The 2023 NFL draft is upon us, and as usual, I have some of my personal rankings to share. As always, these are based on my opinion after watching film and scouting each individual prospect, if you disagree with them that is okay, everyone has different opinions on prospects, it is one of the things that makes the draft process great.
I will not be doing full positional rankings for every spot, but I have a certain amount of rankings per position based on the depth of the position in this year's draft.
Without further ado, let's get started.
CJ Stroud, OSU (early 1st round)
Bryce Young, ALA (early 1st round)
Anthony Richardson, UF (early 1st round)
Will Levis, UK (mid-late 1st round)
Tanner McKee, STAN (late 2nd round)
A lot of people may disagree with Stroud being in the first spot instead of Bryce Young, but it really is a 1A/1B situation with the top choice really relying on your scheme preference. Each player brings certain abilities to the field that are far more developed than anyone in the draft. For Young it is his instincts and ability to make plays while improvising on the run, for Stroud it is the impeccable touch he puts on almost every throw. I like Stroud because of his ability to stand in the pocket and deliver strong throws while taking hits and because he has a better frame for the position. In a west coast scheme with more RPO's and timing plays I would go with Young, for an Air Raid scheme that often goes 3 wide and likes to go deep which seems to be the next step in the evolution of the game, I would go with Stroud.
Jahmyr Gibbs, ALA (late 1st/early 2nd rd)
Bijan Robinson, UT, (late 1st/early 2nd rd)
Zach Charbonnet, UCLA, (early 3rd rd)
Roschon Johnson, UT (late 3rd rd)
Tyjae Spears, TUL (early 4th rd)
A similar situation is in play here. Many people have Bijan Robinson as their top back in this draft and Gibbs second, I think it comes down to which play style you prefer. Robinson is the more elusive back with amazing abilities to extend plays with the ball in his hand and find any crevice in the line to sneak through for yardage, he is a one-cut, wait-for-the-play-to-develop and then strike type of back. Gibbs is more of a downhill runner who hits the hole hard and has the breakaway speed that can lead to more explosive plays off of traditional sets. He is a great receiver out of the backfield (although Robinson is as well) and has a great route tree developed already from his years at Bama. I prefer the downhill runner style because those backs tend to fall forward more and have a better yards/carry mark, but for those who prefer the other style, I do not want to act as though I am saying anything negative about Robinson's game.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, OSU (mid-first round)
Rashee Rice, SMU (mid-late first round)
Josh Downs, UNC, (mid-late 1st round)
Quentin Johnston, TCU, (Early 2nd round)
Jordan Addison, USC, (mid-2nd round)
Michael Wilson, STAN (mid-2nd round)
Zay Flowers, BC (mid-late 2nd round)
Jaylin Hyatt, TENN (mid-late 2nd round)
Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, HOU (early-mid 3rd round)
Kayshon Boutte, LSU (mid-3rd round)
A couple of things I want to break down here. First of all, yes, this is a weaker class than previous years, but that doesn't mean there isn't talent to be found. I have JSN first for a few reasons. He runs crisp routes, he should be fully recovered from injury at this point, he was coached in college by Brian Hartline who has shown a great track record of sending good receivers to the NFL and he is great at playing the ball in the air. The second thing I feel I should address is Rashee Rice coming in at 2nd on the list which many will see as a reach. While his route tree is not as fully developed as some other players in this class, his footwork and ability to improvise suggest to me that he would be able to develop an NFL route tree with his work ethic. He has phenomenal athleticism and a great 10 yd split, which explains why he can release off of the line so well and he is great on the sidelines in contested catch situations, I believe his skills should be highly coveted in today's NFL. As for the drop of Quentin Johnston, it is quite simple, I have reservations about his ability to beat the press and release off of the LOS against stronger DB's and I am concerned about his consistency level at the collegiate level. Finally, I love Michael Wilson from Stanford, he stood out to me during the Senior Bowl with his footwork and speed out of the break on routes, he has size and good hands, and while his 40 time may not be great he has other ways of displaying his athleticism including quick acceleration off of the LOS regardless of a lack of breakaway speed.
Michael Mayer, ND (mid 1st round)
Darnell Washington, UGA, (early-mid 2nd round)
Luke Musgrave, OREST, (mid 2nd round)
Dalton Kincaid, UTAH, (early 3rd round)
Sam LaPorta, IOWA, (early 3rd round)
Not much to break down here in my opinion, Mayer is the consensus #1 TE on the board and his film from his years at Notre Dame tells the story along with his statistics. Darnell Washington is an absolute beast both in terms of size and athleticism, but his lack of a route tree may cause teams to stay away until round 2.
Broderick Jones, UGA, (early-mid 1st round)
Paris Johnson, OSU, (mid-1st round)
Darnell Wright, TENN, (mid-late 1st round)
Peter Skoronski, NW (mid-late 1st round)
Dawand Jones, OSU, (early-mid 2nd round)
Broderick Jones is my OT1, I love his combination of size and athleticism, he has great grip strength and is smart enough to know when and how to transfer pass rushers onto other blockers. His athleticism at his size allows him to pull and be a nightmare for 2nd and 3rd-level defenders, my only critique would be playing too aggressively sometimes, but he has the potential to be great. Paris Johnson is a strong prospect but in my opinion, needs to strengthen his lower body and work on his balance at the point of contact a little more, and his 1 year of LT experience may not be enough. as for Peter Skoronski, I love his game technique-wise and he's an incredibly smart player but like others, I see a transition to guard in his future with his lack of size and arm length, and that change in position may take a year or two to learn.
John Michael Schmitz, MINN (mid-1st round)
Andrew Voorhees, USC (early 2nd round)
Cody Mauch, NDSU, (mid-late 2nd round)
Not going to go into much detail here, Schmitz is the standard Center that is around once a year who is going to be NFL-ready pretty much the moment he arrives in a team building, but because he is a center, the position isn't valued highly enough and not many teams need a new center, he'll likely go closer to the back of the 1st round. Andrew Vorhees is an experienced guard/tackle who has played all over the field but projects as a guard in the NFL and has a nasty mean streak with a lot of power.
Jalen Carter, UGA (early 1st round)
Bryan Bresee, CLEM (late 1st/early 2nd)
Mazi Smith, MICH (early 2nd round)
Calijah Kancey, PITT, (mid-2nd round)
Jerrod Clark, CCAR (3rd round)
A couple of notes to make here, Carter is the obvious number 1. Bresee seems to be the polarizing guy in this group because of his injury history, but the athleticism, IQ, and ability are all there and I don't think Clemson used him properly all of the time. I also believe there is a big hype train behind Mazi Smith and while I like him for a future guy, I don't think he is the kind of guy who can come in and make an impact right away as he learns the game speed at the NFL level and he has some inconsistencies to work out from the technical standpoint along with his lack of arm length. Although I cannot deny his athleticism combined with his size is quite awe-inspiring.
Will Anderson, BAMA (early 1st round)
Tyree Wilson, TTECH (early 1st round)
Myles Murphy, CLEM (early-mid Rd1)
Nolan Smith, UGA (late 1st round)
Derick Hall, AUB (early 2nd round)
Numbers 1 and 2 are not debatable to me unless you are debating which one belongs first, but they are in a class of their own together as top 10 picks in my opinion. Myles Murphy is a great blend of speed and bend but has the very important issue on film of seeming to not finish the play well/with strength, and that will ultimately put him below the top 2 players on this list on NFL boards. Nolan Smith is someone I believe in because I believe the EDGE position is changing and he fits the mold it is changing for. Combine that with the fact that I know he was coached well and saw development over the course of time, I'll take the risk on him over Hall.
Jack Campbell, IOWA (mid-late round 1)
Drew Sanders, ARK (early r2)
Trenton Simpson, CLEM, (mid-late r2)
Weak class when it comes to ILB's besides these three, I believe Campbell can be a star based on the combination of his tackling ability, extremely advanced play recognition ability, and his zone coverage improvement over the course of his college career. Sanders is a more fluid player but has more issues with his pass coverage and may have leverage problems with blockers at the 2nd level.
Christian Gonzalez, ORE (early rd 1)
Devon Witherspoon, ILL (mid-Rd 1)
Joey Porter Jr, PSU (mid rd 1)
Cam Smith, SCAR (early r2)
Kelee Ringo, UGA (early r2)
I don't think much of what I have here is surprising, I love Gonzalez as a prospect and believe he deserves to go top 10 with his only real weakness being his leaner frame that stronger players may take advantage of, but Witherspoon has that problem to a deeper degree if he wants to play outside in the NFL anyway. Porter is great on the outside and great at using the sideline as a defender but he gets slightly handsy and can sometimes lose the receiver while trying to read the QB.
Brian Branch, BAMA (early 2nd round)
Sydney Brown, ILL (mid-2nd round)
Jammie Robinson, FSU (late 2nd round-early 3rd)
Mostly putting these guys here because I have to, I don't like the depth of this position and I think Branch is projected too high because of it. If anything I'd lean towards Sydney Brown or Jammie Robinson in the later 2nd round or earlier in the 3rd instead of reaching on Branch who has limitations on his ceiling based on his athleticism in my opinion.
Those are my positional rankings this year! Thank you for tuning in and happy Draft Day everyone!