April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri is the date and site for the 2023 NFL Draft. There is a range of exciting talents up and down the board at multiple positions but the one everyone keeps an eye on is the quarterback class. Both the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans hold the first two overall picks in this year’s draft and are expected to select the two very talented signal-callers from Alabama and Ohio State. It’s officially draft season and that means it’s time to take a look at the talent whose name will be called to walk across that stage, starting with the men under center.
2023 NFL Draft: Top Five Quarterback Prospects
1. Bryce Young (Alabama)
Despite his overall frame raising some eyebrows, Bryce Young has a real chance to go number one overall as the most talented quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. He threw for 3,328 yards with 32 touchdowns to only five interceptions at Alabama last season. This comes after a Heisman Trophy campaign in 2021 that saw him throw for 4,872 yards and a whopping 47 touchdowns with only seven interceptions.
Young has a lot of tools in his arsenal that make him the best playmaking passer at the position. He has shown patience and willingness in the pocket, stepping up and forcing the ball downfield with great anticipation. Not only does his patience pay off in the pocket, but it allows him to escape and avoid pressure with ease when he’s in trouble. Young puts his exceptional creativity on display, extending plays when he needs to and finding the open man with his mix of arm strength and accuracy. Weather it’s the Panthers or the Texans, Young can be a quarterback that leads a team into future success.
2. C.J. Stroud (Ohio State)
It’s possible that the Panthers select Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud with the number one overall pick over Young. Size, arm strength, and decision making is the trifecta that teams fall over for at the position and that’s exactly what Stroud displays. To go with the arm strength, he has a great touch on his deep ball and can throw it with accuracy. Stroud not only shows desired skills as a passer but he has great athleticism with his legs. When a lane opens up, he takes off quickly and can do it with his speed.
With some development, Stroud can become one of the best all-around quarterbacks in the league sooner rather than later. While he didn’t win it, he placed fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2021 with 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns to only six interceptions while throwing for 3,688 yards and 41 touchdowns to only six interceptions in 2022, placing third in the voting. If Stroud is put into a good situation with pieces around him for the future, he can lead a team to something special.
3. Will Levis (Kentucky)
Will Levis has impressed a lot of people in college and even more at his pro day due to his arm strength and athleticism. Many teams believe he has the strongest arm of any quarterback in the 2023 class. Mix that with his 6-foot-3, 229 pound-frame that allows him to take contact while having good mobility with speed, and he is a very desirable pick for the upcoming NFL Draft.
There is some concern among some teams that his decision-making on field isn’t up to par with the rest of his talent but there’s no doubt that they think the world of his skill set. If he can land in a good position with talent around him on offense, that will go a long way into improving that part of his game and make him a dangerous weapon. At Kentucky, he was exposed to a pro-style type offense, which could help him succeed quicker at the next level. He’s a tough player with a lot of gifts that will guide him moving forward if he can clean up parts of his game.
4. Anthony Richardson (Florida)
The upside for Anthony Richardson is through the roof. There’s a lot to be excited about with the Florida product. A pair of attributes that stand out above the rest are his elite arm strength and athleticism. Due to that fact, Richardson has a lot of areas in which he excels pretty well at. One of those is his elusiveness, allowing him to buy time inside the pocket to lockdown his targets downfield while also using that to escape the pocket and become a huge threat in the run game with his speed and agility.
Not only does Richardson’s quick release make him a desirable option, but his vision downfield while also being able to throw on the run makes him that much more dangerous. He still has some room to improve his game like sharpening up his decision-making and being able to read what’s happening around him in certain circumstances but despite those flaws, Richardson’s high ceiling is well worth the wait.
5. Hendon Hooker (Tennessee)
Despite a torn ACL late in the season for Tennessee, many believe Hendon Hooker could be on track to play in week one if he earned QB1 status. Out of all the quarterbacks in this class, Hooker has a chance to have a better overall career under center. With veteran-like experience and already at age 25, he is a step ahead of anyone in terms of maturity on the field.
Ever since transferring to Tennessee in 2021, Hooker has improved his game to get into the position he’s in. He threw for 2,945 yards with 31 touchdowns and only three interceptions his first year with the Volunteers. That was followed up with a 3,100+ yard season to go along 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Hooker has great field vision and can make good, quick decisions effectively but that isn’t limited to the passing game. While he has the athleticism to extend plays, he also can make the smart play and effectively run when needed. The 25-year-old is an exciting prospect for any team in need of a potential quality arm.
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