Quarterback has pretty much been the position of choice early at the NFL draft. Over the last decade, for example, 6 of the 10 #1 picks overall were QBs, while the position accounted for 13 of the 30 top three selections. However, 2022 was the exception as for the first time in a decade, no QB was taken with at least one of the top three picks. In fact, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett was the only QB selected in last year’s opening round and he didn’t come off the board until the 20th selection where he was taken by the hometown Steelers. Of course, a lot can change between now and next April, but the early consensus around the NFL these days is that the position is really deep and talented for 2023. In fact, it appears that QB could very well be THE position for the upcoming draft.
It starts with Bryce Young of Alabama and Ohio State’s C. J. Stroud, both of whom are currently considered to be among the top 2-3 prospects for next year’s draft. Both are very accurate passers with excellent instincts and pocket presence, along with textbook deliveries and the arm strength to make all the throws at the next level. For good measure, they are both also known as high-quality character guys with great work ethics. However, neither is quite the Luck-Lawrence type lock to go quite that early. Young, the returning Heisman Trophy winner, for example, isn’t all that big at all for an NFL QB at barely 5-11 and 195 pounds. At the same time, while both can make all the throws, neither has a Mahomes-Allen-Herbert type rocket of an arm. For now, though, there doesn’t appear to be much to separate the two at the top of the positional board, although we suspect, that if push came to shove and they had to make a choice, more teams would opt for the Buckeyes’ Stroud, primarily because of the size issue, but it would be a razor-thin call.
In many ways, though, Stroud and Young are just the tip of the iceberg in what looks like a very deep position at the upcoming draft. Indeed, there is another group of as many as half a dozen QBs with the potential to also work their way into the top 5-10 picks, including Will Levis of Kentucky, Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke, Tanner McKee of Stanford, Will Rogers of Mississippi State, and possibly Anthony Richardson of Florida. Richardson, in particular, is an intriguing prospect in that he’s barely played to date at Florida with just 66 career attempts, but he’s got that rare combination of size, athleticism and arm strength. Indeed, he may very well have the best arm strength in this year’s class. At the same time, there is another large with at least some top 100 potential; that is, if they don’t squeeze into the latter part of the opening round including passers like Spencer Rattler, now of South Carolina, who was the consensus #1 prospect for the 2022 draft at this time last year, Jaren Hall of BYU, Cameron Ward, now at Washington State, and NC State’s Devin Leary.
College football fans, though, may need a program to know for sure who’s playing where this fall as an unusual number of top QBs ended up transferring this off-season including South Carolina’s Rattler who was at Oklahoma last year; Kedon Slovis, who moved from USC to Pittsburgh; JT Daniels, who moved from Georgia to West Virginia; Dillon Gabriel, the former UCF star who is replacing Rattler at OU; Bo Nix, now at Oregon after transferring from Auburn; and former FCS star Cameron Ward at Incarnate Word who has moved up in class to play at Washington State.
Future file: You actually don’t have to look to hard to find an NFL scout that thinks the best QB prospect in college football is actually Southern Cal sophomore Caleb Williams who displaced Rattler at Oklahoma last fall, but opted to follow Lincoln Riley to the west coast, although he won’t be draft eligible until 2024. Williams move to USC, in turn, forced Jaxson Dart, another top sophomore prospect to transfer to Mississippi. The top QB prospect coming out of high school last year, though, was Quinn Ewers who did not play for Ohio State this fall and subsequently transferred back home to Texas. Meanwhile, the top QB prospects for 2025, at least for now, looks like an edition of the ‘rich get richer’ as the top incoming freshman QBs this year include Ty Simpson at Alabama, Cade Klubnik of Clemson, Drew Allar at Penn State and Connor Weigman at Texas A&M. Of course, the young QB every NFL team has their eye on is Arch Manning, grandson of Archie and nephew of Peyton and Eli, who will be enrolling at Texas next year, but he won’t actually be draft eligible until 2026. Hang in there!!
Top 30 QB prospects for 2023:
August 16, 2022 10:51 PM
|Bryce Young||5-11, 195||Alabama||JR|
|C.J. Stroud||6-3, 215||Ohio State||RSO|
|Will Levis||6-3, 232||Kentucky||SR|
|Tyler Van Dyke||6-4, 225||Miami||RSO|
|Tanner McKee||6-5, 230||Stanford||JR|
|Will Rogers||6-2, 210||Mississippi State||JR|
|Anthony Richardson||6-4, 235||Florida||RSO|
|Hendon Hooker||6-3, 220||Tennessee||SR|
|Phil Jurkovec||6-3, 225||Boston College||SR|
|Devin Leary||6-1, 210||North Carolina State||SR|
|Jaren Hall||6-1, 205||BYU||SR|
|Cameron Ward||6-2, 225||Washington State||JR|
|Spencer Rattler||6-1, 205||South Carolina||JR|
|Brennan Armstrong||6-2, 215||Virginia||SR|
|Jake Haener||6-1, 195||Fresno State||SR|
|Cameron Rising||6-2, 210||Utah||SR|
|Sam Hartman||6-2, 210||Wake Forest||SR|
|DJ Uiagalelei||6-3, 250||Clemson||JR|
|Grayson McCall||6-3, 210||Coastal Carolina||JR|
|Kedon Slovis||6-2, 210||Pittsburgh||SR|
|Malik Cunningham||6-1, 200||Louisville||SR|
|J.T. Daniels||6-3, 210||West Virginia||SR|
|Dorian Thompson-Robinson||6-1, 205||UCLA||SR|
|K.J. Jefferson||6-3, 235||Arkansas||JR|
|Aidan O'Connell||6-3, 210||Purdue||SR|
|Jayden Daniels||6-3, 185||LSU||JRe|
|Tanner Mordecai||6-2, 210||SMU||JR|
|Dillon Gabriel||6-0, 190||Oklahoma||JR|
|Bo Nix||6-2, 215||Oregon||SR|
|Sean Clifford||6-2, 220||Penn State||SR|