The 2023 NFL Draft is fast approaching with many focused on the battle between C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young to be the No.1 pick and the best quarterback available. However, it seems many in the NFL have a different perspective on the 2023 draft class.
It hasn’t been the perfect season for either Stroud or Young. In the case of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, he entered Week 12 ranked 30th in passing yards (2,443), 18th in passing touchdowns (22) and 10th in ESPN QBR (83).
While Stroud is near the top of the Heisman Watch, he isn’t performing at quite the level we saw in 2021. The 6-foot-3 passer’s completion rate dipped (71.9% to 67.1%) and he is averaging fewer yards per attempt (10.1 to 9.9).
Stroud and Young each carry concerns that NFL teams are focused on. The recent failures of Ohio State quarterbacks in the NFL are hurting Stroud and Young’s size (6-foot) is a major concern as he prepares to make the jump to the next level.
- Will Levis stats (2022): 2,012 passing yards, 16-9 TD-INT, 153.6 QB rating, 66.1% completion rate, 8.6 yards per attempt
Without a no-doubt generational talent at the top, NFL scouts are diving deep into the 2022 quarterback class to find the next great star. Heading into the final weeks of the 2022 season, it appears Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis is the player capturing the eyes of scouts.
TJ McCreight of 33rd Team spoke to multiple NFL scouts, with three of them identifying Levis as the best quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. Two of the scouts polled also raved about Levis’s toughness and his play under difficult circumstances this season.
“It is a miracle that he keeps playing every week after all of the hits he takes. He is more banged up than people think — much more.”NFL scout on Kentucky QB Will Levis’ toughness, durability
Toughness and durability aren’t Levis’s top attributes. The 6-foot-3 quarterback has one of the strongest arms in all of football, allowing him to throw 40-plus yards downfield when on the move without his feet set.
No one in the NFL is comparing Levis to two generational talents. However, scouts and coaches see his quick release, elite arm strength and dual-threat abilities as the building blocks of a franchise-caliber quarterback.
Levis would have a great opportunity to shine at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, putting his physicals on display in perfect showcase moments. However, it’s worth looking back at some of his performances this season.
Facing one of the worst defenses in the SEC, Levis completed just 59.3% of his attempts with 98 passing yards and three interceptions against the Tennessee Volunteers. Battling the Florida Gators on Oct. 10, Levis finished with a 1-1 TD-INT ratio and 54.2% completion rate on 24 pass attempts.
Levis has feasted on lesser competition – 7-1 TD-INT ratio, 606 passing yards vs Miami (OH) and Northern Illinois – but dealt with far more inconsistency against quality competition. Physical tools might separate Levis from Stroud and Young in some ways, but he also comes with alarming shortcomings.