Draft 2022 is over, long live Draft 2023
While the NFL Draft has just taken place, it is too early to assess that of 2023. Players will prove themselves and others will disappoint. Worse, some will get hurt!
But because it’s fun to live ahead of the times, it costs nothing to have this event in the back of your mind. Especially, if you are not satisfied with the 2022 draft of your heart team. So here are the trends a year away.
If he was old enough, CJ Stroud (Ohio State) would undoubtedly have been the first quarterback chosen in 2022. Passing from the pocket, his game intelligence allowed him to produce 44 touchdowns for only 6 interceptions in 2021. His main competitor should be Bryce Young (Alabama). If its size could have put off franchises before the 2000s, its surgical precision and its propensity to very often make the right choice, already make it a candidate for the top 5 in 2023. There is no doubt that after CJ Stroud, he would have been the second quarterback chosen in 2022 if he had been able to present himself there. And behind these two leaders, other profiles should offer quality for the following choices: Tyler Van Dyke (Miami) sam hartmann (WakeForest), Devin Leary (NC State), Dillon-Gabriel (Ole Miss) and the controversial Spencer Rattler (South Carolina) must confirm the promises posted so far.
Phil Jurkovec (Boston College) will he have a Mac Jones or Kenny Pickett season? Like them, he is a reliable quarterback well known to college football fans, but like them he must have a last season of fire, to go from being a good quarterback to a potential first-round draft pick. After two great seasons at Virginia Tech, Hendon Hooker exploded the counters with Tennessee in 2021. If he confirms in 2022, then his double threat profile should appeal. Will Levis (Kentucky), Jake Haener (Fresno State) and Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina) are in ambush in a talented and deep cuvée. Also to follow, Cameron Rising which, along with Utah, could raise its rating even further in 2022.
CJ Stroud 🎯 Marvin Harrison Jr
Get used to this connection…
—PFF College (@PFF_College) January 1, 2022
Exceptional players and depth everywhere
If the 2022 vintage brought its share of quality pass rushers, the best of them will still play at the university level in 2022. Will Anderson splashed his class in the 2021 season. With 31 tackles for loss including 17 sacks, the Alabama player has everything of a future great in the NFL. Intelligent and athletic, he is in this category of Myles Garrett, Chase Young or Nick Bosa: those who can claim a top 3 in the draft.
Receivers Garrett Wilson (Jets) and Chris Olave (Saints) therefore joined the NFL in the 1st round of the 2022 draft. Talented players, they were Ohio State’s receivers 2 and 3 in 2021! Number 1 was too young to run in 2022 but he could be a star of the draft process in 2023. Jaxon Smith-Njigba signed for 1,600 yards in 2021, and his duet with quarterback CJ Stroud will be the major attraction of the coming college season. And he will not be alone in this position, quite the contrary: Marvin Mims (Oklahoma), Kayshon Boutte (USL), Rakim Jarrett (Maryland), Zay Flowers (Boston College) or Quentin Johnson (TCU) make the 2023 vintage look like that of 2021. To be continued, Jordan Addison who won the 2021 top college receiver trophy with Pittsburgh and Kenny Pickett. He will play elsewhere in 2022 and his destination is not yet known: USC? Texas?
In attack, the tight-end Michael Mayer (Notre Dame) is one of the very few players in this position to be able to hope for a selection from the 1st round. Coming from a university renowned for training quality tight-ends (George Kittle or TJ Hockenson and many others), Sam Laporta (Iowa) also has a card to play. Recruited to play in defense, Cameron Latu revealed himself on offense in 2021 with Alabama by signing 8 touchdowns. Complete, Will Mallory (Miami) also has something to seduce, and because second-level college players are increasingly drafted, McCallan Castles (UC Davies) will also be « scouted » closely. As every year, the position of tackle will be prized in the 2023 draft. Several candidates seem to have the potential to be the first choice of a franchise: Turner Corcoran (Nebraska), Zion Nelson (Miami) Peter Skoronsky (Northwestern) and Connor Galvin (Baylor). broderick jones (Georgia) and parris johnson (Ohio State) are certainly the most talented on the board: the two should finally have their chances of starting, after the departures caused by the 2022 draft in their two universities. Inside, Zak Zinter (OG/Michigan), Ricky Stromberg (OC/Arkansas) and Sedrick Van Pran (OC/Georgia) seem to have a head start on the competition. But for that, it will have to be justified in 2022.
In defense, the first curtain will be well represented with the two Clemson players Myles Murphy (OF) and Brian Bresee (DT), as well as inside players Jalen Carter (Georgia), Jaquelin Roy (USL) and Gervon Dexter (Florida). To put the pressure on from the outside, the cuvée should be rich with Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Kansas State), Nick Herbig (Wisconsin), Isaiah Foskey (Our Lady), Nolan Smith (Georgia), BJ Ojulari (USL) and Brenton Cox (Florida).
The position of linebacker will offer Noah Sewell (Oregon) a player who could potentially produce at the level of a Bobby Wagner. It will be rivaled by a quality cuvée on the second curtain with DeMarvion Overshown (Texas), Trenton Simpson (Clemson), Henry To’o To’o (Alabama) or Jack Cambell (Iowa). Also by his own teammate, the ultra-fast justin flowe. On the secondary, the most promising are Eli Ricks (Alabama), Tony Grimes (North Carolina), Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State), Clark Phillips (Utah) and Kelee Ringo (Georgia) at cornerbacks. And because the University of Texas A&M has become an expert in recruitment since the arrival of coach Jimbo Fisher in 2018, it will be necessary to follow the giants Jaylon Jones and Antonio Johnson. Another cornerback with a lot of size (and talent): Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State. Son of former Steelers linebacker.
For the safety position, brandon joseph (Northwestern), Jalen Catalon (Arkansas) and Tykee Smith (Georgia) offer a lot of potential. Alabama’s pair are arguably the best in the country: Jordan Battle and DeMarcco Hellams. But for the new Derwin James alien, it will be necessary to wait for the 2024 draft and James Williams (Miami). And because hybrid S/LB players are now in demand, Ja’Qurious Conley (North Carolina) is a talent to watch.
But a season is long and many things can happen. Including the worst ones like in early May, when Eli Ricks was pulled over for speeding, while driving without insurance and possessing marijuana.
The runner’s position in the spotlight?
In 2022, no running-back was chosen in the 1st round: a first since 2014. In 2023, there will be little chance of this happening again. Although the position is somewhat devalued (air league and position depth), a running back should offer such a high profile, that a franchise will want to build their offense around him. Bijan Robinson (Texas) offers an extraordinary mix of power and speed. And to top it off, he has already shown himself capable of contributing in the aerial game. His duet with quarterback Quinn Ewers (2nd year) excites all Texas fans.
If Bijan Robinson is the jewel, the crown also looks good: Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama), Tank Bigsby (Auburn), Sean Tucker (Syracuse), Tavion Thomas (Utah), Zach Evans (Ole Miss), Deuce Vaughn (Kansas State), Mohammad Ibrahim (Minnesota), Montrell Johnson (Florida), Blake Corum (Michigan) or Zach Charbonnet (UCLA) form such an impressive vintage, that it has probably never been seen before!
Of course, all this is to be combined with the conditional. Let the 2022 college season unfold. Then the draft process will play its role (Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and private visits). But for now, here are the top trends for the 2023 show taking place in Kansas City.