“My dad’s drafts were different — a lot more tense.” – Raiders owner Mark Davis
“That’s what life is about, working to build something good. That’s what I’m here to help this team do. I’m ready for it.” – Texans QB C.J. Stroud after being selected by Houston at No. 2
“I would rather take the risk than pass on him and see him become a star somewhere else.” – Colts GM Chris Ballard on selecting QB Anthony Richardson at No. 4
“It’s hard to be ga-ga over the pick, because no rational person knows how this will work out.” – King on the Eagles selecting DT Jalen Carter at No. 9
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 1, 2023 – With the 2023 NFL Draft this past weekend, Peter King discusses his experience sitting in on the Raiders’ draft room during the first round, as well as his in-person conversation with Texans No. 2 overall pick QB C.J. Stroud in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also recaps all of the action from the draft and discusses Lamar Jackson’s contract extension, Aaron Rodgers’ trade to the Jets, and more.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
Head coach Josh McDaniels to King after selecting OLB Tyree Wilson with the No. 6 pick in the draft: “Our board was right. We needed three quarterbacks to go, and we’re so happy we got one of the four non-quarterbacks who were our top-rated guys on the board. Look, we gotta rush the passer. We gotta go get [Patrick] Mahomes and [Justin] Herbert. That’s four games a year for the next few years against these great young quarterbacks. And the AFC is full of these great young quarterbacks. This is a great outcome for us.”
McDaniels on Wilson: “I mean, hallelujah. His motivation, his drive, how he handles adversity…off the charts. We value the TAP test (a test in the pre-draft process that measures mental toughness, drive and composure under pressure), and Tyree got one of the highest grades on it, a Green plus-plus. He’ll fit in great here.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis on QB Will Levis not being selected in the first round: “Someone should tell him careers are not made on draft day. Tell him this happened to Aaron Rodgers too.”
Davis on McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler: “When we hired them, everybody thought we were trying to re-create the Patriots. That wasn’t it. I was trying to find two great football men. Now, this is their chance to build something.”
Davis on the Raiders’ draft: “My dad’s drafts were different — a lot more tense.”
McDaniels: “The tense conversations were already had. We had them in the last six weeks. We ended up with the board where we all felt it needed to be.”
C.J. STROUD & THE TEXANS
QB C.J. Stroud, after being picked No. 2 overall by the Texans, on the transition of going from a successful college team to a rebuilding NFL team: “That’s what life is about, working to build something good. That’s what I’m here to help this team do. I’m ready for it.”
King on the S-2 Test and Stroud: “A player who played the way Stroud did — particularly in putting up 41 points in his superb final college game in the playoff against Georgia — is not a player who can’t process, or can’t ID a defense…To think it’s a good indicator of future failure — I mean, watch the games he’s played.”
Stroud on the criticism he’s faced during the draft process: “A lot of people haven’t played the sport, and I mean critics are gonna critique. For me I know the film speaks for itself. Everything that I’ve done in college, I’ve been very consistent…The people who are making the choices and the picks, they knew what I can do. They understood the IQ that I do have.”
Stroud: “I have a great memory when it comes to football. I feel like there’s different ways to be geniuses. You don’t just have to be book smart. You can be analytics smart. You can be numbers smart. You can be football smart. I really think that there’s different types of ways to be smart. That’s something that I pride myself on.”
Stroud: “I know that I can think. I can process very, very fast. The film, you can see me going from first option to second and then back to one and then to three to four if I have to. I can check down. I can use my feet.”
2023 NFL DRAFT
Colts GM Chris Ballard on the decision to draft QB Anthony Richardson at No. 4: “I would rather take the risk, the risk that he might fail, than pass on him and see him become a star somewhere else. We’re taking a guy not only for what he can do today but for what he can become tomorrow.”
Ballard on evaluating Richardson to see if he can play this upcoming season: “We gotta get him in here and see where he is. We don’t know. He turns 21 this month — he’s so young still. Let us figure out what he can handle before making any decisions. But there’s not many people who can do what he does.”
King on QB Will Levis falling to the second round: “Will Levis didn’t go 33rd instead of 11th or fourth because he stinks. It’s mostly because the teams between four and 33 didn’t have an essential need for a quarterback who’s not a sure thing…He was the fourth-most-desired quarterback in a year when the vast majority of teams had bigger needs.”
King on Seattle’s draft: “(Seahawks GM John) Schneider got the best corner on most boards, Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon, at five, and the best receiver on many boards, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, at 20…The Niners are still the kings of the NFC West, but the Seahawks closed the gap this weekend.”
King on the Eagles selecting DT Jalen Carter at No. 9: “(Eagles GM Howie) Roseman was in a strong position to take him, and good for the Eagles. But it’s hard to be ga-ga over the pick, because no rational person knows how this will work out.”
DE Lukas Van Ness, who was drafted at 13 by Green Bay, on his experience playing at Iowa: “I fully believe in the process. I fully believe I would not be here in this position today if I went anyplace else and didn’t go through the development I had at Iowa.”
King on Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort trading back for multiple future picks: “If Arizona, Houston and Tennessee all struggle next year and all finish below .500, the Cardinals would have six picks in the top 75, including two early in the first round. Ossenfort may not have gone into this draft with an intention of owning the 2024 draft, but that’s exactly how it turned out.”
King on the ‘take the best player available’ mantra: “It’s been trending this way for years, but teams now almost always take the best player at a position of need, particularly high in the draft… I just don’t believe it anymore when GMs say they’ll take the best player available, regardless of position.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson’s new contract: “It takes a smart person to realize: I can either dig my heels in and be stubborn and never back down, or I can do what’s best for me and find a middle ground. Jackson saw what was being built around him, with a major boost at receiver in this off-season…Now Jackson should have a legitimate five-year run at trying to win the Super Bowl.”
King on the Jets’ trade for QB Aaron Rodgers: “The only way this is a justifiable risk for the Jets is if Rodgers plays at least two years in New Jersey, or if he plays one and the Jets win the Super Bowl. End of story.”
King on Rodgers’ motivation this season: “I expect Rodgers to be driven by the Packers’ willingness to let him walk. He is coming off an atypically blah season for him, turns 40 in December and hears every single slight of him — from Manitowoc to Mamaroneck.”
Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.
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A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.