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2023 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Best players in 2023 draft class, top prospects by position

Sportsnaut’s 2023 NFL Draft prospect rankings take a look at the best players at each position in the upcoming draft class. From our top-25 prospect evaluations to a top-50 draft board, positional rankings and scouting reports, it’s a comprehensive look at the 2023 NFL Draft.

When assembling prospect rankings, positional value is always taken into consideration. Quarterback is the most important position in sports, especially at the highest level. However, that doesn’t always mean a quarterback is the best player in a draft class.

While we do expect passers to be the first two picks in the NFL Draft, our rankings will look a bit different. Three quarterbacks make the top 10 in our 2023 NFL Draft prospect rankings, but the highest spots on the big board belong to defensive players and one offensive weapon.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft order

Before diving into our rankings of the best prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, here’s a rundown of our team-by-team mock drafts.

2023 NFL mock drafts by team

Statistics via Pro Football Focus and ESPN

Let’s dive into our 2023 NFL Draft big board, examining the top prospects by position and overall.

2023 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Top 25 prospects

1. Jalen Carter, defensive tackle, Georgia

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Texas Christian at Georgia
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Carter is the best player in the 2023 NFL Draft class, offering the potential to one day become a Hall of Famer. It’s rare for a defensive tackle to even be in the conversation for the top prospect in a draft class, let alone the consensus best talent. If you put positional value to the side, though, he is the most dominant draft-eligible player.

Related: Highest-paid NFL players 2023

Carter was responsible for 48 quarterback and despite facing persistent double teams, posted the 14th-highest pass-rush win rate (24.5 percent) among defensive tackles. Standing at 6-foot-3, his power is practically unmatched and he pairs with with excellent technique. Everything you could realistically ask for from a defensive lineman, Carter brings to the table.

While Carter is the No. 1 player in our 2023 NFL Draft prospect rankings, the off-field issues will push him down. He was warned about reckless driving by an officer in 2022 and was cited for going nearly twice the speed limit all before his alleged involvement in the street racing that played a role in the deaths of a teammate and Georgia Bulldogs staffer. He also showed up grossly overweight and out of shape for Georgia’s Pro Day, so maturity and work ethic are major concerns.

2. Will Anderson Jr, edge rusher, Alabama

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. has been the best pass rusher in college football over the last three seasons. A former five-star recruit, the 6-foot-4 pass rusher won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (2021-’22) in consecutive years as the best defensive player in the nation. While his frame is likely filled out and he’s not an elite athlete, Anderson Jr. is one of the most polished players in the 2023 NFL Draft. He offers an extremely high floor and should make multiple Pro Bowls in his career, with a chance for one or two All-Pro selections.

  • Will Anderson Jr. stats (career): 134 hurries, 58.5 tackles for loss, 36 QB hits, 34.5 sacks

3. Bijan Robinson, running back, Texas

Syndication: USA TODAY
Aaron E. Martinez / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bijan Robinson won’t be a top-five pick and likely not a top-10 selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. With that acknowledged the Texas running back is one of the best players in the entire class. Robinson is the top running back prospect to enter the NFL since Saquon Barkley, offering the same dynamic three-down ability. Robinson should be one of the rare two-contract players at his position and he can immediately be the focal point of an offense in his rookie season. He is the missing piece that can turn a great offense into an elite unit.

  • Bijan Robinson stats (career): 3,410 rushing yards, 33 rushing touchdowns, 6.3 ypc

4. Bryce Young, quarterback, Alabama

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl Classic-Cincinnati at Alabama
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young is 6-foot-2 and weighs 220 pounds, he is the best prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Even at 5-foot-10 and with a playing weight around 200 pounds, he is a franchise-caliber talent. Young is truly the closest thing we’ve seen to Drew Brees, especially when you factor in leadership, football IQ, work ethic and maturity. The concerns about whether or not he can hold up long-term are legitimate, but he can’t be a franchise quarterback right away for the NFL team that lands him.

Related: NFL GM believes Bryce Young will be better than Kyler Murray

5. C.J. Stroud, quarterback, Ohio State

Syndication: USA TODAY
Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud is a clean prospect. He checks off the important boxes in Bill Parcels’ quarterback rules, provides prototypical size, above-average arm strength, excellent accuracy and is a leader on the field. He is the best pure passer to come out of Ohio State in years, demonstrating the ability to maintain his poise when pressured and progress through his reads. Limited athleticism and the absence of elite physical tools cap his upside, but he could still be a top-12 quarterback in the NFL for the majority of his career.

Related: Why Ohio State star Marvin Harrison Jr. should sit out in 2023, prepare for NFL

6. Anthony Richardson, quarterback, Florida

Syndication: Ocala StarBanner
Doug Engle / USA TODAY NETWORK

Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson has the highest upside of any player in the 2023 NFL Draft. Standing at 6-foot-4, Richardson is a better athlete than Josh Allen and offers better size and a stronger arm than Lamar Jackson. Richardson’s footwork and mechanics need some work, otherwise, his volatile accuracy will hinder him early in his career. If he gets things cleaned up, though, Richardson’s ability to read defenses and make smart decisions with the football will combine with his physical traits to make him a perennial MVP candidate who can carry a team to a Super Bowl. Just remember, the downside is his accuracy issues aren’t resolved and he flames out.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft rumors

7. Tyree Wilson, edge rusher, Texas Tech

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After combining for just 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in his first two seasons, Texas Tech edge rush Tyree Wilson dominated (27.5 TFLs, 14 sacks) in his final two years with the Red Raiders. The 6-foot-6 edge rusher boasts a massive wingspan. While Wilson still needs to work on his pass-rushing technique and hand usage, the physical tools and production suggest there’s an upside to being a double-digit sack player at the next level.

Related: Highest-paid NFL coaches

8. Christian Gonzalez, cornerback, Oregon

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

Christian Gonzalez is the best cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft class. Standing at 6-foot-1 with a great wingspan and elite athleticism (9.94 Relative Athletic Score), Gonzalez checks off all the boxes as a future No. 1 cornerback. It’s truly the combination of size and movement skills that allow Gonzalez to stay in man coverage with just about any wide receiver out there. There will be some growing pains early, but he could become an All-Pro cornerback.

Related: NFL trade rumors

9. Devon Witherspoon, cornerback, Illinois

NCAA Football: Illinois at Minnesota
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

While Devon Witherspoon might not be as athletic as Gonzalez, the Illinois cornerback is the more pro-ready impact player. Opponents completed just 34.9 percent of passes thrown his way last season, with Witherspoon using his instincts and football IQ to always put himself in the right position for a play. Plus, Witherspoon is more than willing to lower his shoulder in run support and that solidifies him as a top-10 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft.

10. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, wide receiver, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the best wide receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft. Some will knock the Ohio State Buckeyes star for being a slot receiver, implying he can’t be a No. 1 option in an offense. However, recent seasons (Cooper Kupp, CeeDee Lamb, Amon-Ra St. Brown) demonstrate that a passing attack can be built around the slot receiver. Smith-Njigba is as polished as they come for a route-runner and he excels at creating a target for his quarterback. No matter where he lands, he should be in the running for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

11. Quentin Johnston, wide receiver, TCU

Quentin Johnston could be the best receiver from the 2023 draft class years from now. Standing at 6-foot-3, Johnton’s playmaking ability in the open field is a bit reminiscent of Julio Jones. He is absolutely electrifying in open space, offering the ability to beat defenses deep or turn a 10-yard reception into a 60-yard touchdown. However, the big knocks on Johnston are his hands (11.8 percent drop rate) and inconsistent production in college.

Related: Longest field goals in college football history

12. Peter Skoronski, offensive lineman, Northwestern

Northwestern offensive tackle Peter Skoronsi is the best offensive lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft. There remains debate about whether his arms are too short to be an offensive tackle at the next level. It’s worth trying him on the left side because he dominate protecting the blindside for years with the Wildcats. If he can’t handle left tackle, Skoronski can be a Pro Bowl guard for several years.

13. Nolan Smith, edge rusher, Georgia

Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith was off to a fantastic start in 2022 before he suffered a torn pec muscle. Fortunately, a huge performance (4.39 40-yard dash) at the NFL Combine returned Smith’s draft stock closer to where it was pre-injury. He’s definitely on the small side (6-foot-2, 238 pounds) for an NFL edge rusher, but there’s no denying his burst and flexibility coming around the edge could make him extremely productive as a No.2 pass rusher in the NFL.

  • Nolan Smith stats (career): 20 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles

14. Paris Johnson Jr., offensive tackle, Ohio State

After excelling at right guard in 2021, Ohio State moved Paris Johnson Jr. to left tackle. The 6-foot-6 offensive lineman thrived, allowing just 12 hurries and two sacks in 449 pass-block snaps. Johnson Jr. will likely struggle as a rookie, due to his inexperience and issues establishing the first punch, but he has all the tools to be a pillar on the left side.

Related: 2023 college football rankings

15. Dalton Kincaid, tight end, Utah

Dalton Kincaid might not be your traditional in-line blocker at tight end, using him that way would be a waste. However, he is an outstanding athlete with an unusual backstory who dominated the FCS and then became the No. 1 target at Utah. Kincaid will move the chains, make plays in the red zone and could have a few 1,000-yard seasons in him.

Related: Dalton Kincaid scouting report

16. Lukas Van Ness, edge rusher, Iowa

Iowa Hawkeyes edge rusher Lukas Van Ness showed flashes of being a great player in college, but the best is yet to come. The 6-foot-5 pass rusher offers the prototypical build for his position and he overwhelmed offensive tackles with his power. If he can develop a more diverse array of pass-rushing moves, Van Ness’ athleticism and power will turn him into a very productive player on a good defense.

Related: Best stadiums in college football

17. Will Levis, quarterback, Kentucky

Will Levis has arguably the strongest arm in the 2023 NFL Draft and he meets every basic criterion a coach could ask for if they built a quarterback from scratch. If Levis gets great coaching, improving how he responds to pressure and his ability to read and react to defenses, he could be a high-end starter. However, his struggles against SEC opponents and the need to rework his mechanics also means his floor is a fringe backup quarterback.

Related: 2023 NFL QB rankings

18. Michael Mayer, tight end, Notre Dame

The similarities between Michael Mayer and Jason Witten are striking. While that might not seem as exciting in today’s version of the NFL, when some tight ends are as athletic as wide receivers, that would still be a phenomenal career outcome for Mayer. He’s a reliable target, especially in the red zone, and he can be a dependable in-line blocker. He’ll be an above-average tight end in the NFL immediately and he should enjoy a long career with the upside of a few Pro Bowl selections.

Related: Best tight ends of all time

19. Joey Porter Jr., cornerback, Penn State

The son of the legendary former NFL linebacker, Joey Porter Jr. brings the same tenacity to the football field as his father just at a different position. A 6-foot-2 cornerback, Porter Jr. loves to initiate contact with wide receivers. Put him in a scheme that asks its cornerbacks to play more press-man coverage and Porter Jr’s size, intelligence and aggressiveness can help him become a high-end No. 2 cornerback.

20. Broderick Jones, offensive tackle, Georgia

Broderick Jones could be one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL five years from now. The Georgia Bulldogs standout provides excellent length, strength, size and athleticism. Offensive line coaches will likely see him as a right tackle to begin his NFL career, but working on his body positioning, adding more bulk to his frame and correcting his hand usage would help him get closer to the ceiling of an All-Pro offensive tackle.

Related: Highest-paid college football coaches 2023

21. Bryan Bresee, defensive tackle, Clemson

Once the 247 Sports’ No. 1 overall recruit in 2020, Bryan Bresee experienced more challenges than accomplishments at Clemson. He isn’t as developed as one would hope after three seasons in college, but this is still a 6-foot-5 defensive tackle who brings excellent power, above-average athleticism and he can move all over the defensive line. He needs the right coaching and the details of playing defensive tackle may never click for him, but there’s a chance he can be a far better player in the NFL than he was in college.

Related: Most overrated prospects in 2023 NFL Draft

22. Calijah Kancey, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh

Calijah Kancey is not Aaron Donald, no one is. With that said, he tested even better athletically at the NFL Combine than Donald. Just like his fellow alum, he dominated (30 hurries, 8 sacks) in his last season at Pitt. Kancey can be a wildly destructive interior pass rusher, but his size (6-foot-1, 281 pounds) likely prevents him from ever playing a three-down role.

Related: Biggest NFL Draft busts ever

23. Jordan Addison, wide receiver, USC

Jordan Addison accomplished everything he needed to do in college, winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award and becoming the go-to target for two future NFL starting quarterbacks (Kenny Pickett and Caleb Williams). However, the pre-draft process highlighted that Addison isn’t a great athlete (5.87 RAS) and his lack of play strength is apparent whenever defensive backs can get their hands on him or outmuscle him. Long-term, Addison projects as a No. 2 receiver who will do most of his damage working the short and intermediate areas of the field.

  • Jordan Addison stats (career): 219 receptions, 3,134 receiving yards, 29 touchdowns

24. Deonte Banks, cornerback Maryland

Deonte Banks could become only the third Maryland Terrapins player to be picked in the first round since 2010. The 6-foot cornerback is one of the best athletes in the 2023 NFL Draft (10.0 RAS), which he uses to follow No. 1 wide receivers like a shadow. He can play in just about any scheme, but he could stand to improve his discipline and awareness. Fortunately, that should come with time and instruction.

Related: NFL offense rankings 2023

25. Myles Murphy, edge rusher, Clemson

Myles Murphy, another five-star recruit in 2020, entered the year as a projected top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide consistent production in his final season at Clemson. With that said, this is still a 6-foot-5 defensive end with excellent length, good athleticism and a relentless motor. The ability to play in different spots increases his appeal and even if he doesn’t live up to the heights everyone first expected, he can still be a solid starter at the next level.

Best prospects 2023 NFL Draft: Top 50 big board

Here is Sportsnaut’s 2023 NFL Draft big board.

Rank:Player:PositionSchool
1Jalen CarterDTGeorgia
2Will Anderson Jr.EDGEAlabama
3Bijan RobinsonRBTexas
4Bryce YoungQBAlabama
5C.J. StroudQBOhio State
6Anthony RichardsonQBFlorida
7Tyree WilsonEDGETexas Tech
8Christian GonzalezCBOregon
9Devon WitherspoonCBIllinois
10Jaxon Smith-NjigbaWROhio State
11Quentin JohnstonWRTCU
12Peter SkoronskiOTNorthwestern
13Nolan SmithEDGEGeorgia
14Paris Johnson JrOTOhio State
15Dalton KincaidTEUtah
16Lukas Van NessEDGEIowa
17Will LevisQBKentucky
18Michael MayerTENotre Dame
19Joey Porter JrCBPenn State
20Broderick JonesOTGeorgia
21Bryan BreseeDTClemson
22Calijah KanceyDTPittsburgh
23Jordan AddisonWRUSC
24Deonte BanksCBMaryland
25Myles MurphyEDGEClemson
26Zay FlowersWRBoston College
27Darnell WrightOTTennessee
28Jahmyr GibbsRBAlabama
29Darnell WashingtonTEGeorgia
30Brian BranchDBAlabama
31Will McDonald IVEDGEIowa State
32Keion WhiteCBGeorgia Tech
33Emmanuel ForbesCBMississippi State
34Anton HarrisonOTOklahoma
35Jack CampbellLBIowa
36Adetomiwa AdebaworeEDGENorthwestern
37Felix Anudike-UzomahEDGEKansas State
38BJ OjulariEDGELSU
39Luke MusgraveTEOregon State
40O’Cyrus TorrenceIOLFlorida
41Hendon HookerQBTennessee
42Josh DownsWRNorth Carolina
43Devon AchaneRBTexas A&M
44Zach CharbonnetRBUCLA
45Dawand JonesOTOhio State
46Drew SandersLBArkansas
47Sam LaPortaTEIowa
48Steve AvilaIOLTCU
49Joe TippmannIOLWisconsin
50Clark Phillips IIICBUtah

2023 NFL Draft prospects by position: Positional rankings

NCAA Football: Austin Peay at Alabama
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Best quarterbacks in 2023 NFL Draft

  1. Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. Anthony Richardson, Florida Gators
  4. Will Levis, Kentucky Wildcats
  5. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Volunteers
  6. Tanner McKee, Stanford Cardinal
  7. Aidan O’Connell, Purdue Boilermakers
  8. Jake Haener, Fresno State Bulldogs
  9. Stetson Bennett, Georgia Bulldogs
  10. Malik Cunningham, Louisville Cardinals

Top running backs in 2023 NFL Draft

  1. Bijan Robinson, Texas Longhorns
  2. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama Crimson Tide
  3. Devon Achane, Texas A&M Aggies
  4. Zach Charbonnet, UCLA Bruins
  5. Tyjae Spears, Tulane Green Wave
  6. DeWayne McBride, UAB Blazers
  7. Tank Bigsby, Auburn Tigers
  8. Roschon Johnson, Texas Longhorns
  9. Kendre Miller, TCU Horned Frogs
  10. Sean Tucker, Syracuse Orange

Best wide receivers in 2023 NFL Draft

  1. Quentin Johnston, TCU Horned Frogs
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. Jordan Addison, USC Trojans
  4. Zay Flowers, Boston College Eagles
  5. Josh Downs, North Carolina Tar Heels
  6. Nathaniel Dell, Houston Cougars
  7. A.T. Perry, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
  8. Rashee Rice, SMU Mustangs
  9. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee Volunteers
  10. Tyler Scott, Cincinnati Bearcats

Top tight end prospects in 2023 NFL Draft

  1. Dalton Kincaid, Utah Utes
  2. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  3. Darnell Washington, Georgia Bulldogs
  4. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State Beavers
  5. Sam LaPorta, Iowa Hawkeyes
  6. Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan Wolverines
  7. Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
  8. Davis Allen, Clemson Tigers
  9. Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion Monarchs
  10. Will Mallory, Miami Hurricanes

Best edge rushers in 2023 NFL Draft

  1. Will Anderson Jr, Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech Red Raiders
  3. Nolan Smith, Georgia Bulldogs
  4. Lukas Van Ness, Iowa Hawkeyes
  5. Myles Murphy, Clemson Tigers
  6. Will McDonald IV, Iowa State Cyclones
  7. BJ Ojulari, LSU Tigers
  8. Adetomiwa Adebaore, Northwestern Wildcats
  9. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State Wildcats
  10. Andre Carter II, Army Black Knights

Best defensive tackles in 2023 NFL Draft

  1. Jalen Carter, Georgia Bulldogs
  2. Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh Panthers
  3. Bryan Bresee, Clemson Tigers
  4. Moro Ojomo, Texas Longhorns
  5. Siaki Ika, Baylor Bears
  6. Mazi Smith, Michigan Wolverines
  7. Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin Badgers
  8. Jacquelin Roy, LSU Tigers
  9. Kobie Turner, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
  10. Zacch Pickens, South Carolina Gamecocks

2023 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Best linebacker prospects

  1. Jack Campbell, Iowa Hawkeyes
  2. Drew Sanders, Arkansas Razorbacks
  3. Daiyan Henley, Washington State Cougars
  4. Trenton Simpson, Clemson Tigers
  5. Dorian Williams, Tulane Green Wave
  6. DeMarvion Overshown, Texas Longhorns
  7. Noah Sewell, Oregon Ducks
  8. Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati Bearcats
  9. Cam Jones, Indiana Hoosiers
  10. Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama Crimson Tide

Top cornerbacks in 2023 NFL Draft

  1. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon Ducks
  2. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois Fighting Illini
  3. Joey Porter Jr., Penn State Nittany Lions
  4. Deonte Banks, Maryland Terrapins
  5. Cam Smith, South Carolina Gamecocks
  6. Garrett Williams, Syracuse Orange
  7. Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State Bulldogs
  8. Kelee Ringo, Georgia Bulldogs
  9. Eli Ricks, Alabama Crimson Tide
  10. Tyrique Stevenson, Miami Hurricanes

NFL Draft positional rankings: Best safety prospects in 2023

  1. Brian Branch, Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M Aggies
  3. Jordan Battle, Alabama Crimson Tide
  4. Jammie Robinson, Florida State Seminoles
  5. Sydney Brown, Illinois Fighting Illini

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