Our 2023 NFL Draft big board for Day 2 is now alive as we look at the top remaining prospects heading into the second round of the annual event.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is the biggest name not selected within the first 31 picks Thursday night. Some had him projected to go within the top-five picks. What happened on that front?
A former Notre Dame All-American tight end was slotted to be a top-20 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He remains on the board heading into Friday.
On the defensive side, defensive backs Joey Porter Jr. and Brian Branch from traditional powerhouse programs are still available. These are among the top-30 players still out there as we update our NFL Draft big board heading into Friday.
1. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
One of the most-productive collegiate tight ends in recent history, Mayer caught 138 passes for 1,649 yards and 16 touchdowns over the course of his final two seasons with the Irish. He has been seen as a first-round talent since jumping on to the scene as a freshman back in 2020.
It was a surprise to see the Buffalo Bills take Utah’s Dalton Kincaid over Mayer in the first round. Here’s an all-around talent that can move the sticks in the passing game and is already a pro-ready blocker in the run game. Some team will get a steal on Friday.
2. Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Heading into the 2022 season, Porter Jr. was seen as a lock to go within the top-10. The 6-foot-2 defensive back ran a surprising 4.46 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s seen as physical at the line and produced at a high level at Penn State (11 passes defended in 2022).
With the Pittsburgh Steelers slated to have the first pick in the second round Friday night, it makes perfect sense to target Porter Jr. with that selection. His father played in Pittsburgh from 1999-2006.
3. Brian Branch, S, Alabama
According to Pro Football Focus, Branch boasted an overall grade of 89.5 for Alabama last season. He also recorded seven passed defended and two interceptions. He has the ability to play single-high safety in the NFL and the versatility to move in the box as well as to the slot at cornerback.
Most figured Branch would be an outlier in a weak safety class. However, he remains on the board through 31 picks. That won’t last long come Friday evening.
4. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Heading into the start of the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that the Tennessee Titans might move up from No. 12 overall to the third pick for Levis. Instead, Tennessee was among the teams that passed on the former Kentucky star with its original selection.
This continued a dramatic fall down the draft, leading to Levis being among the best players remaining on our NFL Draft big board. There were pre-draft concerns over his attitude. Add in the fact that teams are concerned about a toe injury that might require surgery, and there’s a reason why he remains available.
5. Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
An absolute monster of a man. At 6-foot-7 and 264 pounds, Darnell Washington is a mismatch waiting to happen for opposing defensive backs. He also ran a solid 4.64 40-yard dash, showing that he can also be a mismatch for linebackers.
Issues relating to blocking and route running led to Washington falling out of the first round. Even then, some team will take a chance on him early Friday.
6. Adetomiwa Adebawore, EDGE, Northwestern
At 6-foot-2, Adebawore is somewhat short for an edge pass rusher. But it’s hard to beat the type of explosiveness, production and pass-rush moves he has displayed over the years. Over the course of the past three seasons at Northwestern, Adebawore recorded a combined 23.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.
7. Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
One of the biggest knocks regarding the wide receiver class in this year’s NFL Draft has been the lack of height. At 5-foot-9, Downs fits into that equation. Despite this, a combination of short-area quickness and the ability to get to the second level makes him a legit threat in the slot. Downs recorded a combined 195 receptions for 2,364 yards and 19 touchdowns over the course of his final two seasons with the Tar Heels.
8. Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
Playing opposite Paris Johnson Jr. at Ohio State, Jones flew under the radar in the pre-draft process. He’s a mountain of a man at 6-foot-8 and 374 pounds. While pass-protection will be an issue early, his brute strength should end up being a positive in the running game out of the gate.
9. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
If Hooker had not torn his ACL last season, he would’ve challenged Caleb Williams for the Heisman Trophy. For good reason. The dude tallied 32 total touchdowns against two interceptions. The 6-foot-3 signal caller has the accuracy and arm strength to succeed at the next level.
Add in a running ability, and there were many who believed he would be a first-round pick. We’re now intrigued to see if Hooker goes ahead of Levis when Round 2 gets going Friday evening.
10. Steve Avila, G, Texas Christian
The best guard prospect in this draft, we expected Avila to go some time at the end of the first round. A three-year starter at TCU, Avila boasts a rare combination of power and athleticism. He’s solid in both pass protection and run blocking. As one of the tom remaining players on our NFL Draft big board, one team will get a steal in Round 2.
2023 NFL Draft big board: Top remaining players
|14||Luke Musgrave||TE||Oregon State|
|15||Keion White||EDGE||Georgia Tech|
|20||Jayden Reed||WR||Michigan State|
|23||Tucker Kraft||TE||South Dakota State|
|24||Devon Achane||RB||Texas A&M|
|26||Ji’Ayir Brown||S||Penn State|
|27||Zacch Pickens||DT||South Carolina|
|28||Tyrique Stevens||CB||Miami (F)|
|30||Julius Brents||CB||Kansas State|