While the 2022 NFL draft class have not yet taken the field, teams and fans alike are already keeping an eye on the best college and high school football players ahead of the 2023 draft, scheduled to take place on the weekend of April 27th – 29th in Kansas City.
Over 10 million viewers watch the first night of the NFL draft every year. While those figures pale in comparison to the Super Bowl, you can bet industry insiders are all glued to their screens. Pundits endlessly pore over pick possibilities in the lead-up and will start speculating on how new arrivals will contribute to their franchise the second a draftee puts on his new team’s cap for the cameras.
Price-setters have a hectic weekend with the latest Ladbrokes NFL betting odds updating constantly as newly-minted professionals step off the draft board and into the league. Fans become armchair GMs as their teams select youngsters, and of course they all saw the GOAT potential in Tom Brady, taken 199th out of 254 overall in 2000 and knew that year’s top selection, Penn State’s Courtney Brown, would be a bust at the Cleveland Browns.
Before everyone takes the opportunity to become Captain Hindsight, let’s take a look at three of the most highly tipped youngsters who’ll be eligible for the 2023 draft.
The Alabama quarterback would likely have been the top ranked signal caller in this year’s draft had he been eligible, but NFL rules that a player must be at least three years out of high school will see him return to the Crimson Tide for his junior year season. Young’s sophomore season (he spent his freshman year as backup to now-Patriot Mac Jones) was impressive. He threw for 559 yards against Arkansas, breaking a school record that had stood for over 50 years. The SEC Championship game MVP, SEC Offensive POTY, Manning Award and Heisman Trophy followed, making Young’s projected position at the top of many draft boards unsurprising.
If Young has competition to be 2023’s premier pick at QB, then it comes in the shape of Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Similar to Young, Stroud spent his freshman year as backup – to Chicago Bear Justin Fields – and got the starting shout from Day 1 of his second year. A Cali kid in the Ohio winter, Stroud had questions raised around his temperament when the Buckeyes lost their final regular season game to deadly rivals Michigan. However he answered those handsomely, bouncing back from a 14-point deficit to take the Rose Bowl 48-45 over Utah in one of the biggest occasions in college football.
Elite edge rushers have gone high in recent drafts – Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchison went first and second overall in 2022 – as the position becomes increasingly prestigious. Clemson sophomore Murphy contributed instantly in his first freshman outing at defensive end, making seven tackles and two sacks on his debut. At 6’5 and 275lbs, the Marietta native has an NFL-ready stature at just 20 years old. Come the start of the 2023 season, the kid that Sports Illustrated reports is nicknamed ‘Spiderman’ will be looking to have Young and Stroud be the latest in a succession of quarterbacks he makes wish they’d never picked up a football.
Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr and Georgia’s Nolan Smith should also feature as future first-rounders, as ability to pressure opposition QBs shows no sign of shifting from the top of pro GM’s wishlists.
Draft night can be bittersweet. Organizations get the best picks by having the most dismal season prior. Good drafting means the chances of franchises returning to the top of the draft pile diminish, although a couple of miserable campaigns saw the Jacksonville Jaguars beat those odds and take first overall pick in 2021 and 2022. Surely they can’t make it a hat-trick? So, commiserations, and congratulations to the teams who’ll be recruiting these future stars next April.
2 responses to “TOP PROSPECTS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE 2023 NFL DRAFT”
I’ve always admired the draft. Is it true that college football is bigger than the NFL in the states? I wish we had something like this, however I wouid like to go watch one of the UK NFL games. I’m still not 100% used to the rules yet ha
Regarding college football, it gets more TOTAL attendance nationwide than NFL games do, but that’s because there are so many college teams. Even the most out of the way places in America have college teams nearby to root for, that’s why I cover divisions like the NAIA, NCCAA, Division Two and Division Three.