Intro to the 2023 NFL Draft Class: Quarterbacks

by Cody Carpentier · NFL Draft

Eleven Elegant Quarterbacks?

The 2022 NFL Draft is long in the rearview mirror, but the 2022 NFL and College Football Season is inching closer. So, I will continue on full steam ahead with the Introduction to the 2023 NFL Draft Class, today it’s the most interesting position, Quarterback.
Over the next 3 weeks, I will be breaking down prospects you need to know heading into the 2022 College Football Season and 2023 NFL Draft. From Bryce Young at Quarterback for Alabama to Bryan Breese on the Defensive Line for Clemson, you will leave this series fully equipped and prepared to talk your friend’s ear off at the local pub this College Football season.

The Top Three

(1) Will Levis, Kentucky – 6’3″ 232 lbs

  • Evaluation: Currently viewed as the odd man out in the Top Tier that is C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young. But the Senior captain from Kentucky has one trait that nobody else in the 2023 NFL Draft Class does, the best pure arm talent and strength. Levis threw for 2,827 yards in 2021, leading Kentucky to just their third 10-win season ever, and the second this Millenium. In 2022, Levis needs to prove his performance wasn’t a mirage by elevating the Kentucky team, creating that Heisman moment, and cleaning up on the 13 interceptions from 2021.
  • Projected Comp: Dak Prescott
  • 2023 NFL Draft Projected Round: 1st Round (Top 10)
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 9.07

Will Levis Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

(2) Bryce Young, Alabama – 6’0″ 194 lbs

  • Evaluation: Similar to C.J. Stroud but not on the same level, Bryce Young had the benefit of playing with a great core of talent at Alabama including Jameson Williams, John Metchie, and Brian Robinson. Despite not having four first-round picks in the receiver room. Young was able to complete 66 percent of passes for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns en route to a National Championship Loss, and Heisman trophy Win. Young’s stature is the biggest question as he returns to Alabama for his junior campaign, there are currently just 10 Quarterbacks in the database weighing under 200 lbs, and Doug Flutie was the most successful. The pure arm talent is undeniable, and Young’s ability to compute at a high level from the pocket, and stay accurate on the move is what keeps Young ahead of Stroud for me.
  • Projected Comp: Kyler Murray (-10 lbs)
  • 2023 NFL Draft Projected Round: 1st Round (Top 5)
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 8.94

(3) C.J. Stroud, Ohio State – 6’3″ 215 lbs

  • Evaluation: Considered by many to be the best Quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, despite playing with arguably the greatest receiving core in College Football History. Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison, and Emeka Egbuka. I forgot to mention 5-Star tailback and sophomore TreVeyon Henderson who eclipsed 1,200 yards. That is not all to say Stroud does not deserve the praise – but as a Quarterback with just 12 starts, and limited rushing upside under his belt. I don’t think it is a bad idea to want to see another season of C.J. Stroud grow in the Ohio State offense and become a more confident pocket passer, where he tends to get off point if things break down. Timing while on the move and overall Arm Strength are two things that Stroud will look to improve on entering 2022.
  • Projected Comp: Teddy Bridgewater
  • 2023 NFL Draft Projected Round: 1st Round (Top 5)
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 8.41

The Second Tier

(5) Anthony Richardson, Florida – 6’4″ 232 lbs

  • Evaluation: Similar to Colin Kaepernick, Richardson has struggled with efficiency in the passing game. But where they both lacked in getting the ball downfield – they make up for 4.50 speed and incredible rushing ability. At the current time, Richardson would benefit greatly from playing in 2022 as a Redshirt Sophomore and returning again in 2023  to Florida to continue his growth as a pocket passer. To call Richardson a combination of Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen would be disrespectful to Jackson and Allen, however, both struggled mightily in the passing game as well at the college level. Entering 2022, Richardson has just two career starts, while boasting one of the greatest stat lines in college football history in a game he didn’t start. In Week 1, against Florida Atlantic, Richardson finished 3 for 3 passing with 152 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 4 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown.
  • Projected Comp: Colin Kaepernick
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 7.44

(6) Tyler Van Dyke, Miami (FL) – 6’4″ 224 lbs

  • Evaluation: Beginning the 2022 season, Tyler Van Dyke was waiting in the wings, waiting for 6th-year Senior D’Eriq King to finish up and leave the Quarterback room wide open for Van Dyke. Things didn’t go as planned for the Hurricanes and King sustained an injury in Week 3, elevating the now Redshirt Freshman. Thrust into the starting role, Van Dyke came out firing. Earning ACC Rookie of the Week five times in 2021, as well as ACC Rookie of the Year, and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. On October 23rd against North Carolina State, Van Dyke began a streak of six consecutive games with 300 passing yards, the first Quarterback to do so since Joe Burrow in 2019. The Hurricanes finished 5-1 during that span. Despite Tyler Van Dyke‘s early success, there is a lot of room to grow from a body maturity and processing standpoint. At 6’4″ 224lbs, Van Dyke has the frame for the NFL, but he has room to grow and with proper coaching and opportunity, we could be looking down the line at the next Andrew Luck-level prospect.
  • Projected Comp: Davis Mills
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 7.18

The Bouncebacks

(7) D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson – 6’4″ 250 lbs

  • Evaluation: After a dismal 2021 season that saw Uiagalelei throw more interceptions(10) than touchdowns(9) and his projected 2023 NFL Draft stock fall from being the Top Quarterback to all signs pointing to Freshman Cade Klubnik coming in and competing from Day 1. That was until Spring Ball, since the spring everything coming out of Clemson has been “different”, “Best Quarterback in the Nation”, and “very noticeable differences”. The hope is that Uiagalelei can return to the trajectory he was on while playing alongside 2021 no.1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence.
  • Projected Comp: Daunte Culpepper
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 7.02

(9) Spencer Rattler, South Carolina – 6’1″ 215 lbs

  • Evaluation: An explosive Redshirt Freshman season at Oklahoma, propelled Spencer Rattler into the Top 10 conversation for the 2022 NFL Draft. Rattler was the second Oklahoma Quarterback to be named a Freshman All-American. After rolling over Florida in the Cotton Bowl 55-20, Rattler set his sights on being the No.1 overall pick in 2022, but after an awkward performance against Tulane, and consecutive near losses to bad conference opponents in 2021, Rattler was benched. On October 9th, 2021 Caleb Williams entered the game against Texas and came back to propel the Sooners to victory, and the rest was almost history for Spencer. After the 2021 season, Rattler entered the transfer portal, head coach Lincoln Riley left for USC and freshman Caleb Williams followed suit to USC. During his first appearance in a Gamecocks uniform, Rattler was awarded Joe Morrison Offensive Player of the Spring honors.
  • Projected Comp: Derek Carr
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 6.80

(11) Jayden Daniels, LSU – 6’3″ 200 lbs

  • Evaluation: Yet to be named the starter for the LSU Tigers, Daniels has been through the wringer in his first three seasons at Arizona State. As a true freshman, Daniels finished with 3,300 all-purpose yards, 17 touchdowns, and just 2 interceptions. After a mediocre 2020 shortened season, Daniels struggled to return to form as a passer completing 65% of passes, with 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. After three seasons, an 18-11 career record, and over 1,200 rushing yards Daniels entered the transfer portal. The ceiling is high for the San Bernardino native in 2022, but the floor is being benched and that makes Daniels one of the biggest question marks at Quarterback.
  • Projected Comp: Desmond Ridder lite
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 5.65

The Unknown

(4) K.J. Jefferson, Arkansas – 6’3″ 242 lbs

  • Evaluation: Quite frankly, the early favorite for D.A.W.G. of the class is a HOG from Arkansas. Jefferson is not afraid to drop a 230 lbs shoulder on a defender, while also dropping back and ripping a dart down the seam at a 67% rate. In 2021, Jefferson led Arkansas to a 9-4 record with 664 yards rushing, 27 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. The first 9-4 season at Arkansas since Bobby Petrino and Jarius Wright in 2011. Jefferson has room to grow as a passer, but as a complete quarterback with QB1 upside, Jefferson is the Sleeper of the Class at the Quarterback position.
  • Projected Comp: Closer to Cam Newton than Carson Wentz
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 7.63

K.J. Jefferson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

(8) Tanner McKee, Stanford – 6’6″ 230 lbs

  • Evaluation: A Massive human, McKee is entering his Junior season as one of the least discussed prospects in the 2023 class. After spending two years on a mission in Brazil prior to Stanford, 2022 will be his fifth year out of high school. While watching McKee it is hard not to visualize another no. 18 that played for the Colts, and Broncos for close to 20 years. From the throwing motion to the knee braces, sneaky quiet athleticism to the jersey number. McKee has the NFL size, strength, and IQ, but will need another great season to peak the eyes of evaluators. Having Elijah Higgins on the outside in 2022 should help.
  • Projected Comp: Brock Osweiler
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 6.95

(10)  Cameron Ward, Washington State – 6’2″ 220 lbs

  • Evaluation: Between K.J. Jefferson and Cameron Ward, I am excited for the 2022 season to see which one takes the next step and I fall in love with it. Ward was an FCS All-American and winner of the 2021 Jerry Rice award given to the most outstanding offensive player at the FCS level. Completing 65% of passes with over 4,600 yards and 47 touchdowns, Ward did everything he could at Incarnate Ward including a playoff win and a 10-3 record. Entering 2022 as Washington State, Ward was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List.
  • Projected Comp: J.T. Barrett
  • Cody’s Early Draft Grade: 6.00

The Rest of the Class of 2023 (12-30)

2021-2023 Quarterback Draft Grade Comparison

Cody Carpentier’s Rookie Quarterback Draft Grades 2021-2023 – past classes stay unchanged post-draft


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