Jason Willis’ 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

With the NFL draft nearly here, it is time to finalize the player rankings. In a draft where no one has any idea what’s going to happen, nearly everyone will have a different set of rankings on their big board.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than at quarterback. With four passers expected to be taken in the first round, there is no consensus among pundits on who the best one is. With so many sizes and shapes at the position, it promises to be debated for years to come.

While most of the conversation centers around the quarterbacks, the class is quite deep. With a litany of tight ends, pass rushers, and cornerbacks, there is talent to be found throughout the draft.

Throughout this draft process, I watched over 120 players. In these rankings, positional value, injury history, and off-field issues were not taken into account. Rather, it is just a ranking of how I view each player’s talent. And now, on to my big board for the 2023 NFL draft.

NFL Draft Big Board: First Round Grades

1. Jalen Carter, DT (Georgia)

Yes, the off-field issues will scare teams away. However, on the field, there is little doubt that Carter is the best player in this year’s draft class. A truly dominant presence on the interior, he was the best player on a Georgia defense that had numerous first round selections. Simply put, he will become an All-Pro in short order. Carter is an easy choice for the top of my 2023 NFL draft big board.

2. Christian Gonzalez, CB (Oregon)

An elite athlete at a premier position, Gonzalez is a smooth mover, at 6’1″, who is ready-made for the NFL. A willing tackler who succeeds in both man and zone coverage, he does a great job attacking the ball as well. The prototype cornerback for the NFL, Gonzalez is reminiscent of the Broncos’ Patrick Surtain.

3. Devon Witherspoon, CB (Illinois)

Another corner at the top of my NFL draft big board, Witherspoon is going to bring attitude and confidence to whatever defense he joins. A player who relishes the chance to lay big hits, he stays physical in coverage and gets his hands on the ball. He will be a Pro Bowl caliber player from day one if he can add weight.

4. Will Anderson Jr., EDGE (Alabama)

The best pass rusher in the class, Anderson likely would’ve been the first overall pick last season if he could have entered the draft. A game wrecker off the edge who dominates the run, he still has room to grow as a pass rusher. Still, he will be a Pro Bowl-caliber player from day one — and will only get better going forward.

5. C.J. Stroud, QB (Ohio State)

My number one quarterback in the class, Stroud has all the qualities of an NFL quarterback. After showing tremendous poise during his time at Ohio State, he was immensely productive through the use of his deep ball, which he throws as well as anyone on the planet. More than capable of making plays outside of the pocket, he has a bright future ahead of him.

6. Bryce Young, QB (Alabama)

A former Heisman Trophy winner and National Champion, Bryce Young is a proven winner in the biggest games. When the play breaks down, there aren’t many better. With elite field vision, he consistently makes correct decisions and delivers the ball accurately.

Of course, the size concerns are real. However, his talent and leadership ability are worth the risk. He may not have an incredibly long career, but it will be a productive one.

7. Bijan Robinson, RB (Texas)

The most talented running back we have seen in many years, there really is not much that Robinson can’t do. A fit for any scheme, he can run with power, make you miss and catch the ball out of the backfield.

8. Anthony Richardson, QB (Florida)

The most physically gifted quarterback in the class, Richardson is perhaps the draft’s biggest question mark. While he doesn’t have a large amount of snaps under his belt, he is much further along in his development than most give him credit for. Perhaps the best athlete we have ever seen at the position, he is another player with a very bright future if he lands in the right spot.

9. Joey Porter Jr., CB (Penn State)

A freak athlete with insanely long arms, he has the physical gifts to overwhelm wide receivers in the NFL. With great ball skills, Porter has all the tools to become one of the leagues best corners.

10. Darnell Wright, OT (Tennessee)

Possessing a massive frame, Wright easily overpowers defenders in the run game. Against the pass, his long arms allow him to get a solid first punch, and he has impressive athletic ability that allows him to match speed around the edge. While adjusting to an NFL offense might take time, Wright will be a top-tier offensive tackle before long.

11. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB (Alabama)

The “other” first round running back in this class, Gibbs is lightning fast with the ability to make a guy miss in a phone booth. The best receiving back in the class, he is ready-made for the NFL. Some will be concerned about his size, but you can’t hit what you can’t touch.

12. Tyree Wilson, EDGE (Texas Tech)

A physical freak who dominated in the Big 12, Wilson might be the best pass rusher on some teams’ boards. A day one starter, he has Pro Bowl potential from day one.

13. Nolan Smith, EDGE (Georgia)

After blowing up the combine with his elite athletic traits, Nolan Smith has received some comparisons to the Eagles’ Hassan Reddick. Players with his traits never last long, and that is especially true at pass rusher.

14. Peter Skoronski, OT (Northwestern)

One of the safest prospects in the class, Skoronski doesn’t have any glaring holes in his game. Whether he plays at tackle or guard, he will be an NFL starter from day one and for many years after.

15. O’Cyrus Torrence, G (Florida)

The best interior offensive lineman in the class, Torrence is a smart player who knows how to use his size to his advantage. A mauler in the run game, he uses good hand positioning to be effective in pass sets as well.

16. Zay Flowers, WR (Boston College)

With a similar physical profile to Antonio Brown, the comp has been thrown around. After all, Flowers is supremely explosive down the field, plays with attitude and love for the game, and has terrific hands through contact. While the comps to Brown are lofty, Flowers can have a similar impact on an NFL offense.

17. Myles Murphy, EDGE (Clemson)

An incredibly “toolsy” prospect with all the natural ability to become a double-digit sack guy in the NFL, Murphy makes for a relatively easy evaluation. Likely to be selected in the middle of the first round, he gives any defense an immediate jolt.

18. Jordan Addison, WR (USC)

Once the Biletnikoff award winner at the University of Pittsburgh, Addison experienced an up-and-down season while at USC last season. Still, he is a gifted route runner who wins from a variety of alignments. He may never be a dominant number one receiver, but he could have a career similar to that of Amari Cooper.

19. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR (Ohio State)

After playing in just three games for Ohio State last season, “JSN” tested well at the NFL Scouting combine. Expected by many to be the first receiver taken, he fits the role of a big slot who can handle a large number of targets, despite never being a dominant wideout.

20. Darnell Washington, TE (Georgia)

At 6’7″ and 264 pounds, Washington is one of the most physically imposing players in the class. Truly a three-down contributor, he acts as another offensive lineman in the run game. Furthermore, his potential as a receiver is immense — and has mostly been untapped.

NFL Draft Big Board: Second Round Grades

21. Emmanuel Forbes, CB (Mississippi State)

An electric defensive back who excels at getting his hands on the ball, Forbes is the definition of ballhawk. However, after weighing in at just 166 pounds at the combine, some teams will definitely be scared off.

22. Kayshon Boutte, WR (LSU)

Considered by some to be the best receiver in the class coming into last season, Boutte never got going in 2022. However, he is an electric playmaker with the ball in his hands and could end up being a steal for someone.

23. Michael Mayer, TE (Notre Dame)

A well-rounded tight end prospect who has no weaknesses, he has all the makings of an NFL starter for the next several years. While he has a relatively high ceiling, his floor is high as well, making him one of the safest prospects in the class.

24. Sam LaPorta, TE (Iowa)

In a loaded tight end class, LaPorta seems to be getting overlooked. Hailing from the tight end factory that produced George Kittle, Noah Fant, and T.J. Hockenson, LaPorta has similar qualities to those players. A load to bring down after the catch, he will be a weapon as a receiver.

25. Andrew Voorhees, G (USC)

Unfortunately, Voorhees tore his ACL at the NFL Scouting Combine and will not be available during his rookie season. When on the field however, he has all the makings of a starter on the interior.

26. Keeanu Benton, IDL (Wisconsin)

A powerhouse defensive tackle who will destroy the running game, Benton offers some underrated juice as a pass rusher, as well. One of my favorite players in the class — and someone I expect to see in the league for a long time.

27. Paris Johnson Jr., OT (Ohio State)

At 6’6″ and 313 pounds, Johnson certainly sticks out on film. While he has a massive frame, he moves well for his size and is quite fluid in his pass sets. With experience all along the offensive line, he will be a favorite among NFL teams.

28. Broderick Jones, OT (Georgia)

With incredible athletic ability for the position, Jones is an easy player to get excited about. However, he is not yet a finished product, mostly due to having just two years of experience on the left side. Still, in the right situation, the sky is the limit.

29. Dalton Kincaid, TE (Utah)

Another tight end who has the potential to go in the first round, Kincaid has physical gifts as a receiver that don’t come around often at the position. If he can become even a passable blocker, he will be a highly valuable player in the NFL.

30. Jack Campbell, LB (Iowa)

It’s a really poor linebacker class. With no first round grades at the position, Campbell is as good as it gets in this class. A menace against the run, he is still improving against the pass. With elite athletic ability for the position, his potential is worth a shot early in the draft.

31. Israel Abanikanda, RB (Pitt)

One of my favorite players in the class, he will immediately add explosiveness to an NFL offense. He probably won’t go in the second round, but he is well worth a pick at this spot.

32. Anton Harrison, OT (Oklahoma)

33. John Michael-Schmitz, G (Minnesota)

34. Joe Tippmann, IOL (Wisconsin)

35. Lukas Van Ness, EDGE (Iowa)

A likely first round pick, Van Ness is very much a project. With no starts last season for Iowa, an NFL team will have the opportunity to cultivate his obvious physical gifts.

36. Luke Musgrave, TE (Oregon State)

37. Drew Sanders, LB (Arkansas)

38. Deonte Banks, CB (Maryland)

39. D.J. Turner, CB (Michigan)

40. Jordan Battle, S (Alabama)

41. Josh Downs, WR (North Carolina)

42. Kelee Ringo, DB (Georgia)

A long limbed, tall cornerback, Ringo was a key member of the Georgia defense that won back-to-back National Championships. Alas, he is a work in progress in coverage. Currently, I believe his skill set would benefit from a move to safety.

43. Eli Ricks, CB (Alabama)

44. Jaquelin Roy, DL (LSU)

45. Ricky Stromberg, IOL (Arkansas)

46. Sydney Brown, DB (Illinois)

47. Jayden Reed, WR (Michigan State)

48. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB (Minnesota)

49. Jaelyn Duncan, OT (Maryland)

NFL Draft Big Board: Third Round Grades

50. Felix Aniduke-Uzomah, EDGE (Kansas State)

51. Dawand Jones, OT (Ohio State)

52. Daiyan Henley, LB (Washington State)

53. Tuli Tuipulotu, DL (USC)

54. Calijah Kancey, DL (Pitt)

One of the draft’s most debated players, I just don’t see anyway that he lasts on the inside at 281 pounds. Still, he is a talented pass rusher who will be given every opportunity to prove himself as an outlier.

55. B.J. Ojulari, EDGE (LSU)

56. Derick Hall, EDGE, (Auburn)

57. Devon Achane, RB (Texas A&M)

58. Xavier Hutchinson, WR (Iowa State)

59. Cam Smith, CB (South Carolina)

60. Jalin Hyatt, WR (Tennessee)

61. Quentin Johnston, WR (TCU)

The number one receiver for many, I worry about his ability to separate. Not asked to run a wide variety of routes in school, he often seemed most comfortable attempting 50/50 balls. He will need work in the NFL.

62. Tyjae Spears, RB (Tulane)

63. Will Levis, QB (Kentucky)

Considered one of the top four quarterbacks in the class, he will be a first rounder. However, I just cannot get there with Levis. While his arm is talented and he can move, his accuracy to all levels of the field is concerning. Couple this with his decision making, and I would steer clear in the first two rounds.

64. Henry To’oTo’o, LB (Alabama)

65. Will McDonald, EDGE (Iowa State)

66. Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL (Northwestern)

67. Rashee Rice, WR (SMU)

68. Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, WR (Houston)

69. Tyrique Stevenson, CB (Miami)

70. Isaiah Foskey, EDGE (Notre Dame)

71. Julius Brentz, CB (Kansas State)

72. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB (UCLA)

73. Bryan Breese, DL (Clemson)

74. Antonio Johnson, S (Texas A&M)

75. Cody Mauch, G (North Dakota State)

76. Mazi Smith, DL (Michigan)

77. Hendon Hooker, QB (Tennessee)

A highly productive player at Tennessee, Hooker is already 25 years old. Since he is rehabbing an injury, he likely will not be available until his age 26 season. When he is ready to play, he will need to learn how to play “real football” as his offense at Tennessee offers almost nothing to the NFL game.

78. Gervon Dexter Sr., DL (Florida)

79. Zacch Pickens, DL (South Carolina)

80. Andre Carter, EDGE (Army)

81. Zach Harrison, DL (Ohio State)

82. Byron Young, DL (Alabama)

83. Cedric Tillman, WR (Tennessee)

84. Christopher Smith, S (Georgia)

85. J.L. Skinner, S (Boise State)

NFL Draft Big Board: Day Three Grades

86. Keion White, DL (Georgia Tech)

87. Yaya Diaby, EDGE (Louisville)

88. Steve Avila, G (TCU)

89. Marvin Mims, WR (Oklahoma)

90. Roschon Johnson, RB (Texas)

91. Stetson Bennett, QB (Georgia)

Maybe the most recognizable college football players in the country, Bennett is a likely day three pick in the NFL. Very limited physically and old for a rookie, he will likely top out as a long-term back up.

92. Tyler Steen, OL (Alabama)

93. Emil Eikyor, G (Alabama)

94. Tanner McKee, QB (Stanford)

95. Jonathan Mingo, WR (Ole Miss)

96. Siaki Ika, DL (Baylor)

97. Brandon Joseph, S (Notre Dame)

98. Zach Charbonnet, RB (UCLA)

99. Clark Phillips, CB (Utah)

100. Parker Washington, WR (Penn State)

101. Eric Gray, RB (Oklahoma)

102. Max Duggan, QB (TCU)

103. Zach Evans, RB (Ole Miss)

104. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB (TCU)

105. Jarren Hall, QB (BYU)

106. Clayton Tune, QB (Houston)

107. Darius Rush, CB (South Carolina)

108. Cameron Latu, TE (Alabama)

109. Dee Winters, LB (TCU)

110. Kendre Miller, RB (TCU)

111. Jaylon Jones, CB (Texas A&M)

112. DeMarvion Overshown, LB (Texas)

113. Deuce Vaughn, RB (Kansas State)

An electric runner at the college level, I will be rooting for him in the NFL. Alas, at his size, it will likely be hard to survive as anything more than a special teamer.

114. Riley Moss, CB, Iowa

115. Jammie Robinson, S (Florida State)

116. A.T. Perry, WR (Wake Forest)

117. Michael Wilson, WR (Stanford)

118. Owen Pappoe, LB (Auburn)

119. Ventrell Miller, LB (Florida)

120. Trenton Simpson, LB (Clemson)

121. Zion Nelson, OT (Miami)

122. Dorian Williams, LB (Tulane)

123. Nick Broeker, OL (Ole Miss)

124. Tank Bigsby, RB (Auburn)

125. Noah Sewell, LB (Utah)

126. Tank Bigsby, RB (Auburn)

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