Bears

Way too early look at top 2023 NFL Draft prospects by position

Bears
Bryce Young (left), C.J. Stroud (center) and Will Anderson Jr. (right) are three of the top 2023 prospects.
USA Today

Are you sick of NFL draft coverage yet?

The 2022 draft just ended, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about next year.

With just under 12 months before the event begins, plenty of things can and will change. Some prospects will emerge like Joe Burrow did in 2019, while others will fade like Sam Howell did in 2021. At this point, we aren’t close to knowing who will even declare for the draft.

Here’s a positional look at some prospects to keep in mind for next year:

Quarterbacks

Bryce Young (Alabama)

CJ Stroud (Ohio State)

Anthony Richardson (Florida)

Will Levis (Kentucky)

Phil Jurkovec (Boston College)

After a down year for quarterback prospects, the 2023 group is loaded. Young and Stroud could both be top-five picks, and a handful of others will go in the first round. This position has solid depth, which is likely a big reason why few teams reached for quarterbacks in the 2022 draft.

 

Running backs

Bijan Robinson (Texas)

Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)

Tank Bigsby (Auburn)

Zach Evans (Ole Miss)

Zach Charbonnet (UCLA)

No running backs were selected in the first round in 2022, but that could change in 2023. Robinson is the consensus top tailback and if anyone is going to get into the first round, it’ll be him. A trio of SEC running backs, led by Gibbs, could also be near the top of the draft.

Wide receivers

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)

Kayshon Boutte (LSU)

Marvin Mims (Oklahoma)

Jordan Addison (Pitt)

Jermaine Burton (Alabama)

Over the past few years, there have been more and more elite receiver prospects. That isn’t going to change any time soon. Smith-Njigba burst onto the scene in the Rose Bowl last season, with 15 catches, 347 yards and three touchdowns. He had 1,606 yards as a sophomore while playing behind 2022 first-rounders Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.

Tight ends

Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)

Jahleel Billingsley (Texas)

Sam LaPorta (Iowa)

Cameron Latu (Alabama)

Arik Gilbert (Georgia)

Tight ends weren’t in the spotlight during the 2022 draft, with none going on Day 1. Mayer has first-round talent, though he likely won’t be selected as high as Kyle Pitts was in 2021 (No. 4 overall). There could be decent depth with this group depending on how the 2022 season goes.

Offensive linemen

Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State)

Zion Nelson (Miami)

Javion Cohen (Alabama)

Sedrick Van Pran (Georgia)

Dawand Jones (Ohio State)

 

At first glance, there isn’t as much offensive line talent in 2023 as there was in 2022. This year’s draft had nine players in the first round, including three in the top-10. There is still plenty of time for this group to develop.

Defensive linemen

Bryan Bresee (Clemson)

Jalen Carter (Georgia)

Byron Young (Alabama)

The best defensive tackle talent often resides with the power programs, and 2023 is more of the same. Clemson, Georgia and Alabama have been three of the premier programs over the last decade. Bresee could be in the mix for a top-10 pick if he has a big year.

EDGE rushers

Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

Myles Murphy (Clemson)

BJ Ojulari (LSU)

Nolan Smith (Georgia)

Derick Hall (Auburn)

Anderson will be in the mix for the No. 1 pick along with the quarterbacks. If a team that doesn’t need a quarterback is picking high, they’d be thrilled to land him. All five of these EDGE rushers should be first-round picks if they enter the 2023 draft.

Linebackers

Trenton Simpson (Clemson)

Henry To’oto’o (Alabama)

Noah Sewell (Oregon)

Justin Flowe (Oregon)

This is a versatile group, with some of them capable of playing inside and outside linebacker. Only two inside linebackers were drafted in the first round in 2022, so we’ll see if this group can improve on that number.

Cornerbacks

Kelee Ringo (Georgia)

Eli Ricks (Alabama)

Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State)

Cam Smith (South Carolina)

Garrett Williams (Syracuse)

 

Ringo, who had a pick-six in the national title game, and Ricks, who will join the Tide after two years at rival LSU, top the cornerback group. Porter Jr., son of the former NFL All-Pro linebacker, is a dark horse to rise in the rankings after deciding to stay at school for another year.

Safeties

Brandon Joseph (Notre Dame)

Malachi Moore (Alabama)

Demani Richardson (Texas A&M)

Christopher Smith (Georgia)

Brian Branch (Alabama)

The NFL has started to devalue safeties in the first round, but there’s plenty of talent in this 2023 class. Notre Dame has another stud after sending top-15 pick Kyle Hamilton off to the league, and the same can be said for Georgia after losing first-rounder Lewis Cine.