A little more than 24 hours before the much anticipated 2023 NFL Draft, consensus opinions suggest that this group of draft prospects is swarmed with promising names at the quarterback position. It is debatable whether or not this is good for the young stars given that many franchises either have an established QB1 or are looking to develop their picks from recent drafts.
Regardless, the best principle in drafting would always be picking all-pro caliber talent over fit. Most NFL franchises know how they can juggle the growth of their new picks and maintain proper roles. If they do pick based on name recall and star potential, the best options are at the quarterback position.
Here are the quarterbacks that have the best upside in this year’s NFL Draft.
NFL Draft 2023: Cream of the Crop From a Quarterback-heavy class
1. Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has a huge hole to fill with Bryce Young declaring for the draft but that is for good reason. He broke multiple statistical records with the Roll Tide. These include the team’s single-season passing yards record (4,872 yards), single-season passing touchdowns (47 TDs), and career five touchdown games (5 games).
His accolades also do not fall short. Young is a Heisman Trophy winner in 2021, Sugar Bowl MVP in 2022, Manning Awardee in 2021, and a College Football Player of the Year Awardee. Arguably one of the most decorated players to make the transition to the professional leagues, Bryce is going to be either one of the top two picks.
Alabama’s QB1 is also not just good on paper — his game sense is the difference maker. His game characteristics involve swift defensive processing which makes him one of the more impressive playmakers. His body control is also something else given that he has minimal unnecessary movements in the pocket which makes him less prone to non-contact injuries. Overall, the Carolina Panthers or Houston Texans would surely be lucky to have him in their rotation.
2. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes
The debate for who goes first between C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young will only be settled once April 27 hits the calendar. However, a lot of draft experts project that Stroud will not translate well to the NFL. His accolades and statistics would disagree with those claims. He is Big Ten’s Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year in 2022, Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year during the same year, and is a Heisman Trophy finalist.
The Buckeyes’ offensive mastermind has also broken almost every record for his alma mater and the Big Ten conference. Some of those include the single-season passing yards in Big Ten games (3,193 yds), single-season passing touchdowns in Big Ten games (34 TDs), Big Ten career passing efficiency (182.39), Ohio State single-game passing yards (573 yds), Ohio State single-game passing touchdowns (6 TDs), and the Ohio State single-season completion percentage (71.9 PCT).
A mean man with a cannon for an arm, Stroud cannot go lower than being the 2nd pick in this draft. It will be the Texans’ loss if they do not take a chance on him.
3. Anthony Richardson, Florida Gators
The Florida Gators’ athletic quarterback set the team record for the longest rushing touchdown by a Florida when he rushed for 81 yards. That statistic alone should speak for what he can bring to an NFL roster. An elite passer out of the blitz that can bail out broken plays through his rushing game, Anthony Richardson is a physical specimen.
Totals of 1,116 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 3,105 passing yards, and 24 passing touchdowns prove why he is the most versatile quarterback in this draft. Physically, he has the strength to overcome most pass rushers in the league. Mentally, he has great field awareness which allows him to find the open receiver swiftly or find a route for a quick first down.
Letting him slip past the lower top ten picks in the draft will be a regrettable choice given his massive upside.
Will Levis from Kentucky, Hendon Hooker out of Tennessee, Houston’s Clayton Tune, and even Jake Haener from Fresno State are also solid picks that are coming out of this draft. If there is anything this draft will be known for, it is the amount of talent that is prominent at quarterback.