2023 NFL Draft: Top 50 Big Board and Positional Rankings

We are in the home stretch. The 2023 NFL draft is just one day away. I am putting the finishing touches on my work for this draft cycle and starting to peak ahead to 2024 as well.

With so much being finalized, I am putting together my final rankings for this class. My overall impression is that this group is on par with last year’s draft, which puts it firmly behind the 2021 draft class. There will be some diamonds in the rough as always, but it is not as dominant a group as I think many had hoped for entering this cycle.

If you are looking for my final player rankings, you can scroll to the bottom. I have also added the links to all of the scouting reports I have published on the site this year. Enjoy!

1. Bryce Young, Alabama
2. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
3. Anthony Richardson, Florida
4. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
5. Will Levis, Kentucky

We have picked these quarterbacks to death at this stage. Young comes out in front for me as the most polished of any of the quarterbacks in this class. His stature holds him back from being an elite prospect, but he brings everything else you want to the table. Stroud is a close second for me. His poise, accuracy and touch make him a prototypical fit for the NFL. Richardson is all about potential. He has a rocket arm and incredible athleticism. If he can put it all together, he will be a star. It is a huge risk though, because he could just as easily be out of the league in four years. Hooker is a much better player at present than Richardson, but he is 25 and coming off a torn ACL. Levis is a bit of a tricky evaluation, but for all the splash plays, he is not a starting-caliber quarterback right now. This is a decent quarterback class, with a few intriguing late-round prospects as well.

Running Back
1. Bijan Robinson, Texas
2. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
3. Tyjae Spears, Tulane
4. Zach Charbonnett, UCLA
5. Devon Achane, Texas A&M

Arguably the deepest position group in this draft, there are a ton of running backs who play meaningful roles over the next few seasons. Robinson is a borderline generational prospect, perhaps earning that presidential tag instead. His contact balance, change of direction and power make him the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley. Gibbs is a speedy player with soft hands and impressive agility. He is a major liability as a pass blocker though. Spears can do it all and demonstrated that time and time again during this draft cycle. Charbonnett is a finished product who can contribute from Day 1. I don’t know if he will ever be one of the top backs in the league, but I think he has a few Pro Bowls in him. Achane is surprisingly powerful for a back his size. He posted the fastest time at the combine as well. There are a ton of other running backs that likely would have found their way into the Top 100 of my rankings if I went that far. It is a good year to need some help in the backfield.

Wide Receiver
1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
2. Zay Flowers, Boston College
3. Jordan Addison, USC
4. Quentin Johnston, TCU
5. Josh Downs, UNC

Smith-Njigba seemed like he might be on the path to being a top-five pick when the season began. Instead, injuries cost him pretty much the entire season. He is still my favorite receiver this year. Flowers is undersized, but plays bigger. He will be a reliable playmaker at the next level. Addison is a crafty player with tons of college production. If he is allowed to play in the slot, he will flourish. Johnston is an exciting blend of size and speed. Downs is a smooth operator and has great hands. He has been overlooked in this class in my opinion. This receiver class is deep, just like it seems to be almost every year. It does not have the same type of top-end talent as years past, but there is plenty of quality to be found in the middle rounds of this draft.

Tight End
1. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
2. Dalton Kincaid, Utah
3. Darnell Washington, Georgia
4. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
5. Sam LaPorta, Iowa

After a few years of fairly disappointing tight end classes, the 2023 group should deliver some high-quality starters. Mayer is the top option for me. There is nothing flashy about his game, but he is rock solid and well-rounded. Kincaid is about as polished as they come from a receiving aspect. He leaves a bit to be desired as a blocker. Washington is a converted offensive tackle playing tight end. He is an incredible athlete, but it might take a year or two before he is able to impact the game at a high level. Musgrave is a bit unrefined still and coming off a knee injury that ended his 2022 season, but there is a lot to like about his body of work. LaPorta is the latest Iowa tight end to catch the attention of NFL scouts. The fact that he eclipsed 600 yards receiving in the Hawkeyes anemic passing offense is a testament to his skill. All five of them should be drafted before the end of the second round and there are a few who could join them as well.

Offensive Tackle
1. Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
2. Broderick Jones, Georgia
3. Darnell Wright, Tennessee
4. Anton Harrison, Oklahoma
5. Dawand Jones, Ohio State

This tackle class has some shortcomings. There is not a ton of depth and certainly no elite prospects to match that of Penei Sewell. Still there should be some decent options for teams looking to fill the position. Johnson stands out to me from the rest. He has experience at both right guard and left tackle. He has the size, length and athleticism to contend at the next level. Jones is likely the most polished pass blocker of the group. He did not allow a sack in the 2022 campaign. He has room to add to his frame, but he more than held his own at Georgia over the past two seasons. Wright has drawn a lot of praise during the pre-draft process. He is the top right tackle on the board. He is very powerful, but still has some room to improve his technique. Harrison is an experienced option who should be more than capable of stepping and competing from Day 1. Jones is a massive man, measuring 6’8″, 374 pounds with 36-inch arms. He will need to prove that he has the stamina and movement skills to survive at tackle in the NFL.

Interior Offensive Line
1. Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
2. Steve Avila, TCU
3. John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
4. O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
5. Joe Tippmann, Wisconsin

Many believe Skoronski can be a tackle at the next level. However, he has 32-inch arms, which is in the 4th percentile for NFL tackles. I worry about his ability to contend with long, bendy edge rushers in the NFL. He also has a background on the interior, being recruited to Northwestern as a center. Avila flew under the radar for many in this draft process, but has been getting some late buzz. Schmitz is my top center in this class. He is rock solid and recently began drawing comparisons to Chiefs All-Pro center Creed Humphrey. Torrence proved he could hold his own in the SEC after spending three years at Louisiana. He should be a plug-and-play option. Tippmann is a good athlete who brings above-average power to the table. He is a center by trade, but I could see him being an option at guard as well.

Edge Rusher
1. Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
2. Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
3. Nolan Smith, Georgia
4. Myles Murphy, Clemson
5. Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

If you need a pass rusher, this is your year to cash in. Anderson headlines a stacked class. He has incredible college production and seems like a natural-born leader. If there is a player in this class I am willing to bet will end up with a gold jacket one day, it is him. Wilson is a long, athletic disruptor off the edge. He is rock solid against the run and has some good production as a pass rusher. Smith’s college career came to an abrupt end with a torn pectoral muscle, but he is a twitchy player off the edge with the right tools to be a long-term difference maker. Murphy is still a bit raw, but his athleticism is really impressive. He has an incredibly high ceiling, but will need some good coaching to get there. Van Ness is a unique case coming from Iowa, where Kirk Ferentz insists on starting seniors. He has some good tape, but I do have some questions about his ability to be an every down player, simply because we haven’t seen it from him yet. If we are going by athleticism and power though, there is no doubt he will find a way to be impactful. All five of those players are ranked in my top 18 prospects. This is a really dynamic group with depth behind it. I have eight edge rushers in my top 50.

Interior Defensive Line
1. Jalen Carter, Georgia
2. Bryan Bresee, Clemson
3. Mazi Smith, Michigan
4. Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
5. Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

There is a big gap between Carter and the rest of this group, which says more about him than anything else. He is the most physically talented player in this class. However, an arrest for reckless driving and a lack of on-field production raise enough question marks to keep him out of the generational prospect conversation for me. I still love his ability and think he will translate well to the next level. Bresee never quite lived up to the hype at Clemson. A COVID-shortened season and a torn ACL in 2021 largely hampered his ability to deliver on being the top recruit in the 2020 class. Still, he had a strong combine and I believe his best football is ahead of him. Smith is a dynamic athlete, who topped Bruce Feldman’s 2022 “Freaks” list. Former No. 1 designees include Evan Neal, Kwity Paye and Tristan Wirfs, if that means anything. Kancey has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald, but I don’t think he has the same play strength as his fellow Pitt Panther. He is undersized and has short arms, which makes him a liability in the run game, but he certainly makes a big impact as a pass rusher. Benton is essentially the opposite of that, playing with great power and length, but lacking the same high-end athletic traits. This is a pretty solid group with some quality depth behind it.

Off-Ball Linebacker
1. Drew Sanders, Arkansas
2. Jack Campbell, Iowa
3. Trenton Simpson, Clemson
4. Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama
5. Owen Pappoe, Auburn

Much like running backs, NFL teams don’t quite value off-ball linebackers the way they used to. There are still good players at the position, you just don’t see them drafted as highly. I don’t expect any linebackers to be selected in the first-round this year, but I think we should see several come off the board on Day 2. That starts with Sanders. The Alabama transfer flies around the field and made a big impact in the middle of that Arkansas defense in 2022. Campbell is one of my favorite players in this draft. He has excellent instincts and great athleticism to make the play. The lackluster 40 time at the combine does not worry me. Simpson is another athletic prospect, but he needs a bit more refining before he is ready to start in the NFL. To’oTo’o has loads of experience after starting for both Tennessee and Alabama over the past four years. However, he lacks the elite athleticism to push himself higher up draft boards. Pappoe simply wowed me at the combine and I would be willing to gamble on his athletic upside.

1. Devon Weatherspoon, Illinois
2. Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
3. Deonte Banks, Maryland
4. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
5. Julius Brents, Kansas State

Corner is always one of my favorite position groups to evaluate this year and this group did not disappoint. Each of my top five corners brings something a little different to the table. Weatherspoon plays downhill and his aggressive play style is rewarded more often than not. Porter has uncommon length for the position, allowing him to make up for any technique missteps. If he can refine his technique and footwork a bit, I think he will be one of the best corners in the league. Banks has impressive speed on the outside. Even when he is beat off the line, he is never really out of a play. Gonzalez has great length and routinely has himself in the right position. However, he will need to get stronger if he is going to survive in the NFL. Brents is one of “my guys” in this class. I love his blend of size and agility. He posted the best three-cone and 20-yard shuttle time of any corner at the combine. In fact, the only player to beat his times at any position was Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

1. Sydney Brown, Illinois
2. Brian Branch, Alabama
3. Jartavius Martin, Illinois
4. Ji’Ayir Brown, Penn State
5. Christopher Smith, Georgia

It would be easy to look at this safety group and say it was disappointing. Only Brown cracks my top 50. However, there is a lot of depth to the position this year. Branch, Martin and both Browns should be Day 2 picks. Smith will likely end up going on Day 3, but he is a personal favorite. Brown and Martin left quite the impression at Illinois. Brown tore up the combine and should have the speed to contend at the next level. Martin has experience at outside corner, safety and nickel corner. His versatility and athleticism should serve him well in the NFL. Branch is another versatile player, with experience in the slot and at safety. He had a really strong career at Alabama, but his athleticism could end up letting him down in the pros. Brown is coming off a productive career at Penn State and has the right instincts to continue that success. Smith is a playmaker and another guy I think deserves more love in this class. He isn’t a great athlete, which could hold him back, but he was a key piece on the back end of that Georgia defense that won back-to-back titles.

Final Big Board
1. Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
2. Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia
3. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
4. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
5. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
6. Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
7. Devon Weatherspoon, CB, Illinois
8. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
9. Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
10. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
11. Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
12. Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
13. Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
14. Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
15. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
16. Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
17. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
18. Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
19. Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
20. Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
21. Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
22. Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
23. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
24. Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
25. Jordan Addison, WR, USC
26. Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
27. Steve Avila, G, TCU
28. Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State
29. Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
30. Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
31. Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
32. Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
33. Mazi Smith, DL, Michigan
34. Felix Anduike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
35. John Michael Schmitz, OL, Minnesota
36. Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
37. Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
38. Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
39. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
40. O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
41. B.J. Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
42. Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh
43. Josh Downs, WR, UNC
44. Sydney Brown, S, Illinois
45. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
46. Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
47. Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State
48. D.J. Turner, CB, Michigan
49. Keelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
50. Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss


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