top of page

2023 NFL Draft - Quarterback Big Board

(Mandatory Photo Credit: Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch / USA Today)

Written by: Joseph Yun

The last significant event of the offseason draft process is over, with the Combine wrapped up and Pro Days looming. Finally, after a long season and subsequent offseason to evaluate the quarterback class, it’s time for the pecking order for the most critical position in global sport to reveal itself. So who are the top ten signal callers of the 2023 class? Where are the likely landing spots for this top-heavy class? How many of these prospects will end up being franchise-altering passers?

Note: All statistics courtesy of college football reference and RAS courtesy of Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb)

1. CJ Stroud | 6’3 218 | Ohio State | Junior

- Stroud is the top quarterback in the class by a smidgen over Bryce Young. He was a little less productive in terms of attempts and yards as a 2022 junior after an outstanding 2021 campaign. The Combine was the brilliant final episode of the Stroud 2023 collegiate epoch after he put on a passing performance for the ages. This was after a dominant performance that fell just short of upsetting the reigning national champions, Georgia. One could surmise that was a nice cherry topping, much like Justin Herbert’s final Rose Bowl show, where he finally unleashed his true potential as a dual threat. He has the arm talent to make every throw in the book on top of his plus-plus football IQ to diagnose everything to make the play quickly. The ball placement and accuracy are at an elite level. Ultra productive in two years as the starter, with 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns to match his 69% completion rate. Pocket manipulation is above average as well. There are some feelings that Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day could’ve been better served to delegate the controls of the offense to a true OC and focus on being a CEO type.

2022 Statistics: 285 / 389 (66%), 3,688 yards; 41 Touchdowns and six interceptions

Player / RAS Comp: Derek Carr

Round Projection: Top 5

2. Bryce Young | 5’10 201 | Alabama | Junior

- Young declined to do anything on the field related at the Combine, so the lack of RAS for him. He measured in at 201 pounds, a significant point of contention daily for the past year. The former Alabama passer was a highly decorated collegian, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2021, among many other awards. He has scheme versatility as he’s had different offensive coordinators in his career, most recently a more pro-centric style under Bill O’Brien. He’s a solid athlete who can manipulate the pocket at an impressive level and extend on the perimeter at an elite level. While not in the top-tier arm range in the big leagues, he has enough to make all the throws to every field level without hesitation. He also has pinpoint accuracy at every level, including throwing for 2,194 yards and 22 touchdowns (71%) in short to the intermediate passing game. The signal caller sometimes had to carry the entire offense due to a lack of consistent receivers. Much will be made of his size comparisons to Kyler Murray, but he compares favorably to a college version of Michael Vick. He’s engaged in a tough tit-for-tat battle for QB1 with C.J. Stroud and should be no worse than a top-five selection.

2022 Statistics: 245 / 380 (64%), 3,328 yards; 32 touchdowns and five interceptions

Player / RAS Comp: A more refined Michael Vick

Round Projection: Top 5

3. Anthony Richardson | 6’4 235 | Florida | Redshirt Junior

- Richardson is the quarterback prospect with the most intrigue in quite some time with his Combine performance of a lifetime. While his athletic gifts are unassailable, his decision-making and accuracy are inconsistent, as the counting stats bear out. He’s inexperienced compared to his likely first-round colleagues, as he’s played in 22 games in his career. History has not been kind to those passers who have failed to surpass the 60% accuracy mark in college. His athletic traits are remarkable, like the cannon arm and the wild 4.4 speed on top of the prototypical build. A team in the top ten will take a leap of faith in coaching his deficiencies while his traits keep him afloat. There’s a solid chance he even goes first overall; however unlikely he will leap ahead of the other two passers. The physical tools are intriguing, but can he jump to pro-level IQ and decision-making? He compares to former starter turned backup expert Blaine Gabbert as a player. The size and athleticism compare to highly underrated former Viking / Dolphins passer Daunte Culpepper.

2022 Statistics: 176 / 327 (53%), 2,549 yards; 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions

Player Comp: Blaine Gabbert

RAS Comp: Daunte Culpepper

Round Projection: Top 10

4. Will Levis | 6’4 229 | Kentucky | Redshirt Senior

- Levis showed out at the Combine, impressing everyone with all his throws, but the tape was inconsistent in the best of situations. He has the arm to make all the throws at the next level. PFF stated he was 110 / 160 (68%) and had 16 touchdowns in the short to intermediate passing windows. The former Penn State transfer was a tempting prospect in Happy Valley but couldn’t beat out a “lesser” prospect in Sean Clifford. He transferred to Kentucky, where he shined in 2021 but fell off a bit in 2022. As seen at the Combine, he has a compact throwing motion that’s efficient and velocious. He compares as a player to former NFL veteran Jay Cutler. The former Wildcats signal-caller tends to trust in his arm talent, which causes unforced turnovers at times, much like Cutler once did. An underrated and sneaky athlete who can run a bit when things break down. He has the size, arm talent, and athleticism to lure a team into a top ten selection, if not top five.

2022 Statistics: 185 / 283 (65%), 2,406 yards; 19 touchdowns and ten interceptions

Player / RAS Comp: Jay Cutler / Jordan Love

Round Projection: Top 15

5. Hendon Hooker | 6’3 217 | Tennessee | Senior

- Hooker was on track to bring home the Heisman Trophy to Knoxville until an unfortunate ACL tear late in the season. He hasn’t been able to do anything since the injury but did attend the Senior Bowl and the Combine to interview and go through the other processes. It’s been reported that he’s on track to return in time for the regular season opener. The former Volunteer passer might need a redshirt season to heal properly and learn the nuances of being a pro quarterback. Tennessee’s offense isn’t the most conducive to fully translating to the NFL ranks. It’s a spread Air Raid attack that Josh Heupel learned from Mike Leach. He has an above-average arm to make the throws required of him. The veteran transferred from Virginia Tech in 2021 and immediately became a team leader, entrenching himself as the guy early on. He was on track to be at least an early Day 2 selection before the injury, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up. Stylistically, he compares to former Eagles / Commanders veteran Donovan McNabb. Athletically and size-wise, he could be compared to former Hawai’i passer Cole McDonald.

2022 Statistics: 229 / 329 (70%), 3,135 yards; 27 touchdowns and two interceptions

Player / RAS Comp: Donovan McNabb / Cole McDonald

Round Projection: Third to Fourth

6. Tanner McKee | 6’6 231 | Stanford | Junior

- If there ever was a quarterback that could come straight out of ancient casting central, McKee is that dude. He’s certainly not the most athletic passer in the class and gets in trouble due to a lack of athleticism. The former Stanford passer had a middling Combine performance, which did no wonders for his stock. Regardless, there’s potential in his sufficient arm to become a backup-level quarterback who can start in a pinch now and then. In a day and age where mobility is the name of the game, he just doesn’t have it in copious amounts to thrive in an improv situation. Stylistically, he compares to Sean Mannion, but as the RAS indicates, he favors Steven Montez athletically. Based on the arm strength, a team will likely take him relatively early on Day 3 to further mold his pocket awareness.

2022 Statistics: 264 / 426 (62%), 2,947 yards; 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions

Player Comp: Sean Mannion

RAS Comp: Steven Montez

Round Projection: Fourth to Fifth

7. Jake Haener 6’0 208 | Fresno State | Graduate Senior

- Haener had an interesting 2022, as he originally committed to transfer to Washington to follow his former coach, Kalen DeBoer, before returning to Fresno. Believe it or not, it wasn’t his first rodeo with the Huskies; it was his first school. The 2022 campaign was a downturn for him as he suffered statistically in every counting stat from 2021. He’s undersized and doesn’t have the best arm strength. His calling card is impeccable accuracy at all field levels despite the lack of arm talent to get it there. When the timing is right, he’s generally on point, but off-platform throws are his ultimate downfall as a prospect. He’s a tough hombre, battling through injury regardless of the score. He compares to the Patriots' rookie Bailey Zappe, who had cameo runs as Mac Jones faltered due to offensive staff incompetency. He profiles like a competent long-term backup who can make a start or two in relief for a veteran starter as a late-round selection.

2022 Statistics: 252 / 350 (72%), 2,896 yards; 20 touchdowns and three interceptions

Player / RAS Comp: Bailey Zappe

Round Projection: Sixth to Seventh

8. Max Duggan | 6’1 207 | TCU | Senior

- Duggan clocked the second-fastest 40-yard time behind Richardson and just ahead of Louisville’s Malik Cunningham. He’s a good athlete who can get out on the perimeter or run the option game if needed. The question for Duggan is how will the Dykes version of the Air Raid translate to the pro level. According to PFF, TCU’s passing attack was a vast majority of screen-to-intermediate plays, which accounted for 75% of his 419 attempts. Interestingly, most of his statistical production was on the field's intermediate to the deep part of the field. He has the arm a tier below the bigger names in the class but can make every throw when asked. 2022 was his most productive season. He profiles similarly to Matt Corral of Ole Miss fame as a player. Athletically, he’s on a similar level to former Iowa passer C.J. Beathard. The former TCU point man should be a middle to late Day 3 selection who could stick around in the league for a few seasons as a backup turned occasional starter.

2022 Statistics: 267 / 419 (64%), 3,698 yards; 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions

Player Comp: Matt Corral

RAS Comp: C.J. Beathard

Round Projection: Seventh

9. Dorian Thompson-Robinson | 6’1 191 | UCLA | Redshirt Senior

- DTR is finally in the draft class after four years of relatively inconsistent play and one outstanding season. He’s a solid enough athlete to run around and make things happen on a great arm in the right system. Chip Kelly unlocked his potential in 2022, leading the Bruins' electric offense to within a hair of a Pac-12 title appearance. He’s been in the 60s regarding completion percentage but was highly inconsistent from year to year. The former UCLA passer is full of intrigue as a developmental starter that could be as high as the fifth round but will likely settle into the sixth to the seventh round range. As a player, he compares to seemingly eternal backup Chase Daniel but athletically resembles Geno Smith.

2022 Statistics: 266 / 382 (69%), 3,169 yards; 27 touchdowns and ten interceptions

Player Comp: Chase Daniel

RAS Comp: Geno Smith

Round Projection: Sixth to Seventh

10. Clayton Tune | 6’2 216 | Houston | Redshirt Senior

- Tune was a prolific passer in the Dana Holgerson Air Raid attack, posting an awe-inspiring 11,944 yards and 104 touchdowns to 41 interceptions at a 64% completion rate. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, so a system similar to the famed Shanahan branch of the west coast offense will do him wonders. Houston’s passing extraordinaire is an above-average athlete who can surprise some defenders, as the RAS indicates. Athletically, he resembles longtime NFL veteran Tyrod Taylor. As for his player and production comparison, he profiles similar to another longtime backup and former Texas legend Colt McCoy. The former Houston passer projects as a long-term serviceable backup who can start in a pinch. A team could take a chance on that in the latter stages of the draft if not a priority UDFA deal.

2022 Statistics: 334 / 496 (67%), 4,074 yards; 40 touchdowns and ten interceptions

Player Comp: Colt McCoy

RAS Comp: Tyrod Taylor

Round Projection: Seventh to UDFA

bottom of page