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2023 NFL Draft Big Board

2023 NFL Draft Big Board

Now that the Combine has wrapped up, I thought I’d take another try at a top-32 big board, this time with a twist: below is my attempt at projecting which players are most likely to come off the board on the first day rather than a reflection of my own tape evaluations, so expect some disconnect between my own impressions and the rankings below. At this point, I consider about forty prospects solid candidates to be first-round picks, and I’ve listed them in order of probability.

2023 NFL Draft: Projected Top-32 Big Board (May 7th)

  1. Will Anderson (DE – Alabama)

I didn’t see anything at the Combine to change my opinion of Anderson’s draft stock; it can be fun to project trades in mock drafts, but until the Bears line something up, I believe Anderson is the favorite to go first overall, especially given Jalen Carter‘s legal situation.

  1. Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)

Measuring in at just over 5’10” and weighing in at slightly over 200 pounds should be enough to solidify Young’s draft stock in a vacuum, but it’s fair to say that the other top quarterbacks in the class definitely made their cases well, so Young being the first passer taken isn’t a lock.

  1. C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio St.)

Generally considered to have been the most impressive passer in Combine drills, I tend to lean slightly toward Stroud over Young because he’s a more traditional passer with excellent processing and the ability to throw with accuracy to every area of the field.

  1. Myles Murphy (DE – Clemson)

One beneficiary of Jalen Carter’s legal issues may be Myles Murphy, as some of the teams picking high in the draft need help all over their defensive front, which could give Murphy a chance to go slightly ahead of where he’s been projected in some mocks to this point.

  1. Jalen Carter (DL – Georgia)

It’s really too early to say how Carter’s arrest will affect his draft stock; personally, I’d probably lean toward a cleaner prospect this high, but if he’s able to square away his legal troubles before the draft, someone will probably be willing to gamble on his talent high.

  1. Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)

There are so many excellent cornerbacks in this class that it’s possible teams have different ideas about who fits their team best, especially given their different skill sets and temperaments. But, for me, Gonzalez is the most complete and polished option in the class.

  1. Paris Johnson (OT – Ohio St.)

With outstanding measurements and solid on-field drills, Johnson has to be considered the frontrunner to be the first tackle off the board, especially because of his inside/outside versatility, which could allow him to play either guard or tackle spot in the pros.

  1. Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)

I wouldn’t be surprised if some teams had slightly higher grades on Richardson than Levis, but in a no-early-trades scenario, it would be a surprise if the latter made it past, say, Carolina. He’s more advanced right now, which could matter to coaches/GMs on the hot seat.

  1. Tyree Wilson (DE – Texas Tech)

Wilson has the brute-force appeal of former prospects like Marcus Davenport. He should be able to come in and bull-rush pro offensive tackles right away, something which makes him a relatively safe selection high in the draft and one who plays a premium position.

  1. Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)

This is where things get a little bit tricky; it’s conceivable that teams have vastly different grades on Richardson, who has all the talent in the world but struggled with consistency in college. Nevertheless, given the number of QB-needy teams, he stands a shot of going in the top ten.

  1. Joey Porter (CB – Penn St.)

Porter was penalty-prone at times in college, but he has an unreal combination of size and length and impressed in drills. It’s possible he could even attract the attention of some teams who don’t generally go defensive back high, such as the Seattle Seahawks.

  1. Quentin Johnston (WR – Texas Christian)

Whether Johnston or Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the first receiver off the board looks like a coin flip at this point, but if I had to choose, I’d guess that the majority of teams may favor Johnston’s rare size/tools over Smith-Njigba’s comparatively greater polish.

  1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio St.)

An excellent Combine workout may have assuaged some concerns about whether Smith-Njigba can play on the outside at the next level, but the fact remains that he took over 80% of his college snaps from the slot, so there is some amount of projection involved here.

  1. Brian Branch (DB – Alabama) 

Branch didn’t have an exceptional workout at the Combine, but his selling point was always his combination of versatility, intelligence, and experience. It’s hard to see a prospect this pro-ready slipping past several teams for which he seems like an excellent fit.

  1. Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)

Witherspoon didn’t work out, which may have cost him slightly, especially considering how well the other cornerbacks tested. He played better than arguably any of the other corners in the class last year but doesn’t quite have the same tools to offer teams.

  1. Peter Skoronski (OT – Northwestern)

Skoronski might have to be considered one of the losers of the Combine; he went in running neck and neck with Paris Johnson for the first tackle spot, but his arm measurements (32.25″) may lead some teams to view him as a high-end guard prospect instead of a left tackle.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

  1. Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)

There’s very little about Robinson that should give teams cause for concern, so teams looking to establish an offensive identity should feel very confident with what he can offer; ultimately, though, his stock depends on how much teams value the running back position.

  1. Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)

Peter Skoronski’s arm measurements probably put Jones in the conversation to be the second offensive tackle off the board on draft day. However, it’s possible some of the other strong workouts at the tackle position could cause teams to consider waiting until the second day.

  1. Cam Smith (CB – South Carolina)

Smith really helped himself out with his testing at the Combine, and it wouldn’t be surprising if teams viewed him as the best press-man corner in the draft class; it wouldn’t be shocking if a team that primarily played such coverages chose him ahead of more hyped prospects.

  1. Bryan Bresee (DL – Clemson)

Personally, I view Bresee as worth a top-ten pick, but it’s looking like he might fall out of that range and into the teens or so, coming off of a season in which he was limited by injuries; the slide here has less to do with him and more to do with other impressive prospects.

  1. Kelee Ringo (CB – Georgia)

Perhaps I’m higher on Ringo than most, but I see a prospect who has some rare physical/athletic tools to offer and was able to match up against some of the top perceivers in the SEC on a week-to-week basis, allowing just one touchdown when targeted this past season.

  1. Lukas Van Ness (DE – Iowa)

The comparisons Van Ness has been drawing to George Karlaftis seem slightly optimistic to me, but it’s possible the former ends up going higher than Karlaftis did on draft day. He projects as a strongside defensive end or edge defender with pro-ready strength.

  1. Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)

Not as flashy as some of the other tight ends in the class, but probably the safest and most well-rounded option, it would no longer be shocking if teams went with another tight end over Mayer, but I still consider it relatively unlikely. Mayer is a plug-and-play “Y.”

  1. Calijah Kancey (DL – Pittsburgh)

Few prospects stand out as much on tape as Kancey, but despite fellow Pitt alum Aaron Donald’s success in the pros, the fact remains that, generally speaking, teams look for more size in their three-techniques, so I’ll conservatively keep Kancey here for now.

  1. Nolan Smith (DE – Georgia)

Smith’s explosive Combine workout and strong interviews definitely put him back in the first-round conversation, but it’s possible some teams which favor bigger edge defenders may overlook him; he’ll likely get more attention from teams seeking a “Leo” type.

  1. Jordan Addison (WR – Southern California)

Addison’s athletic testing was decent, but measuring in as one of the thinnest receivers in the class, with some of the shortest arms and smallest hands, may have caused him to fall behind Quentin Johnston and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, with who he was neck-and-neck with before.

  1. Dawand Jones (OT – Ohio St.)

Jones’ highly-impressive tape had me viewing him as a potential first-round pick for some time, and his unreal measurements (6’8″, 374 pounds with arms nearly 36.5″ long), combined with excellent flexibility and footwork for his size, should have him there now.

  1. Dalton Kincaid (TE – Utah)

There’s a growing contingent of those who believe Kincaid should be selected ahead of Michael Mayer and the other two tight ends who are receiving at least some first-round hype (Luke Musgrave and Darnell Washington); he may have the smoothest receiving skills.

  1. Jalin Hyatt (WR – Tennessee)

Hyatt essentially did what was expected at the Combine, with a strong 40-yard dash of 4.40 seconds and excellent vertical/broad jumps. He needs to continue diversifying his route tree but could offer teams an instant deep threat, adding a dimension to their offense.

  1. Deonte Banks (CB – Maryland)

Banks was a little bit smaller than anticipated, measuring in at 6’0″ with arms just under 31.5″, but ran a blistering 4.35-second forty and had exceptional vertical and broad jumps; I believe he’s likely ahead of Emmanuel Forbes or Clark Phillips on many boards.

  1. O’Cyrus Torrence (OG – Florida)

There are enough teams potentially seeking interior offensive linemen near the end of the first round that I still believe Torrence has a solid chance of hearing his name called, despite stiff competition from several other players for spots; he’s just too big, strong, and consistent.

  1. Jahmyr Gibbs (RB – Alabama)

This could have been any one of a number of prospects. Still, it seems like running backs often slip into the end of the first round, with Rashaad Penny, Sony Michel, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Travis Etienne being some recent examples; Gibbs could be the best of the bunch.

Just missed the cut: WR Zay Flowers, TE Darnell Washington, OT Darnell Wright, DE B.J. Ojulari, LB Drew Sanders, LB Trenton Simpson, DB Antonio Johnson.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

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