2023 Rookie Class Preview
Everyone has been blabbing about why 2023 is such a great draft class, but not everyone has taken the time to truly get to know what kind of talent and depth this next group will offer. Today I want to showcase just what we may be seeing next offseason and the likelihood of each player deciding to declare or stay.
First, let me show a way-too-early mock draft for this next class. Superflex purposes with a small tight end premium are the basis of this outlook.
Many of the names across devy leagues litter the first round. Even so, the second round holds a lot of promise with the receivers we like from this class. Let me clarify that I will address all the quarterbacks we see in this mock draft as it will not be that way next April. If you can still get any 23 1sts in deals, it will be worth it even if it belongs to a contender. Superflex leagues will cause another talent to end up in the late first-round there.
Let me start with the question mark of the group. Below is a breakdown of each prospect.
Young and Stroud look set to repeat crazy good performances in their third seasons leading to a future debate on QB1 of the class. The next three names, McCall, Hooker, and Van Dyke are three guys that Chance and I have discussed in our early episodes on the Devy Talk Podcast. I believe McCall and Hooker will both perform well enough to push for a chance to shine at next year’s Senior Bowl and possibly round 1 draft capital. McCall will be proving he can do well without his top guys returning and Hooker to showcase against SEC defenses that last year was not a fluke. Dyke showcased himself as the starter for most of last season and looked good. He does not offer anything special with his legs based on 2021, but his arm talent is there. Getting Michigan’s offensive coordinator in 2022 could also be a boost. He may not see enough positive feedback and may not declare until 2024.
After that group comes to the six dark horses fighting to earn a top QB spot for 2023. Each guy showed flashes but carried some risk. Levis only had the first good year of his career last year and will need to replicate it without Robinson as a target. Rattler was considered the QB1 by many for the 2022 class, but he could not handle the starting role and got benched for Caleb Williams. If Rattler can turn it around in South Carolina to put together a good season, he still has the talent that the NFL likes. He may push himself back into first-round consideration if he can overcome his mental mistakes. The last two guys also have some attributes that the NFL covets but will need great years. These look like the big names to know but expect the list to be about five to six next year with a possible wildcard joining out of nowhere; maybe Cameron Ward of Washington State.
For the 2023 class, this group is what gets people so excited for 2023 1sts. There are a solid five RBs at the top already. A few of them seem a little under my desired 210 weight I want to see but still time for them to bulk up more. Zach Evans has gotten a big jump in buzz since his transfer to Ole Miss, but I do suggest watching that closely as I want to see the school commit to featuring him like Tucker already does at Syracuse. After the top 5, that second and third tier of unknowns will have to step up to join this group. Expect Ibrahim and Charbonnet to declare based on their age, but the others will need a great year. My three favorites of those listed are Eric Gray, Jalen Berger, and Israel Abanikanda based on their situations setting up for redemptions and scheme fits. I do not have Kendall Milton, Jase McClellan, or a 2023 Miami RB listed. These three teams seem like the other possible guys to end up fighting for a chance at relevant draft capital.
This group is similar in how I like our top five names at the position, but it is a wide-open race after them on how the rest will shakeup. I see a few older prospects we can expect to join our top names like Jayden Reed, Ronnie Bell, Zay Flowers, and even Puka Nacua. How they do with the younger players like Jarrett, Downs, Mims, Odunze, and Washington will be a story to follow this spring and fall. In devy leagues try moving risky assets to move up for Johnson or Burton. Both receivers seem like the lower valued big names looking at late 1st-mid 2nd draft capital next season. The second tier by next April will be the value of the mid 2nd rounds next season. I did not have the last two names on that mock above, but they need to be known names for those in devy circles for today.
This class starts and almost ends with the best debatable college tight end with Michael Mayer from Notre Dame. The mock further illustrates the mystery in the position behind him as I was not comfortable even choosing TE2 from the above group I listed for you. The college landscape emptied with the number of men who declared for the 2022 draft. I would think the top shots are currently Latu, Billingsley, and Yurosek to join the tier behind Mayer. They have flashed before and could have another good season to make their case. The Iowa, Miami, and Penn State programs are also known to produce quality players so they would be the other names to consider super deep in devy leagues. I am saying now do not overreach out of need, please. This will be a situation where I would focus on gambling a few 3rds or 4ths of the 2022 draft on the position than hope for landing a quality guy next season.
People are celebrating the 2023 draft with its top talent. However, we see some possible question marks. We can expect a third and possibly fourth QB to emerge and be with our top guys as long as they continue impressing with no injuries. The running backs carry this group in my opinion with the top five players. The top five WRs should be clutch and joined by another 3-4 guys. Besides Mayer, we may see one more quality TE who could get Round 2 capital. That gives me a possible total of eighteen total guys as of now. While I do not blame people for getting 2023 2nds in deals, be careful as several players and situations need to play well to make those late 2nds and 3rds become very valuable. If you are being offered a 2024 first right now for any rebuilding or middle pack 2nd then I would take it.