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Top 5 QBs for the 2023 NFL Draft

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Farrell Files - Top 5 QBs for 2023 Draft

The NFL Draft for 2023 is a long way away, but it’s never too early to look at the top at each position. We’ll take a look at the quarterbacks first.

This is in order per Mike Farrell’s top five.

1. CJ Stroud | Ohio State

In Stroud’s first year as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, he quickly showed that he possesses the tools to succeed at the next level. He fits the ideal NFL frame standing at 6-foot-3 and can sling it all over the field with good touch and accuracy. Unlike Ohio State quarterbacks of the past, Stroud doesn’t struggle too much when moving off his first read. One thing I’d like to see more is Stroud putting his rushing ability into action. When you play for Ohio State you usually don’t have to resort to running, but Stroud’s shown flashes of being an efficient runner and I think taking off more could further solidify him as the No. 1 quarterback option in the 2023 draft class. Overall, CJ Stroud is an excellent prospect, especially for someone who’s only played one full season and I expect more growth in his second season as he continues to become the guy on every QB needy team’s wishlist.

Farrell’s take: I like Stroud at No. 1 barely over Young as he’s just scratching the surface of his potential and getting comfortable. He’s smooth and doesn’t panic and his field vision stands out.

2. Bryce Young | Alabama

Similarly to Stroud, Young played his first full season in 2021 and ended up winning the Heisman Trophy. Bryce Young, however, requires a deeper dive before putting him on the same level as Stroud. Young is just six-feet-tall, if that, and doesn’t have the same running ability as the last short QB (Kyler Murray) who we saw selected with a premium draft pick. Where Young makes up for not having ideal size is with his accuracy and his arm angles. He delivers passes with precision and puts his receivers in a position to create after the catch. His arsenal of launch angles allows him to work around attempted pass deflections at the line of scrimmage and still get the ball to his intended target. While it might be an overused comparison for undersized quarterbacks, Bryce Young truly reminds me of Russell Wilson and I think NFL teams will see that and make him one of the first quarterbacks, if not players, selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Farrell’s take: The one thing scouts will learn about Young over and over again is that he’s a winner and is at his best when doubted. He’s been doubted because of size at the high school level and proved everyone wrong and now in college. He’s not a dual threat and won’t run much so Russell Wilson comparisons make sense but he’s less athletic.

3. Tanner McKee | Stanford

6-foot-6 Stanford Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee might not be the most well-known college quarterback out there, but that’s something that should change. Stanford didn’t win a lot of games last year which hurts him for recognition purposes but give him one game of film and it’s evident how precise he is as a passer. McKee is more of a pocket passer than either Stroud or Young but he’s very efficient throwing the ball, especially in the quick passing game. McKee has good mechanics and is able to get the ball to his receivers very quickly. He isn’t much of a rushing threat outside of sneaks, but he moves enough in the pocket to get by in the modern NFL. Tanner McKee will be 23 in April, so if he’s going to burst onto the NFL’s radar, this is the year for him to do it.

Farrell’s take: There’s something to be said about the smarts of a Stanford quarterback. Davis Mills picked things up in the NFL quickly despite an average college career and McKee has the same kind of intangibles.

4. Will Levis | Kentucky

Will Levis was a very entertaining prospect to watch because of how many tools he has. He’s got the big arm, he’s 6-foot-3, he’s got the quick release and he’s an excellent runner. Levis accounted for 33 touchdowns in his junior season (first year as Kentucky’s QB) and helped the Wildcats exceed all their pre-season expectations. His age isn’t quite ideal but I’m confident that yet another year of development can help Levis show he’s got big-time NFL potential. Levis isn’t the most mechanically sound QB prospect, but neither was Josh Allen. Levis’ elite running ability makes him a true dual-threat, and I think if he’s groomed for a bit in the NFL, he could be very special. 2021 was only his first year as a starter following his transfer from Penn State which means it’s still early, but the talent and tools are all there.

Farrell’s take: Make no mistake this is about arm talent. Levis can do anything he wants with the football. He has rare arm talent and the most in this draft class by far. That’s why some will be enamored with him more than anything else.

5. Phil Jurkovec | Boston College

One of the most interesting prospects I’ve watched, Jurkovec has amazing improv ability and keeps defenses in check with his ability to extend plays and get yards with his legs. The 6-foot-5 redshirt junior is very sharp in the quick passing game but isn’t the best when it comes to pushing the ball downfield. Jurkovec actually reminds me quite a bit of 2021’s 20th overall pick Kenny Pickett in the sense that neither of them had the biggest arm, but they hit all the throws they needed to and thrived on extending plays and getting extra yards. Jurkovec is a better runner compared to Pickett, so there are lots of fun tools when it comes to his overall game. Injuries are something to keep an eye on here as he was sidelined for a lot of the 2021 season with a significant hand injury, but if he can stay healthy he’ll definitely be in the discussion as one of the top QBs in the 2023 class.

Farrell’s take: Jurkovec is interesting because his mechanics aren’t great and his arm is only, but he can extend the play and does a ton of things you have trouble defending. He’s a first rounder or fifth rounder, his range of draft status is similar to Sam Howell last year.

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