NFL: Draft Gems still available after Round 1

Per usual, the NFL Draft is filled with twists and turns and this year’s Round 1 was no exception. As expected, Bryce Young was taken by the Carolina Panthers with the first selection of the draft.

After that, the second QB prospect, C.J. Stroud was taken with the second pick of the draft by the Houston Texans. The next pick, the Texans were back for more as they made the first splash of the draft, trading up for the third pick to take Will Anderson.

Overall, throughout Round 1 there were a total of six trades with teams moving picks around. Within all the mayhem from the first night of the Draft, there were plenty of players who missed out on hearing their name called.

Here are some of best available left for Day 2 tomorrow:

QB – Will Levis, Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) celebrates during game against LSU in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. AP Photo/Michael Clubb

Likely the most surprising name to not be called during the first 31 picks comes from the late draft board riser, Will Levis. Throughout the whole draft process, Levis was a bit of a question mark for most teams. However, you cannot deny the guy has talent.

In the two seasons that Levis started at Kentucky he threw for over 5,000 yards and 43 touchdowns. Which may not be the most impressive of stats to the blind eye but playing in Southeastern Conference (SEC), he played against the toughest competition in college football.

With an impressive 6’4, 230-pound stature, Levis has a great build for an NFL QB. However, most teams who needed a new shot caller already have drafted their guy, so Levis may have to wait much longer than he expected.

TE – Michael Mayer, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Michael Mayer, Notre Dame Photo: ACC/Notre Dame Athletics

At the beginning of the College Football season, many people would have slotted Mike Mayer to be the first Tight End taken in the 2023 draft. However, after the rise of Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, he would take Mayer’s spot as the top TE. Making him wait longer to find out who he will be playing for next season.

Mayer was a three-year starter and one of the few bright spots of a lackluster Notre Dame team from the past two seasons. During his time for the Fighting Irish, Mayer caught a total 180 passes for 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Mayer has the prototypical build for a player of his position in the NFL. Some teams just have an issue with his lack of mobility. However, it should not be enough to keep him on draft boards for any longer than the third round.

CB – Kelee Ringo, Georgia Bulldogs

Kelee Ringo during Georgia Bulldogs College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday Jan. 10, 2022. Photo: Mackenzie Miles

While Ringo may not have been one of the highest ranked defensive backs heading into the draft, he still has too much talent to be passed up on for much longer.

Kelee Ringo was the heart and soul of a Georgia Bulldog secondary that helped win back-to-back National Championships. Ringo even had the game sealing pick-six against Bryce Young and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 National Championship.

On top on his ability to make plays in big moments, Ringo also has blazing speed that he showed off after running a 4.36 40-yard dash at this year’s combine. Expect Ringo to be drafted in Round 2 and make teams regret not taking him sooner.

CB – Joey Porter Jr., Penn State Nittany Lions

Photo: Scott Taetsch, Getty Images

 The stars are essentially aligned for Joey Porter Jr. to become a Pittsburgh Steeler now that Round 1 is over, and the Steelers sit on the first pick of Round 2. Joey’s father, Joey Porter Sr. had an All-Pro and potential Hall of Famer career during his time as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

It also happens to be that Porter Jr. is a great fit for the Steelers withering secondary. Not only will he be a great piece for building a team’s future, but he is also a player that will be able to make an impact right away.

During his time in college, he only allowed six total touchdowns. Including allowing zero in 2022. This ability to lockdown opposing receivers should translate smoothly to the NFL. With the opportunity to do it in a Steelers jersey nonethless. I’m sure his father would want nothing more than for him to continue the Porter legacy in Pittsburgh.

QB – Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Volunteers

Photo: Bryan Lynn, USA Today Sports

Halfway through the season Hendon Hooker shocked the college football world as he led his team to upset the immortal Alabama Crimson Tide in an electric 52-49 finish in Tennessee. While this would be the biggest highlight of the Volunteers season, Hooker would still go on to have an impressive season of his own.

In 2022, Hooker threw for 3,135 yards and 27 touchdowns. Hooker was ranked first in fewest interceptions thrown, only throwing two. He would also have the best QBR out of any college QB last season with an 89.5.

Similar to Levis, Hooker just wasn’t the main guy that teams were looking at when searching for a QB. He is still one of the most electric playmakers at the quarterback position and has proven he knows how to take care of the football. Expect Hooker to be taken soon in Day 2 of the NFL Draft, potentially even before Will Levis

Noah Costantino is a student and football player at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. Fueled by his love for the game he looks to continue his knowledge of football at an international level. He is majoring in Communications with a