- A Pair of Alabama Players Among Top Prospects in 2023 NFL Draft
- C.J. Stroud, Ohio State quarterback (+200 to be the top pick)
- Bryce Young, Alabama Quarterback (+250 to be the top pick)
- Will Anderson, Jr., Alabama Linebacker (+300 to be the top pick)
- Paris Johnson, Ohio State Offensive Lineman (+1200 to be the top pick)
- Phil Jurkovec, Boston College Quarterback (+1800 to be the top pick)
- Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Ohio State Receiver (+1800 to be the top pick)
- Best Of the Rest
A Pair of Alabama Players Among Top Prospects in 2023 NFL Draft
The 2022 NFL Draft was certainly not one for the ages when it came to picking up franchise quarterbacks. For a while, it looked as if there would be no quarterbacks selected in the first round for the first time since 1996. The Pittsburgh Steelers changed that by using the 20th overall pick on the University of Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett. He was the only quarterback taken in the top 70 picks. Let’s take a look at the NFL early draft odds.
One recent mock draft has four quarterbacks being selected in the top five picks with six going in the first round.
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Alabama’s Bryce Young are not only expected to be the top two contenders for the Heisman Trophy but the decision with the top pick or at least the top quarterback to be drafted in 2023 could come down to which of the strong-armed California natives a particular NFL team prefers.
Expect the odds to change significantly by the time the draft rolls around, but here’s an early look at how things are shaking up.
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State quarterback (+200 to be the top pick)
Stroud saw Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave be two of the first three receivers taken in the 2022 draft with tight end Jeremy Ruckert going in the third round. The good news is that Jaxon Smith-Njigba could be the best receiver in football and the Buckeyes have brought in elite recruits at that position so it could be another memorable season for Stroud.
When looking at the early NFL Draft 2023 odds, Stroud has a slight advantage. That is also the case in the current Heisman Trophy odds.
Bryce Young, Alabama Quarterback (+250 to be the top pick)
Only Ohio State running back Archie Griffin has won back-to-back Heisman Trophies. That could certainly change this year with Young very much in the running to win the top individual award in college football yet again. Young is also looking to lead Alabama to the national title after the Crimson Tide fell to SEC rival Georgia in the most recent national championship game.
Top receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie are off to the NFL, but there are still plenty of talented options for Young to throw the ball to. The bigger loss could be a mammoth tackle – Evan Neal because when Young has time to pass, there is very little a defense can do to stop him.
It won’t be a surprise if Young moves by Stroud even if he is currently second in the early 2023 NFL Draft odds.
Will Anderson, Jr., Alabama Linebacker (+300 to be the top pick)
A defensive player went first in the 2022 draft. Could it happen again? It depends on who has the top pick. Five quarterbacks were top-10 picks in the 2019 and 2020 drafts. If a team that feels comfortable with the quarterback situation secures the top pick, it wouldn’t take many arms twisting to select Anderson.
While Young won the Heisman Trophy, how many people are willing to argue that he was the better player on the 2021 Alabama team than Anderson, who was the national leader with 17.5 sacks and 33.5 tackles for losses?
Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parson changed the look of the Dallas Cowboys defense with his pass-rushing ability. Anderson should be able to do the same wherever he lands. There will be some competition, but right now Anderson is the top defensive player when looking at the 2023 NFL Draft prospects.
Paris Johnson, Ohio State Offensive Lineman (+1200 to be the top pick)
Very few eyebrows would have been raised had North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu become the first offensive lineman to go first overall since 2013. Johnson earned All-Big Ten honors at guard in 2021. Now he is moving over to tackle and that should help his draft stock. At 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, he looks like an NFL starting left tackle already.
Phil Jurkovec, Boston College Quarterback (+1800 to be the top pick)
Perhaps the most galvanizing player on the list of NFL early draft odds, there are some mock drafts that don’t even have Jurkovec going in the first round.
Jurkovec was limited to only six games a season ago. He threw for 2558 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2020. Those numbers don’t exactly scream “No. 1 overall pick” however, athletic 6-foot-5 prospects like Jurkovec will certainly be on the radar of NFL teams. A huge 2022 season could help his chances to challenge Stroud and Young for the top spot among draft-eligible quarterbacks.
Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Ohio State Receiver (+1800 to be the top pick)
Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave went 10th and 11th in the 2022 draft, however, the most talented receiver on the 2021 Ohio State team was Smith-Njigba. He led Ohio State with 95 catches and 1606 yards. Without Wilson and Olave around, one can only wonder what his final stats will look like in 2022.
Best Of the Rest
The state of Connecticut doesn’t produce many NFL quarterbacks; however, Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke and Kentucky’s Will Levis could change that. Both are currently at +2000 in the odds to be the top pick.
Van Dyke wasn’t the Miami starter when the 2021 season began. An injury to D’Eriq King opened the door for Van Dyke to throw for nearly 3000 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.
What were the Penn State coaches thinking about giving Levis the chance to attempt 102 passes in two seasons? He went to Kentucky and completed 66% of his passes for almost 3000 yards. He had 24 touchdown passes and nine TD runs. Expect even better numbers in 2022.
Clemson has sent so many defensive linemen to the NFL and Bryan Bresee is next. The 300-pound Maryland native was a highly-touted recruit and is one of the main reasons Clemson is the heavy favorite to win the ACC title in 2022. Bresee played in just four games in 2021 so look for him to make up for a lost time. His odds to be the No. 1 pick are +2500.
The last Northwestern offensive line to go in the first round (Rashawn Slater) has been a force at the NFL level. Will Peter Skoronski (+2800 odds to go No. 1) make a similar transition?
Jurkovec and Levis emerged into elite pro prospects after transferring. Cornerback Eli Ricks and quarterback Spencer Rattler are hoping to do the same. The duo is both at +2800 to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Ricks moves from Louisiana State to Alabama while Rattler transferred from Oklahoma to South Carolina.
Unfortunately, Alabama and South Carolina aren’t scheduled to play this season because it would have been enjoyable to see who would come out on top when Rattler threw the ball to the side of the field Ricks was patrolling. There are your NFL early draft odds.Follow us on Twitter