With the books closed on the 20023 draft, NFL pundits have been analyzing which teams and players had the most success in the draft. Earlier this week, we took a look at the Top 7 2023 NFL Draft Winners. Here, we are looking at the other end of the spectrum – players that lost the most from the draft.

These rookies below were either a) projected to go high in the draft (and didn’t) or b) landed on teams where they serve no purpose for fantasy football. Draft capital is important because it tells how much a team is invested in that player, which means, they are more likely to utilize their investment. Landing spot is also important because without an open opportunity, rookies can get caught in a logjam, never realizing their fantasy potential.

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Let’s take a look at some of the rookies with poor draft capital and/or landing spots.

Will Levis – Tennessee Titans

Prior to the draft, Will Levis was (credibly) projected to go as early as the fourth overall pick. But when it was all said and done, Levis was drafted at the top of the second round (33rd overall) to the Tennessee Titans. Without first round pedigree, there’s no guarantee of a starting quarterback job, and in fact, Levis has an uphill climb to beat out the solid but not spectacular Ryan Tannenhill. It’s possible the Titans fold mid-season and hand the reigns over to Levis, but there’s no guarantee. Add even then, when you consider Derrick Henry, assuming he’s not traded, the offense will continue to focus on Henry’s rushing ability and not Levis’ arm.

Zach Charbonnet – Seattle Seahawks

In a stunning move, the Seattle Seahawks selected Zach Charbonnet in the second round with the 52nd overall pick. Many fantasy football analysts hoped Charbonnet would go to team where he could be a three-down back or close to it. The Seahawks are not that team – they already have Kenneth Walker who ran for over 1,000 yards despite limited opportunities in the first 4-5 games of last season. Instead of Charbonnet assuming a bell-cow role somewhere, he is likely going to be relegated to pass-catching duties to start. Charbonnet is a well-rounded back, but with Kenneth Walker in front of him, he will be hard-pressed to see meaningful opportunities.

Cedric Tillman – Cleveland Browns

Cedric Tillman was a late riser in the evaluation process. He was overshadowed by his teammate, Jalin Hyatt, who won the 2022 Biletkinoff award for the best college wide receiver. Given the dearth of big-bodied wide receivers in this class, Cedric Tillman stood out as a protypical wide receiver standing 6’2″ tall and weighing 215 lbs. The Cleveland Browns took a shot on him in the third round with the 74th pick overall. Cleveland Browns have been ramping up their air attack by adding Elijah Moore in the offseason. In a wide receiver room with Amari Cooper, Donovan People-Jones, Elijah Moore, and David Njoku, opportunities for the rookie WR may be hard to come by.

Tyjae Spears – Tennessee Titans

Tyjae Spears appeared on the radars of NFL teams after his Senior Bowl breakout. To that point, he had a strong college career – he accrued nearly 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns in 33 games. He capped off his college career with the Cotton Bowl MVP after putting on a 205-yard, 4-touchdown performance. However, when draft time rolled around, he was selected in the third round (81st overall) to the Tennessee Titans. Of course, it’s very worrisome to be selected as a running back behind Derrick Henry (see Hassan Haskins, Dontrell Hilliard, Darrynton Evans). As long as Henry is healthy, he is not ceding many touches to the running backs behind him. It also recently came to light that Spears does not have an ACL in one of his knees, which does not bode well for a long career.

Darnell Washington – Pittsburgh Steelers

This year was touted as one of the best tight end classes, and it didn’t disappoint. We saw Dalton Kincaid get first round capital, and five other tight ends drafted in the second round. Darnell Washington, however, was not among them. Washington was the sixth tight end selected, and he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round. Though Washington had considerable buzz for being a 6’7″ 264-lbs behemoth with a set of wheels, he just didn’t measure up to the hype. The Steelers already have a reliable Pat Freiermuth at tight end, who finished 8th and 13th at the tight end position in fantasy football. The Steelers are not known for running two tight end sets, so his role for the team will be the sixth lineman, as confirmed by himself. Washington is unlikely to be fantasy relevant in his first year.

Israel Abanikanda – New York Jets

Leading up to the draft, “Izzy” was the talk of Twitter and his rookie draft ranking climbed up draft boards. Abanikanda put up eye-popping numbers on his pro day. He ran between 4.26-4.32 sec. (unofficial) in the 40-yard dash and posted a 41″ vertical, which are better than any running back put up at the combine. It seemed as though the 5’10”, 217-lbs 20-year-old Pitt speedster would rise above the other rookie running backs. Despite the pre-draft buzz, the New York Jets drafted him in the 5th round – 143rd overall. Izzy finds himself in a crowded Jets backfield where Breece Hall is the bell-cow. This relegates Izzy to compete for handcuff duties with Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight, who are two capable pro running backs.

Sean Tucker – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sean Tucker was a popular name heading into the draft, but he was not selected at all. Instead, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buccaneers. The major issue with Sean Tucker is his ongoing heart condition, which has yet to be resolved. Very rarely do undrafted free agent running backs make a fantasy impact. The landing spot presents some opportunity because Rachaad White is the only real competition there. The team’s in flux though – with Brady retired, the offense will undergo significant changes and may not be as high-powered as it once was under Brady. Given the team’s outlook and draft capital, Tucker’s chance to make a fantasy impact is unlikely.


Now, despite these rookies being casted as “losers” following the draft, their fortunes can change due to injuries, trades, and good old hard work. For example, we saw some undrafted free agents like James Robinson beat out first round draft pick Leonard Fournette on the Jags a few years back. Stefon Diggs fell to the 5th round because of character and injury concerns, but his hard work shined and made him a superstar. While the current trajectory of these players is downward, we’ll want to check back in a year or two and see if they’ve righted the ship.

Thank you for reading Top 7 2023 NFL Draft Losers

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