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NFL analyst and former QB ranks C.J. Stroud atop 2023 draft class

As we approach the 2023 NFL Draft, more evaluations are coming in on the highly-touted group of quarterback prospects set to take their talent from college to the pros. We don’t know who will be the top pick among a group that includes Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson, but with the Carolina Panthers moving up from the ninth pick, we’re sure to see a quarterback come off the board first.

With no prospect emerging as the consensus No. 1 pick yet, there’s a wide group of opinions on who general manager Scott Fitterer should select to quarterback coach Frank Reich’s offense next season. Former NFL quarterback and current NBC football analyst Chris Simms ranks the incoming class of QB prospects each year, and he’s finally revealed his 2023 hierarchy.

Here’s how Simms sees this year’s crop of NFL Draft QB prospects:

  1. C.J. Stroud – Tier 1
  2. Bryce Young – Tier 2
  3. Hendon Hooker – Tier 2
  4. Anthony Richardson – Tier 3
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Will Levis – Tier 4

For many, seeing Stroud emerge as the top prospect, where Simms labels the Ohio State star as his only “Tier 1” QB, is certainly noteworthy. Another fascinating take is having Levis ranked not as the fourth-best QB, but actually tied for the fifth-best, behind Hooker and DTR, two players who are not being viewed as first-round prospects. Meanwhile, Levis is expected to be a top-ten pick.

While the rankings we see from Simms are certainly eye-opening, we also have to realize each team views each prospect differently. All that matters on draft day for the Panthers is that they take the top player on their board. If Simms had his say, it looks like he’d go with Stroud.

We’ll have to wait until April 27 to discover who Carolina ranks No. 1, yet it’s possible Houston, who picks second, could still end up with their top choice, especially if their board places Stroud or another available QB at the top of their board.

Related: NFL mock draft 2023: Latest Round 1 projection for 2023 NFL Draft

Those interested in hearing the why behind his rankings can tune into the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast where he discusses his 2023 NFL Draft QB rankings in further detail.

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