In the Market: Looking at the top QB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class after Scouting Combine

Let’s take a look at how the best quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft performed as a scout.

The 2022 NFL season is officially over, with the Kansas City Chiefs standing tall as champions of Super Bowl 57. Still, the offseason is well underway, with all 32 teams looking to improve their rosters and coaching staff to increase their odds of lifting the Lombardi Trophy. One of the big events of the offseason is the NFL Scouting Combine, where most prospects head to Indianapolis to participate in workouts and interview interested teams.

Like every year, the attention at Lucas Oil Stadium has been focused on the quarterback prospects. Last year the quarterback class was weak on paper, as this year’s class was heavy. These signal callers are Bryce Young of Alabama, CJ Stroud of Ohio State, Will Leevis of Kentucky, and Anthony Richardson of Florida.

Oh, and days after the Combine ended, the Carolina Panthers rocked the entire NFL draft board, going from ninth to number one after a huge trade to the Chicago Bears. Now, they have the opportunity to draft any quarterback they want, whoever it is.

Let’s take a look at how these four prospects perform in the Boy Scouts pool in the latest edition of On the Market.

Previous editions of “In the Market” can be found at the links below:

Rating: How successful are the 2023 NFL Draft QBs in the scouting pool?

Bryce Young, Alabama

Young is considered the best quarterback in this year’s draft class. After all, he’s a former Heisman Trophy winner, and when you watch his tapes, you can see Young has it. But Young was not on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. Instead, he showed up to get his official measurements and to interview the teams.

Even though he wasn’t active, Young still made the news. While Young has talent, his height and weight have been a concern to some scouts and analysts. At Alabama, he was listed as 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds. In the Boy Scouts group, Young was measured at 5-foot-10, 204 pounds.

It’s really anyone’s guess when Young will be off the plate. Yes, he’s very talented, but teams have their preferences as to what they’re looking for in a quarterback. For some, they want a long signal connected. Regardless, Young would be a top 10 pick.

CJ Stroud, Ohio State

One prospect who definitely increased his stock was Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. He was already considered near the top of the Top 4. Stroud did not participate in the head or broad jump, or the 40-yard dash. However, he did participate in the throwing session. What Stroud displayed was one of his greatest strengths – his subtlety.

On top of his ability to make incredible throws, Stroud has a typical height of 6-foot-3 which could put him ahead of Young. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Stroud selected in the top three picks of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Stroud followed up his stellar Peach Bowl performance with a great pitching session. Can he be recruited before Young? It is certainly possible, especially if Carolina loves him.

Anthony Richardson, Florida

While Stroud had a solid day, it didn’t compare to the day that Florida’s Anthony Richardson had. With the top quarterbacks not participating in drills, Richardson did just that, to showcase his athleticism. He’s shown that if he can pull it all together, he can be an absolute threat to defenses at the NFL level.

Richardson’s speed was evident, as he ran an absurd 4.43-second 40-yard dash. Subsequently, he showed his athleticism by setting records in the vertical jump (40.5 inches) and broad jump (10 feet – 9 inches).

In the throwing session, Richardson has shown that he puts a lot of power behind his throws. Once again, college football fans saw how he could throw a deep pass at Florida. He just needs to improve his game in the right team, and he’ll be doing very well at the pro level.

Richardson was given the nickname “Unicorn” before the Boy Scouts gathered. After the event, those who watched the event could see that this was definitely the case.

Will Leaves, Kentucky

Levis has been named one of the best prospects heading into the 2022 season and his stock is at an all-time high. Even as the season progressed, as he dealt with injuries, a changing offensive coordinator, and an ineffective offensive line, he still had the hype surrounding him.

At the Combine, Levis recorded a vertical jump of 34 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet 4 inches. During the throwing session, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah noted that Levi’s threw his body when looking to his left, which is worth keeping an eye on. Levi’s throws have also been measured at a top speed of 59 mph. Other than that, it was a good showing by Levi’s.

Levis would be a top pick, but he didn’t have the day that Stroud or Richardson did. But he has the intangibles that teams will surely appreciate. It would just be a matter of whether he would be last of the four best picked, or advance.

The 2023 QB rankings have been updated following a merger

After the scouting gathering, let’s rank the top 5 quarterbacks in this draft category:

Bryce Young, Alabama Stroud, Ohio State, Anthony Richardson, Florida, Will Levis, Kentucky, Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

Even after the scouting combination, Young is the QB1 of this class. Does this mean he will be the first quarterback to be selected? Mostly not. But he showed during his time at Alabama that he could be a legitimate NFL quarterback.

Stroud will get you a QB2 spot. Like Young, he is the starting quarterback ready for Day One.

Richardson catapulted himself to third place in the rankings, overtaking Levis. Richardson’s upside can be astronomical on Levis if he gets into the right situation and isn’t in a rush to get started.

The fifth place is Hendon Hooker. Had he not torn his ACL late in the 2022 season, he could have been in contention for the QB3 spot. He was a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and led the Tennessee Volunteers to their best season in recent memory.

Who buys into the NFL?

As mentioned earlier, the NFL Draft order was changed dramatically after the Panthers held an eight-point lead to secure the first overall pick. Here’s the full NFL Draft standings as of this writing:

Carolina Panthers (via Chicago Bears) Houston Texans Arizona Cardinals Indianapolis Colts Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos) Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams) Las Vegas Raiders Atlanta FalconChicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers) Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints Tennessee Titans ) New York JetsNew England PatriotsGreen Bay PackersWashington CommandersPittsburgh SteelersDetroit LionsTampa Bay BuccaneersSeattle SeahawksLos Angeles ChargersBaltimore RavensMinnesota VikingsJacksonville JaguarsNew York GiantsDallas CowboysBuffalo BillsCincinnati BangalsPhiladelphia

It’s pretty clear which teams will pick their quarterback in the first round. The Panthers, come on, just traded their first and second round picks this year, 2024 first-round pick, 2025 second and top wide receiver DJ Moore to the Bears to secure the #1 overall pick! They’re picking a quarterback, but it’ll be interesting to see what wide receivers this prospect has for his rookie season.

The Texans will end up with one of the best quarterbacks on their board. Could they panic and try to climb into one spot with the Panthers to know they can get their man and not risk the rival Indianapolis Colts jumping in front of them?

Speaking of the Colts, they were the biggest losers in the Panthers Bears trade, but may be hoping to convince Carolina to move down three points. If not the Panthers, the Colts should try to climb to third in a deal with the Arizona Cardinals to make sure they have the signal caller. So far, their options look rather bleak.

The Raiders agreed to terms with Jimmy Garoppolo on a three-year, $67.5 million contract, but it’s essentially a two-year deal. Expect the Raiders to select one of their top four quarterback prospects and sit behind Garoppolo for development.

Besides these options, the team that should consider trading due to topical need are the Washington leaders. They are entering the season with Sam Howell as the top option. They just released Carson Wentz. Taylor Hynecke is a free agent. The team needs to further address the situation. Will they trade to pick one from Stroud, Young, Richardson or Levis? That remained to be seen.

The Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions are two teams to watch as well. They have two first-round picks at their disposal. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said before re-signing Gino Smith that they were considering drafting the quarterback, considering they’d never had such a year’s selection as fifth overall. The Lions have Jared Goff under contract for the next two seasons. Given that the Lions are on the rise and could be favored to win the NFC North next year, it would be a wise investment to use the No. 6 pick on the quarterback to sit behind Goff.

2023 NFL Mock Draft with the best QB fit

Let’s round up the best possible midfielders with which teams will be the best:

Bryce Young: Houston TxCJ Stroud: Carolina PanthersAnthony Richardson: Indianapolis ColtsWill Levis: Las Vegas RaidersHendon Hooker: Seattle Seahawks

By all reports since the Panthers trade, the team is more attached to Stroud. Given the Panthers’ lack of weapons, Stroud can make up for this by being able to make accurate throws and, if necessary, run with the football himself.

For Young, going to Houston would be a strong place for him. He has Dameon Pierce handing the football, and the team has draft picks to add some weapons around him. It would certainly help him get the 49ers offensive planner to work with Bobby Slowik as coordinator.

The Colts are in a tough spot, but they did have one of the best offensive coordinators this past season as their head coach in Shin Steichen. Considering what he’s done calling plays for the Philadelphia Eagles with Jalen Hurts as quarterback, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do with Richardson, albeit without pushing him onto the football field.

As for Levis, it looks like the Raiders would be his best landing spot. He can sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo and learn from McDaniels. Let’s not forget what a great year Mac Jones had in his rookie season with the New England Patriots with McDaniels as his coordinator. Levis sitting out a year in McDaniel’s offensive scheme would be great for him.

It’s hard to imagine the Seahawks missing out on one of the best defensive prospects falling on them with the #5 pick. But, the Seahawks can bring in a quarterback to sit behind Smith in Hooker, and maybe they can do that with their second-round pick. Imagine what Hawker could do in Seattle with Kenneth Walker handing the football to him, and DK Metcalfe and Tyler Lockett targeting the pitch.

2023 NFL Mock Draft with Best QB Predictions

Now, let’s see where the best leads will go based on the forecast:

Bryce Young: Houston TxCJ Stroud: Carolina PanthersAnthony Richardson: Indianapolis ColtsWill Levis: Las Vegas RaidersHendon Hooker: New Orleans Saints

There is not much change from the best fits. As of this writing, it looks like Stroud and Young will be going for the first two picks. That would leave the Colts with the opportunity to pick the third option, unless the team jumps ahead of them to third. And Richardson’s potential may be too much for the Colts. That would let Levis go to the Raiders as the starting quarterback of the future, with Garoppolo starting the 2023 season.

The only change would be where Hooker ends up. The Saints could use the 40th overall pick on Hooker, whom they reportedly met in the offseason.

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