The 2022 College Football Season is now in full swing, and through four weeks we’re now starting to see some risers and fallers from our preseason draft boards. Here are five 2023 NFL Draft prospects that have boosted their draft stock through the season’s first four weeks.
Five 2023 NFL Draft Risers Through Four Weeks
Michael Penix Jr, Quarterback, Washington
Michael Penix Jr. on throws 10+ yards (Power 5):
🐶36 completions (1st)
🐶884 yards (1st)
🐶8 TDs/0 INTs
Don’t 😴 on @UW_Football pic.twitter.com/eobXyIZnXc
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 27, 2022
Michael Penix, Jr. being on this list probably isn’t a surprise to anyone, but I couldn’t leave him off. The Indiana transfer has been electric for the #15 ranked Washington Huskies, with a touchdown/interception ratio of 12:1, and leading the nation in passing yards with 1388 through four games. The Penix buzz started when he led the Huskies to a 39-28 upset victory over #11 Michigan State Spartans, where he threw for 397 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The main concern with Michael Penix Jr will always be his health. He has yet to play over six games in a season, dealing with minor and significant injuries every year. If he can have a full, healthy season, he could continue to be a hot riser throughout the year, as he’s shown he has an NFL-Level arm, a 6’3″ 214-pound frame, and uses his legs when needed to extend plays.
D.J Uiagalelei, Quarterback, Clemson
It looks like the D.J. Uiagalelei we saw in 2020 is back. After an extremely disappointing 2021 season, the former five-star recruit has rebounded with a very stellar start to the 2022 campaign, throwing for 1033 yards, 10 touchdowns, and only one interception so far through four weeks. Uiagalelei’s most notable performance thus far came against Wake Forest in week four, leading Clemson to a thrilling overtime win and tossing five touchdowns while doing so.
The talent has never been in question with D.J. Uiagalelei. He has one of the strongest arms in the nation and also can throw with great touch. But this season we’ve seen him improve significantly in the areas that he really struggled with in 2021. He looks more confident as a passer, he is seeing the field much better, and has cut down on the turnovers. There’s still a ways to go before Uiagalelei can be considered a legit NFL prospect, but he absolutely is rising up boards, and he could make a big statement in week five against #10 ranked NC State.
Johnny Wilson, Receiver, Florida State
Florida State struck gold this offseason by bringing in former Arizona State receiver Johnny Wilson. Wilson, through four games, has 13 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns. His best game came when he went off against Louisville for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and did I mention that he is 6’7″, 235 pounds?
The value Johnny Wilson brings as a red zone weapon, contested catches, and an underrated ability to create separation will have every team needing a receiver looking Wilson’s way. And with a new home in Tallahassee and a growing connection with star quarterback Jordan Travis, Wilson could see his stock rise as a potential day two prospect when it’s all said and done.
Charlie Jones, Receiver, Purdue
Charlie Jones is another receiver that has been making noise across college football with his flaming hot start. Through four games, Jones has had 41 receptions for 533 yards and seven touchdowns, with career highs in receptions and yards already. The former walk-on is believed to run in the 4.3s, and that speed really shows up on tape. With the top end of this receiver class not performing as well as expected so far, Charlie Jones should be a name to keep an eye out for as the season continues.
Derick Hall, Edge, Auburn
Last, but certainly not least, is edge rusher Derick Hall from Auburn. One of my favorite prospects in this class, the former four-star recruit started his season off with a bang for the Tigers and is very quickly rising into the potential first-round pick conversation. Hall had a phenomenal week four game against Missouri, posting a stat line of six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, and an interception, and also received honors as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week.
Hall’s top strengths come in his technique as a pass rusher. He is extremely good at using his hands to shed blocks and create pressure and has a very high motor. Derick Hall’s high-end talent will be on full display in the coming weeks, and he could continue to turn heads as Auburn’s next three games are SEC showdowns against LSU, Georgia, and Ole Miss.