2023 NFL Draft Rankings: Quarterbacks
The 2022 college football regular season has officially come to an end, and this weekend brings about Championship Saturday for the college scene. This weekend has implications for many bowl games, including those involved in the College Football Playoff. Before we get into it, here’s an updated look at some of the 2023 NFL Draft rankings, and we get started with the quarterbacks.
1. Bryce Young (Alabama)
Bryce Young has the charisma around him of being a winner, and that certainly helps his draft stock. However, his skillset is certainly the most NFL ready in 2023. He’s a smaller player at 6’0 and under 200 pounds, but guys like Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray seem to have broken the stigma that used to surround smaller QBs.
The production in 2022 may have taken a step back from his Heisman season of 2021, and part of that is due to the shoulder injury he suffered early in the year. That being said, putting up over 3000 yards and 27 TDs through the air in 11 games is still incredible numbers, The fact that this is a “down year” for Young goes to show why he should be the favorite to be QB1 next April.
2. C.J. Stroud (Ohio State)
In 2003, and maybe even in 2013, CJ Stroud would be the top QB prospect in this draft. However, this is the day and age of the mobile QB, and Stroud simply isn’t that. He can have all the accuracy and arm strength in the world, but if he can’t find ways to move inside and outside the pocket to avoid the ever-growing athleticism of today’s pass rushers, his value is limited.
Now, this doesn’t mean Stroud won’t be a successful QB in the NFL. He’ll likely be drafted in the top five because of his combination of accuracy, arm strength, and size. He’s the prototypical pocket passer that has impeccable touch on his passes.
Either way, he’ll be long off the board by the time the Vikings are picking unless something drastic happens. Fans in Minnesota shouldn’t hold out too much hope for either of the top two suiting up in purple any time soon.
3. Hendon Hooker (Tennessee)
An ACL tear likely drops Hendon Hooker to the lower end of the first round, or perhaps even into the second or third rounds of April’s Draft. However, the way he’s shown out this year for Tennessee in his second season with the program is outstanding.
Over the two years with the Volunteers, he’s put up 6080 yards passing, 58 TDs, and just 5 INTs. That’s absurd production in just 24 games, especially against SEC opponents.
Of course, Hooker’s final collegiate season ended on a sour note with the injury and loss to South Carolina, but overall, the body of work speaks for itself. Hooker is an accurate thrower, and he is always a threat to take off and run as well. He may be best suited to sit out his rookie year and make sure his knee fully heals, but he’ll find success in the NFL.
4. Anthony Richardson (Florida)
The Florida Gators QB and his draft stock may be the most hot-button topic in the NFL Draft world right now. Is he worthy of a first-round pick now? Should he go back to school for another year to develop? Would Will Levis be a better NFL fit right now?
The physical traits are all there, which gives me hope for his potential as an NFL QB. The arm strength is there as well as size and speed that will make him a burden for defenses as a scrambler.
However, the accuracy as a passer is a constant concern right now. He doesn’t complete throws at a regular rate, and while his receivers haven’t helped him, Richardson needs to improve this accuracy once he gets to the NFL level.
Because of this need to develop, I’d hesitate to take him in the first-round, especially for a team that needs a QB to step in as the immediate starter. However, if he’s given time to sit behind a starter for a year or even two, the traits are there to become a starter. If the Vikings take a chance on a QB this spring, it should be either Richardson or Hendon Hooker.
5. Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)
When Washington has needed a big performance from their senior QB this year, Michael Penix Jr. has always delivered. He put up over 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Oregon when they were ranked #6 in the country.
The transfer from Indiana has lit up box scores for the Huskies all season long, and he helped Washington reach the AP Top 10 for the first time since 2018 after the Huskies went 4-8 in 2021. Penix’s arm strength is adequate for an NFL prospect, and he brings terrific mobility like most of the QBs in this class.
That said, it remains to be seen exactly how translatable this success is to the NFL, especially as a passer. Washington has a terrific o-line which gives him plenty of time to throw on just about every snap. They also have the advantage of playing in the PAC-12 with a spread-out offense, and that style of play isn’t necessarily conducive to how offenses work in the NFL.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.