We are into the second half of the season for both the NCAA and NFL. This is the time of year that the focus shift toward the 2023 NFL Draft for a number of prospects, teams, and players alike. Stacks this time of year are extremely fluid (I cannot stress that enough), but we now have enough information and film to start a credible list with sound reasoning behind it.
Why 96? Not including compensatory selections that are can be found at the tail end of the third round, it is the number I put on the first two days of the draft. If you are a first, second, or third round selection, I fully expect you to grab hold of a starting job within the first two-to-three years if and when the opportunity arises. Thus, these 96 players are future starters or at least players that will see over 50% of the snaps within their rookie contracts.
On to the Top 96:
1.*Jalen Carter - DT / Georgia – 6’3/310
Top player in the class to this point. Absolute game wrecker that has the quickest path to the passer and can dominate multiple gaps against the run.
2. *Will Anderson – EDGE / Alabama – 6’4/243
Dripping in talent across the board, looks like an edge presence that is created in a factory. Has the versatile selection of moves to call on the same way Lebron James has when he needs to score.
3. *Myles Murphy – EDGE / Clemson – 6’5/275
This kind of size with this kind of speed and a continuous ascent of a well-distributed skill set can easily give Anderson a run for his money for the top spot on the edge.
4. *Bryce Young – QB / Alabama – 6’0/190
The most important, and the most scrutinized, position in the game comes down to one trait when all is said and done; can he elevate himself and the team when the pressure is high? Check-plus-plus.
5. *Kelee Ringo – CB / Georgia – 6’2/205
Genuine shutdown corner-caliber ceiling that stems from the combination of tools and ability to make plays on the ball. Opposing quarterbacks are afraid to throw his way on deep routes much like they were against Sauce Gardner.
6. *Joey Porter Jr. – CB / Penn State – 6’2/196
Avatar body type that plays the game aggressive like his father, former Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter Sr. Shows easy turn and run speed and locates the ball in a hurry.
7. *Quentin Johnston – WR / TCU – 6’4/212
In a league where one on one matchups rule all in big moments, sign me up for the biggest freak at the position with multiple years of production and flashes of taking games over. There isn’t anyone else with his blend of tools.
8. *Bijan Robinson – RB/Texas – 6’0/221
Most complete back we have seen since Saquon Barkley. One could make the argument he will make a bigger impact as a receiver than a rusher but no matter the case, this superstar will simply gain a ton of yards and score a ton of touchdowns.
9. *Peter Skoronski – OT/Northwestern – 6’4/294
Where he plays (could project inside like Zack Martin) will likely be dictated by who drafts him. No matter what, he is a week 1 starter that is as close to a sure-thing “double” from the batter’s box as one will find in this class.
10. Hendon Hooker – QB / Tennessee – 6’4/218
Not many quarterbacks transfer into the SEC and then see their level of play skyrocket. Hooker has scored 61 touchdowns and thrown just 5 interceptions since becoming a Volunteer (21 starts).
11. *CJ Stroud – QB / Ohio State – 6’3/215
When things are on time and well protected, nobody makes it look better than Stroud. Elite ball placement and shows the best blend of strength, accuracy, and touch in his throws.
12. *BJ Ojulari – EDGE / LSU – 6’3/245
One of the fastest and most abrupt risers in the class from my preseason stack. Ojulari has the best lockout game of the group, showing elite hand-strength to pair with bend, motor, and finishing traits that scream difference maker.
13. Will Levis – QB / Kentucky – 6’3/232
When looking at tools-only, Levis has the most balanced set in the class and has played under two different NFL play callers since transferring away from Penn State. Easy kid to fall in love with.
14. *Jalin Hyatt – WR / Tennessee – 6’0/190
The breakout performer on the offensive side of the ball brings credible, real sub 4.4 speed to the table and has been burning SEC defensive backs all year. Add in the ball tracking and one can easily make the argument he is the top deep threat in class.
15. *Jaxson Smith-Njigba – WR / Ohio State – 6’0/198
The next OSU receiver that will come into the league pro-ready right away. Soft tissue injuries have hindered his 2022 season but there is enough on tape to show the elite route running and ball skills to create from the slot.
16. *Olumuyiwa Fashanu – OT / Penn State – 6’6/308
Youth on his side (turns 20 in December) and shows some of the best pass sets in the nation even though he still has a raw side to his game. If he takes another step up in consistency, he could easily be a top 10 overall player in the class.
17. *Jordan Addison – WR / USC – 6’0/175
The sudden shiftiness and body control give him an edge against man coverage and after the catch every snap. Can line up anywhere and everywhere, giving an offense multiple options play to play.
18. *Paris Johnson – OT / Ohio State – 6’6/315
The move from guard to left tackle could not have started any better. Elite pass protector that still has some margin to add as he gains more experience on the outside.
19. *Christian Gonzalez – CB/Oregon – 6’2/201
Another sizeable, fluid mover that likely grades out the best among the top tier of corners when it comes to route anticipation and stickiness underneath.
20. Nolan Smith – EDGE / Georgia – 6’3/237
The shoulder injury that will keep him off the field for the rest of the season is a little asterisk next to his name for the time being. On the field, though, he proved over and over to be the most explosive pure speed rusher off the edge.
21. *Cam Smith – CB / South Carolina – 6’0/185
Rarely targeted, Smith shows the ease throughout all his lower body joints to adjust weight, change direction, and explode. His feel for routes and concepts will not go unnoticed by evaluators, especially when coaches get involved in spring.
22. *Brian Branch – S / Alabama – 6’0/193
Hybrid defensive back that will thrive in a system that brings a third safety on field in nickel packages. Branch flies around putting his body on the line and stays reliable as a tackler.
23. *Trenton Simpson – LB / Clemson – 6’3/230
Ideal fit for where the off-ball linebacker position is heading. A game built on speed and range against both the run and pass will keep him on the field in all situations.
24. *Jahmyr Gibbs – RB / Alabama – 5’11/200
Georgia Tech transfer is proving his smooth, yet explosive movement traits translate to the highest level of college football. Gibbs is equally dangerous as a receiver as he is a rusher when it comes to big plays.
25. Matthew Bergeron – OT / Syracuse – 6’5/322
Similar to how I felt about Zion Johnson in both 2020 and 2021, Bergeron has the look of a sure-thing quality pro whether he plays inside or outside at the next level. The body control and consistent hands are unconditional.
26. *Bryan Bresee – DT / Clemson – 6’5/300
Most attractive to the multi-front defensive schemes because of a versatile tool set that will wreak havoc between the tackles as a pass rusher. Can also be an edge setter against the run at a high level.
27. *Tuli Tuipulotu – DT / USC – 6’4/290
Elite power and bend with a motor that could fuel a small country. Can line up anywhere on the defensive line and create a mismatch that stems from a violent hand strike and use of quick adjustments.
28. *Antonio Johnson – S / Texas A&M – 6’3/200
Length is the initial standout trait to his game but the most impressive one is the lower body fluidity and ease to accelerate complements the versatile role that shows up everywhere on defense.
29. Rashee Rice – WR / SMU – 6’0/203
Physical presence in traffic matters. Rice plays wide and long with the ball in the air and that tips the scale in his favor on 50/50 balls and back shoulder throws.
30. Jared Verse – EDGE / Florida State – 6’4/248
A late transfer to FSU from Albany put Verse on the fast track to cusp of round 1 in the NFL Draft. Upper/Lower body power complements his precise footwork and plus-burst and he is still early in the progression curve.
31. *Michael Mayer – TE/Notre Dame – 6’5/251
A complete, every down asset for the offense that can morph into one of the few dogs in the league that can be the focal point of an offense from the TE spot.
32. Tyree Wilson – EDGE / Texas Tech – 6’5/270
We may see even more production in the NFL for Wilson than we have in college. The power game and elite size will need to be molded by a defensive line coach, but he can win outside-in.
33. *Emmanuel Forbes – CB / Mississippi State – 6’0/180
A playmaker in every sense of the word. Has the feel, anticipation, and elite reaction-based movement traits that will create turnovers at the next level.
34. *Darnell Washington – TE / Georgia – 6’7/270
A standout giant on a field filled with large men. The sheer size and power he brings to the field is an ever-present weapon for blocking responsibilities (both in-line and in space) and after the catch (both in space and in traffic).
35. Jonathan Mingo – WR / Mississippi – 6’2/225
Continues to move up the stack with quality play and showing a variety of top end traits. The size, speed, and ball tracking will create big plays at the next level.
36. O’Cyrus Torrence – OG / Florida – 6’5/347
The personification of strength + size = power. Torrence is a people-mover that has elevated his game with strides, not steps, when it comes to balance and control.
37. Jordan Battle – S / Alabama – 6’1/215
On-field coach that straps them up and brings action to the mantra of a defense. Lead-by-example type that can play every role of a safety and will interchange smoothly between them.
38. Devon Witherspoon – CB / Illinois – 6’0/183
Little bit of a late bloomer compared to others that are this high. The 2022 tape does not lie, though, as his movement traits and plays on the ball have no wasted motion and show explosive finishes.
39. Zach Harrison – EDGE / Ohio State – 6’6/268
Starting to blossom at the ideal point of his college career. Dripping with the measurables and has shown a different level of anticipation and reaction this season, which were the two major question marks.
40. Kyu Blu Kelly – CB / Stanford – 6’1/189
Shows excellent anticipation and reaction to both routes and balls in the air. Sees the whole field and will be a fit for zone-heavy schemes especially.
41. Henry To’oTo’o – LB / Alabama – 6’1/230
An on-field general with the kind of anticipation and footwork that gets him to the meeting point in a hurry. Reliable tackler and has grown as a cover man against the pass.
42. Cedric Tillman – WR / Tennessee – 6’3/215
Had some of his 2022 season taken off the board by a lower body injury. Still one of the top downfield threats in the class with his combination of size, speed, and ball skills.
43. Christopher Smith – S/Georgia – 5’10/188
The size concerns need to be at least partially overlooked, as Smith may be the smartest defensive back in the class. Right place, right time at all times with back-end versatility.
44. Dawand Jones – OT / Ohio State – 6’8/370
Immediately becomes one of the largest humans in the NFL the instant he gets drafted. Jones has elevated his hand-combat game will give the offense an edge enhancer in the running game right away.
45. *Broderick Jones – OT / Georgia – 6’4/310
One of the fastest ascending underclassmen in the country could easily end up in top 15 overall consideration if he keeps pitching shutout like he has since mid-October. First two steps are as fast as anyone’s.
46. Isaiah Foskey – EDGE / Notre Dame – 6’5/260
Heading toward his second straight double digit-sack season, Foskey brings a wide arsenal of ways to beat one on one blocking. He is a notch above others when it comes to the power game.
47. Siaki Ika – DT / Baylor – 6’4/354
There are not many humans on this planet that can move like this at that size. Ika has the look of one of those guys that produces more in the pros than he does in college if he finds the right fit.
48. Jack Campbell – LB / Iowa – 6’4/248
Brings a plus-frame that plays stout and strong inside but excels in space in coverage with quick feet and a feel for route concepts. Every down force that can morph into a green dot defender.
49. Jordan McFadden – OT / Clemson – 6’2/305
Likely to move inside at the next level but he does have the length and pass-protecting prowess to move outside in a pinch. A plus athlete with heavy hands that doesn’t have many losses on tape at all.
50. *Blake Corum – RB / Michigan – 5’8/200
Incredible production stemming from his low-to-ground, shifty running style with more power than you think. Corum’s balance will create plenty of production after contact.
51. *Drew Sanders – LB / Arkansas – 6’5/232
A breakout performer that blends the old school with new age of traits at inside linebacker. Has the speed and length to factor in coverage against tight ends but stays disciplined against the run and is now blossoming as a pass rusher.
52. Will McDonald – EDGE / Iowa State – 6’4/227
Less than ideal bulk but plays stronger than his frame will suggest and wins off the snap at an alarming rate for opposing blockers. His bend is on another level and will be a main attraction to some teams more than others.
53. Mohamed Ibrahim – RB / Minnesota – 5’9/210
One could make a teach-tape on how to play running back by just using Ibrahim’s 2022 film, a year after a torn achilles tendon. Just three fumbles over 770 career touches.
54. Jaelyn Duncan – OT / Maryland – 6’6/288
The struggles in pass protection cause some concern but the traits are still there. Easy body control and bend with accurate hand placement should keep him in the mix for a slot on day two, and rightfully so.
55. Tyler Davis – DT / Clemson – 6’2/291
A savvy penetrator that plays low to the ground with tremendous lower body drive. Need to look past the length issues here and see how often he gets into the backfield.
56. *Zach Evans – RB / Mississippi – 6’0/215
Transferred into the SEC and proved his production was no fluke. Even though he may not be a feature guy at the next level, the big play ability and top tier speed at his size will be attractive to anyone needing a spark in the backfield.
57. KJ Henry – EDGE / Clemson – 6’5/250
Has taken his game to another level in ’22 with constant pressure off the edge as the footwork has been at a different level and he has developed an array of secondary rush moves.
58. *Kayshon Boutte – WR / LSU – 6’0/205
A steep fall from where he was in preseason stacks, Boutte still shows the top-shelf burst and explosion out of breaks. If he can clean up the drops and get his head screwed back on, he can climb back up, but time is running out.
59. *Felix Anudike-Uzomah – EDGE / Kansas State – 6’4/255
Moldable piece of clay with natural power and twitch from head to toe that can stun the blocker on initial contact. Easy bend with proper angles up the edge are they key traits that have led to the high pass rush success rate.
60. *Brandon Joseph – S / Notre Dame – 6’0/192
Has cleaned up his tackling to the point where he can now be relied upon as a last line of defense and an extra enforcer in the box. Couple that with his career ball production and he will fit into every safety role a team has.
61. *Garrett Williams – CB / Syracuse – 6’0/189
Physical and aggressive downhill corner that does his best work in zone coverage. Shows the feel for route combinations and will give the defense an extra weapon against the run.
62. *Marvin Mims – WR / Oklahoma – 5’11/189
Easy and efficient mover that looks like he is on skates in the open field. Attacks the ball and finds a way to manipulate angles in traffic, playing bigger than his size.
63. Derick Hall – EDGE / Auburn – 6’3/255
One of the most productive edge defenders in the SEC since the halfway point of 2020 brings elite burst and length to the table and is always in attack mode.
64. *Parker Washington – WR / Penn State – 5’10/215
A slot receiver with a running back-build plays a unique power-game. Everything he does centers around strength from catching the ball, playing through contact, and making things happen against tacklers.
65. Andre Carter – EDGE / Army – 6’6/252
We haven’t seen anything near the level of play he put on tape in 2021 (15 sacks / 59 pressures) but Carter’s tool set premium position almost has to land him somewhere day two. His margin to gain is bigger than others considering where he plays ball right now.
66. Luke Schoonmaker – TE / Michigan – 6’5/248
Classic Y-tight end build that remains a work in progress as a blocker, but the baseline tools are there. A reliable underneath-to-intermediate threat with soft hands and a wide, long radius that wins in traffic.
67. Zay Flowers – WR / Boston College – 5’9/170
Elite movement traits and fast to the ball once he gets near it will overshadow the lack of size. More than a slot-only, as the majority of his snaps have been out wide.
68. Dalton Kincaid – TE / Utah – 6’6/241
Aggressively making a case to be considered the top pass catcher at the position. Reliable hands and fast to turn up field and create after the catch which is a vital prerequisite for a growing list of teams when scouting the position.
69. Ryan Hayes – OT/Michigan – 6’6/301
Hasn’t allowed a sack in 11 games including matchups against Georgia and Ohio State. Could project to guard at the next level but no matter where he ends up, one of the safer bets in the class to be a solid starter.
70. *Mike Morris – EDGE / Michigan – 6’6/292
This year’s version of the breakout edge star may not have the tools that David Ojabo did a year ago, but Morris is second in the Big 10 with seven sacks and is getting it done from all angles.
71. John Michael-Schmitz – OC / Minnesota – 6’3/315
Overwhelming power at the point of attack has been a vital component to the strong running game. Leader-of-the-line type that has a spot in a starting lineup for a decade-plus.
72. *Noah Sewell – LB / Oregon – 6’3/251
Two-down run stuffers still have a place in the league, albeit less and less over time. Sewell’s value will still be enough to warrant a day two selection as he continues to show dominant-level play between the tackles and as a blitzer.
73. Jarrett Patterson – OG / Notre Dame – 6’5/307
Brings credible guard-center versatility to the table. The more you can do, the more a team will want you on the depth chart and Patterson can make a strong case to start in the middle week one with his power presence and intelligence.
74. Devin Leary – QB / NC State – 6’1/217
One of the best throwers of the ball, maybe the best, with the toughness in the pocket that will carry over well to the next level. Unfortunate pectoral injury ended his season early but there is enough to warrant this slot.
75. Luke Musgrave – TE / Oregon State – 6’6/250
Has missed the majority of the ’22 season with a knee injury, but it shouldn’t impact the final draft grade much, if at all. Ideal blend of tools that will create mismatches on all levels of the route tree in the passing game.
76. *Devon Achane – RB / Texas A&M – 5’9/185
Falls well below the desired bulk metrics most teams will use at running back but the world class speed will overshadow some of that. Currently proving he can handle a lot of touches and plays with consistent toughness.
77. Zach Charbonnet – RB / UCLA – 6’0/224
Traditional back that can pick up as many yards as anyone after contact. Developed lower half and precise footwork along with elite ball protection will get him on the field early.
78. *Deuce Vaughn – RB / Kansas State – 5’6/175
One of the more unique players in the draft that someone could easily fall in love with and create a portion of the playbook just for him. Loves the game and plays like it, true hunger when he gets the ball.
79. *Gervon Dexter – DT / Florida – 6’5/318
Will enter the league as a run-only defender but the blend of tools leaves some hope for long term development as an effective bull rusher. Simply needs the right coach leading the way.
80. *Eli Ricks – CB / Alabama – 6’2/190
There is no denying the talent and upside, which is first round caliber, but he has some ground to make up after missing the first half of the season. Size, speed, and plus-ball skills are always a nice combination of traits to start with.
81. Keeanu Benton – DT / Wisconsin – 6’4/312
Heavy handed penetrator that is starting to show an array of rush moves to pair with the natural power presence and length. Stock is rising with each two-week period he puts together.
82. *Clark Phillips – CB / Utah – 5’10/184
Elite level ball production can hide the size concerns but there is a good shot he winds up as a nickel-only. Clearly does his homework between games and should give a safe, steady level of play.
83. Daiyan Henley – LB / Washington State – 6’1/230
Hyper-active energy stick for a defense that is always around the ball. Can find his own way through traffic with late, sudden movement and low-to-ground pad level.
84. *Layden Robinson – OG / Texas A&M – 6’4/320
Has the explosive traits and easy-moving lower half that offensive line coaches will want to work with over the course of a year or two. Not an immediate contributor type but does have a high ceiling the technique gets cleaned up.
85. DeMarvion Overshown – LB / Texas – 6’3/222
Chase and hit ‘backer that will sit with the “chew glass” kids at lunch. Ticks a different kind of way but shows the intelligence and fast decision making to factor on all downs.
86. Steve Avila – OG / TCU – 6’3/339
The transition to guard from center has worked out well, as he hasn’t allowed a sack all year and is a key cog to their running game success. A people-mover that shows light feet and plus body control through all phases of blocking.
87. Riley Moss – CB / Iowa – 6’1/195
A feel for the game in every way and will pair that with elite movement traits in short areas. Anticipation skills and ball reactions could get him on the field right away in a nickel role.
88. Davis Allen – TE / Clemson - 6’5/251
Coaches call him the best blocking tight end they’ve had since Dabo took over. But it is the career-year as a pass catcher and low drop rate that gives him the wider lensed-upside that teams are going to feel comfortable with.
89. *Kendre Miller – RB / TCU – 6’0/220
Brings a high elusive rating to the table but shows the proper decision making to run defenders over when necessary as well. Has the look of an every down back and has cleaned up the skill set across the board each season.
90. Darnell Wright – OT / Tennessee – 6’5/347
Things have started to click for the former five-star recruit that has had an up and down career. Wright is a massive blocker with good enough feet and a wicked strike to initially win the engagement with both power and speed defenders alike.
91. Sam LaPorta – TE / Iowa – 6’3/250
Motion-tight end is one of the few bright points to a struggling Iowa offense. Will fit well into a role that moves him around pre-snap, as he knows what to do with angle advantages and creases as both a blocker and receiver.
92. *Rashad Torrence II – S / Florida – 6’0/202
Love to see a back-end defender fly around and throw his body into oncoming traffic the way Torrence does. An absolute missile with plus-closing speed and a gravitational pull to the action.
93. *Tanner McKee – QB/Stanford – 6’6/226
A pure pocket passer that looks to be creeping toward an elite level when everything around him is on schedule. A hard evaluation because of the porous offensive line but he has several well-developed traits.
94. Ali Gaye – EDGE / LSU – 6’6/255
An attractive frame and physical nature that will raise the eyebrows of defensive coordinators that have extra love for edge setters. Has had injuries hamper his growth year to year but the tools are lined up.
95. *Calijah Kancey – DT / Pittsburgh – 6’0/280
Will be a hard fit for some schemes because of the size, but there is no questioning the fact he has been one of the most productive interior rushers over the past two years. Plays with an elite level of twitch and speed.
96. Evan Williams – S / Fresno State – 6’0/199
Has missed half of the season so far because of injury and there is still plenty of attainable margin to make up from here. Smart and fluid mover in space that shows the necessary anticipation and fluidity to factor in a centerfield role.