KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Will Levis didn’t stick around to hear his name called after slipping out of the first round. He wouldn’t have waited long.
The Tennessee Titans traded up to get the second pick of the second round and took the Kentucky quarterback with the 33rd overall pick of the NFL draft on Friday night.
Levis was expected to go in the top 15, with some draft analysts projecting him in the top five. A few days before the draft, oddsmakers even made Levis the favorite to be the second QB selected behind Bryce Young.
Young went first to Carolina, C.J. Stroud was picked second by Houston and Anthony Richardson was selected at No. 4 by Indianapolis. Levis kept waiting and once the Titans passed on him at No. 11, it became a grueling night. Television cameras panned over to Levis sitting with his girlfriend and family, staring at his phone.
The Titans weren’t going to pass him up again. They were aggressive, making a deal with the Arizona Cardinals to get their guy.
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker sat until the third round before the Detroit Lions took him with the 68th overall pick. Hooker is coming off surgery for a torn ACL and the Lions have Jared Goff, who made his third Pro Bowl last season.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Levis has prototypical size and athleticism. He’s got a strong arm and muscular build. But his accuracy and decision-making were inconsistent, especially last season when he played through injuries.
Levis, who played two seasons at Kentucky after transferring from Penn State, won’t have to play right away in Tennessee. The Titans have veteran Ryan Tannehill. They also drafted Malik Willis in the third round last year.
Hooker, like Levis, was projected to go higher in the draft. But he's 25 years old and is returning from a knee injury. Hooker is considered the best deep-ball passer in the draft, can create plays scrambling and is a leader. He threw just five interceptions at Tennessee, though he fumbled 22 times.
Day 2 of the draft at Union Station in downtown Kansas City kicked off with family ties. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. with the first pick of the second round. His dad, Joey Porter, was a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker in eight seasons with Pittsburgh.
With Steelers fans waving their yellow “Terrible Towels” among a crowd of more than 100,000 mostly red-clad Chiefs fans, Hall of Fame offensive lineman Alan Faneca stepped to the podium and announced Porter was the first pick of the second round.
There was plenty of wheeling and dealing in the second and third rounds. The aggressive Lions snagged Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta (34th) and Alabama safety Brian Branch (45th) in the second round after choosing Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs (12th) and Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell (18th) in the first round.
The Los Angeles Rams, who haven't made a first-round selection since taking Goff No. 1 in 2016, made their first pick of the draft at No. 36, taking Texas Christian offensive lineman Steve Avila.
Denver's first pick was Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims at 63rd. New Broncos coach Sean Payton high-fived staff members in the draft room after the pick.
The defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, who walked away with Georgia defensive linemen Jalen Carter (No. 9) and Nolan Smith (No. 30), made more trades and ended up with consecutive picks early in the third round. They took Alabama offensive lineman Tyler Steen at No. 65 and Illinois safety Sydney Brown after him.
The hometown Super Bowl champion Chiefs moved up in the second round to grab another target for Patrick Mahomes, selecting SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice with the 55th pick.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL