draft selections (Nos. 6 and 18) and five of the first 81 picks. The front office has done a superb job remaking the roster, and if the Lions hit on these picks -- particularly with some defensive players -- they could take full advantage of what appears to be a wide open division, with Aaron Rodgers on his way out.
PICK: Carolina Panthers
Let's not overthink this. After trading up to the No. 1 spot, all eyes are on the Panthers and their QB decision. Make the right choice, and you set up the franchise for years of success (SEE: Joe Burrow in Cincinnati). But make the wrong choice, and you face years of misery and necessary recovery (SEE: Baker Mayfield in Cleveland).
PICK: Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia was tantalizingly close to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy last season. To reach the Super Bowl again and beat whichever juggernaut comes out of the AFC, the Eagles must revitalize both lines, find playmakers at the skill positions and add depth at linebacker and in the secondary. They've traded away multiple Day 3 picks, however, so I expect them to move down once or twice during the first round to reaccumulate the needed draft capital.
PICK: Detroit Lions
The Lions came within one game of making the playoffs last season, and they're poised to be even better this fall. They're sitting on two first-round picks -- Nos. 6 and 18 -- which means they can leave the first day with two potential difference-makers. The NFC North is wide-open with Aaron Rodgers in the process of leaving Green Bay. The Lions can put themselves in a great position to win it by hitting it big in the first round.
PICK: Houston Texans
A team with more intriguing pieces than it's given credit for has an opportunity at pick Nos. 2 and 12 to find franchise cornerstones -- likely at quarterback and possibly edge rusher -- on both sides of the ball for first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans. Add in three more picks in the top 73 selections, and GM Nick Caserio has plenty of draft capital to move up or continue to build out this roster with high-quality players.
PICK: Chicago Bears
It would be very easy for me to say the Bears. So I will. The Bears have already landed a No. 1 receiver (D.J. Moore) for Justin Fields -- and also gained valuable draft capital. Ryan Poles has said that he's going to build through the draft, so I expect Chicago to be in the center of the activity despite moving out of the No. 1 spot. The Bears GM has his work cut out for him with holes to fill on the offensive and defensive line, but Chicago has confidence he's going to get it done.
PICK: Detroit Lions
With five selections within the first 81 picks (including two firsts and two seconds), the Lions have the draft capital to really fill out their roster with future starters, or they can package picks and land three players they truly covet. The Lions made huge strides last season and are in position to take another step forward if they can convert this year's draft class into immediate help. After drafting effectively over the last couple of years, GM Brad Holmes has built plenty of confidence in and around Detroit.