Only five days to go until the annual Player Selection Meeting is finally underway and the time is fast approaching to decide who exactly you want for your team on day one. All of the players on this 2023 NFL Draft Big Board are worthy selections on Friday, but only the top 18 carry early to mid-first-round grades.
Check out my most recent first-round mock draft (to be updated before the big event next week.)
2023 NFL Draft Big Board: Ranking the top 50 prospects
Grade: Early Round 1 – 6’4/236lbs
The upside in Richardson is undeniable and he is the number one player on this 2023 NFL Draft Big Board. He profiles as a bonafide superstar and possesses the highest ceiling of all the signal-callers in this year’s draft. He may not hit these lofty projections until year two or three, but he is more polished than the casual NFL Draft fan may realize.
Richardson has an exceptional arm, is much more advanced in terms of his processing than many will lead you to believe, and has legitimate “face of the NFL” potential. He may not start immediately but is a long-term investment worth taking as high as number one overall.
He plays in a system that requires him to make pre-snap adjustments, and protection calls and is closer to a pro-style offense than the schemes within which some of his draft peers have been developed.
Richardson most certainly is not the finished article but displays the sheer physical brilliance that will appeal to any franchise.
Early R1 – 6’0/222lbs
The best runner to enter the league over the last half-decade, Robinson can do it all and is an unfortunate victim of the depreciation of running backs. He deserves to be a top-five pick.
Robinson has terrific size, vision, and power through the tackle. His initial burst is excellent and is equally effective moving North/South as he is East/West.
The ex-Longhorn has a real lateral quickness and can explode to the edge on outside runs and moves through the gears smoothly in the open field, demonstrating real elusiveness.
Robinson is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield and will immediately become an upper-echelon, three-down back when he reaches the NFL.
Early R1 – 6’4/229lbs
Far too many analysts have spent too long nitpicking Levis for what he cannot do. The loss of his OC and several weapons in 2022, compounded by awful protection and a string of injuries tempered his stat line and performances last year.
The fact remains that he has effortless velocity on his throws to all levels of the field and runs a more advanced offense than some of his peers. Levis truly has a (self-proclaimed) “cannon” that is the most powerful in the class, alongside a physical profile that will tantalize evaluators, allowing him to also be a threat as a runner.
His potential is off the charts and if developed in the right environment, the sky is the limit.
Early R1 – 6’4/253lbs
Premium ability, premium collegiate background, premium character. Anderson is the safest pick in the top 10. Arguments can be made for Tyree Wilson possessing a higher upside at the position, but Anderson provides a high floor and will instantly become a leader in whichever locker room he ends up in. Production took a dip in 2022, but he remains an effective pass rusher who has a great feel for the game and he has to be closely accounted for on every snap.
Early R1 – 6’3/214lbs
Stroud was the presumptive first-overall pick as recently as a month ago, but his odds have since tumbled. Irrespective of this, he still has every claim on the top spot and is only the third-ranked QB in these rankings because he does not quite have the physical prowess or the stratospheric ceiling of Richardson or Levis.
If it is floor you are after, Stroud has it. With poise in the pocket, touch on his throws to all levels of the field, and the best accuracy in the class, the Ohio State product could end up with the most successful career of them all if he lands in the right spot.
Some concerns remain about his mobility and ability to create outside of structure, but he went some way to dispelling this projection against Georgia and that will satiate some scouts. He is also more reliant on taking his reads from the sideline than the other three signal callers in the class, but the fact remains that Stroud is well above average across all aspects of quarterback play and should be a top-ten pick.
Early R1 – 5’10/204lbs
Young is currently the odds-on favorite to go number one overall to the Carolina Panthers and it is easy to see why. A natural playmaker with an ability beyond what some simply describe as a “point guard” at the position, Young can process at a high level and throw with advanced anticipation.
He has decent mobility and can throw on the run as required, but also does a great job in keeping focussed on plays developing downfield in order to make the big play where possible. Young has a decent arm, but it does not ‘wow’ like his peers in this draft and sometimes lacks a little zip.
Having said that, he possesses excellent accuracy and will be an immediate leader within the Panthers locker room, if he is drafted with the first overall selection.
Early R1 – 6’0/181lbs
An ultra-competitive corner who hits like a freight train, Witherspoon is just so sudden and twitchy. He is one of the most exciting defensive players to watch in the draft and his style just leaps off the screen. Fluid in coverage, Witherspoon changes direction in an instant and what he lacks slightly in oily hips, he makes up for with incomparable burst and explosion. A natural playmaker, he finished with three interceptions and 14 passes defended in 2022.
Early R1 – 6’6/271
Enticing length, raw power, and a ceiling higher than Will Anderson’s, Tyree Wilson has the potential to be the first defender off the board if a team falls in love with the idea of what he could become.
He flashes on tape and if you just watch his highlights, then it would be easy to proclaim him the best player on this 2023 NFL Draft Big Board. His pass-rush fundamentals are still developing, but he is already able to beat blockers with relative ease using his lateral quickness, bend, and powerful swipe.
Will be effective rushing both off the edge and shaded inside thanks to his pterodactyl frame and ability to convert a quick first step to real power. If Wilson can become more refined with his plan of attack, he has the potential to be a real threat to QBs in the NFL and become a double-digit sack artist.
Early R1 – 6’5/333lbs
The best pure tackle in the draft. Wright may be limited to the right side, but he will become a stalwart in this position for whoever drafts him.
He is an explosive prospect and plays with considered patience utilizing his huge frame effectively. This physical ability allows him to lock on to his opponent and redirect them easily in both the pass and run game. Has better feet than expected for such a big man and finishes his blocks with an aggression that is exciting to watch.
Shut down Will Anderson during the 2022 season and is a real bully on the outside. Has a great anchor, it is nigh-on impossible to go through him, and is a powerful blocker in the run game. Best in the class in that regard.
Early R1 – 6’4/249lbs
See complete tight end rankings by clicking this link with more on why Mayer is TE1 within this 2023 NFL Draft Big Board.
The best tight end in the class. Possesses short area burst and agility with an exceptional ability to make contested catches with bodies draped all over him. Mayer has soft hands with a huge catch radius, always managing to highpoint the ball. He is an effective blocker with room to grow in this area and embraces contact. Not afraid to do the dirty work. Simply the most well-rounded tight end prospect and excels across a multitude of areas needed to play the position to an elite level.