2023 NFL Draft Final Position Rankings: Edge Rushers

The second group on defense in our final position rankings for the 2023 NFL draft: the edge rushers. This group looks to be strong again, just like the last couple of classes. We should see four to five guys go in the 1st round. It was hard to pick just 10 guys.

As always, I will be listing players at their expected NFL positions. Be sure to check out my mid-season rankings, and if you want to check out the draft database that I help update almost daily, you can find it at risendraft.

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2023 NFL Draft Edge Rushers: The Top 5

  1. Will Anderson, Alabama: What more needs to be said about Anderson? He is a consensus top three player in the draft. Despite being just 6’4 253, he has amazing athleticism and explosion in his body. He had a staggering 81 pressures and 15 sacks in 2021. Physically well developed, but could add some bulk to help his play against the run.
  2. Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech: Wilson is a huge edge rusher at 6’6 271. He had a bit of a break out in 2021 and was even better in 2022, despite missing some time. He is a very good, but not elite, athlete. He looks like more of a pure 4-3 defensive end. He has improved as a pass rusher each season. Wilson had 50 pressures and 8 sacks this season. He is still developing. Some even think he could play 5-tech.
  3. Myles Murphy, Clemson: Murphy is almost the opposite of Anderson. He goes 6’5 268, and his game is based on strength and power. His pass rush moves are underdeveloped, so they need some work. He is already a good run defender. Murphy is still a high-level athlete.
  4. Lukas Van Ness, Iowa: Van Ness is a freak athlete at 6’5 272 with 4.58 speed and 34″ arms. His game, at this point, is mainly based on bull rushes and speed-to-power. He is definitely still developing. Van Ness never started a game, but still had 46 pressures and 9 sacks last season.
  5. Will McDonald IV, Iowa State: Will McDonald is another freak, but a different kid of freak from Murphy or Van Ness. He is 6’4 245 with crazy speed, agility, and bend. He wasn’t as productive as he could have been, through no fault of his own. Iowa State a lot of times lined him up at a 4-tech or 4i head up on a tackle, and that’s just not his game. Still, he was productive with 95 pressures and 28 sacks the last three seasons.

2023 NFL Draft Edge Rushers: Best of the Rest

6. Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame: Foskey is bendy with long, 34″ arms, and tons of potential. Foskey also shows some explosion in his body. It just needs development. Already a good run defender. It took him a couple years to show anything since he was a high school tight end, but was pretty consistent the last two seasons with almost identical stat lines.

7. BJ Ojulari, LSU: Brother of Azeez, he will go earlier than his brother went. He has been a good run defender since he stepped on campus, despite his size (6’2 248). Ojulari really came on as a pass rusher in 2022. 49 pressures and nine sacks on the year for the speedy pass rusher. He could improve as a tackler and add some bulk.

8. Derick Hall II, Auburn: Despite being 6’3 254, Hall has 34 1/2″ arms and almost plays like a power rusher, despite having the athleticism of a speed rusher. Hall has put up solid pass rush numbers the last two seasons with 90 pressures and 18 sacks. Consistency and a game plan will be things he needs work on.

9. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State: Anudike-Uzomah, or FAU as he is affectionally known, has been a solid all-around edge defender with solid 6’3 255 and 33″ arms. He had a bit of a breakout season in 2021, with 43 pressures and 13 sacks. He could improve his play against the run.

10. Zach Harrison, Ohio State: Harrison has been a solid all-around player since 2020. He has the size and athleticism to play in a 4-3 or 3-4. At 6’5 272 and crazy long 36 1/4″ arms, he is a little stiff in the lower half, but is explosive. He has had trouble converting pressures to sacks. Harrison has just 10 sacks the last two seasons, but 60 pressures. Harrison is already a really good run defender, too.

2023 NFL Draft Final Position Rankings: Offensive Tackles

Let’s get right into the fifth group in our look at my final position rankings for the 2023 NFL draft: the offensive tackles . Before the season started this group looked to be a bit of a drop off from previous classes; but a few guys have stepped up and a few have seemingly come out of nowhere. This class looks to be another solid group, even with Olu Fashanu of Penn State, and a few others, going back to school

As always, I will be listing players at their expected NFL positions. Be sure to check out my mid-season ranking of the 2023 NFL draft offensive tackles, and if you want to check out the draft database that I help update almost daily, you can find it at risendraft.

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2023 NFL Draft Offensive Tackles: The Top 5

  1. Paris Johnson, Ohio State: Johnson started at right guard in 2021 and played really well. He is a big man who plays with a lot of power. He showed in 2022 that he can play left tackle in the NFL. Johnson has crazy length with 36″ arms to dominate pass rushers at the next level.
  2. Broderick Jones, Georgia: The 2022 season was Broderick Jones’ first as a full-time starter, although he did start a few games in 2021. Jones came in and dominated, not giving up a single sack and only nine pressures on the season. He did have some struggles with BJ Ojulari and still needs some development.
  3. Anton Harrison, Oklahoma: Harrison is another in the line of large guys with long arms. He is a big dude at 6’4 312 pounds with 34 3/4″ arms, but has the feet of a smaller player. He is a two-year starter. Harrison is pretty consistent from game-to-game, but he has yet to reach his full potential. He gave up just one sack and nine pressures this past season. He has left and right tackle experience, but could use another year to iron out his technique.
  4. Blake Freeland, BYU: Freeland fits the mold of the traditional BYU offensive lineman at 6’8, 302 pounds. The main difference is he isn’t 24 years old, so he still has some upside, even though he has been a starter since 2019. Freeland has gotten better every year. He has had issues with his physicality level — part of that is due to his lack of lower body bulk. Zero sacks and seven pressures given up in 2022.
  5. Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland: Duncan is another big, dancing bear at 6’6 306 with average arm length of 33″. While he has shown growth, it hasn’t been enough. The massive potential is still there, he just needs more consistency. His technique is also not where it should be. He probably needs a redshirt year in the NFL after struggling some in 2022, giving up seven sacks and 28 pressures.
2023 NFL Draft Offensive Tackles: Best of the Rest 6-10

6. Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse: Bergeron is another big dude at 6’5 318 pounds with 33 3/4″ arms. He doesn’t have the athletic upside of some of the guys ahead of him. But his floor is much higher — and he is still a good athlete in his own right. He has played both left and right tackle. He could see himself starting out at RT in the NFL as a rookie before moving to the other side. Bergeron has the experience and technique to start as a rookie.

7. Dawand Jones, Ohio State: Jones is a true mountain at 6’8 374 pounds with 36″ arms. He was listed at 359, but showed up at the combine 15 pounds heavier. Pass rushers have a very hard time getting around him because he is so big and wide. Of course, what goes with that is he is not the quickest; but for his size he has good quickness. He can also get out leveraged at times, too, due to his height. He has been really good in the passing game. The one thing that might give some teams pause would be he is a “one position only” player, a right tackle.

8. Darrnell Wright, Tennessee: Wright is another big man at 6’5 333 with 33 3/4″ arms. A former five-star recruit, Wright struggled early on at Tennessee. He was playing left tackle and his weight was up around 350. He dropped weight and moved over to right tackle, and seems to have found a home there. There is some thought that he could play some guard, as well.

9. Wanya Morris, Oklahoma: Morris started out at Tennessee where he really had some struggles, especially in 2019 where he gave up 25 pressures. Morris is another big man in this class at 6’5 307 with over 35″ arms. He was playing left and right tackle. He was essentially a back up in 2021 before taking over in 2022 at right tackle. Morris had his best season to date with two sacks and just eight pressures given up.

10. Carter Warren, Pittsburgh: Another large human being, Carter Warren actually dropped weight for the combine, showing up at 6’5 1/2 311 where he previously played in the 325-pound range. Warren has a big wingspan with over 35″ arms. He has more experience than most of the guys on this list, with over 2,700 snaps — all of them as a starting left tackle. Warren had some struggles early in his career, but he was off to a great start in 2022 with just four pressures in four games before injury ended his season.

2023 NFL Draft Final Position Rankings: Wide Receivers

Let’s get right into the third group in our look at my final position rankings for the 2023 NFL draft: the wide receivers . This is another interesting group in that there seems to be some disagreement on the strength of the class. I feel it is a deep class, but not strong at the top.

As always, I will be listing players at their expected NFL positions. Be sure to check out my mid-season rankings, and if you want to check out the draft database that I update almost daily, you can find it at risendraft.

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2023 NFL Draft Wide Receivers: The Top 5

  1. Quentin Johnston, TCU: Johnston flashed his potential last season, and big things were expected. After starting off slow, he then had two big games in the middle of the season and two towards the end. He has all the size, speed, agility, and upside to be a elite receiver; he just needs to find consistency.
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State: JSN, as he is known, had an out-of-nowhere season last year: 95 catches, 1,606 yards, and 9 TDs. JSN started off 2022 a little slow then got injured and didn’t really play the rest of the season. Teams just need to understand his role in the NFL will be as a slot receiver, but he can be a really good one.
  3. Rashee Rice, SMU: Rice didn’t stand out statistically from 2019-2021, but that was because of the other receivers on the roster. He is big, long, and athletic. Has experience in the slot and the outside. He is a physical guy who can get YAC.
  4. AT Perry, Wake Forest: Perry is another in a line of big, long, and speedy receivers in this class. He blew up last year with 71 catches, 1,293 yards, and 15 TDs. He can do it all on the field and demonstrated improved flexibility in 2022. His numbers were down a bit, mostly due to Hartman missing the first couple games and having four other receivers around him that look to be NFL players.
  5. Cedric Tillman, Tennessee: Tillman is the quintessential tall, long, deep threat, but he is not just a deep threat. He has the strength and catch radius to produce on all three levels. He blew up in 2021 with 64 catches, 1,081, and 12 TDs. He was off to a good start in 2022 before he got hurt and ended up playing just six games and of course got overshadowed a bit by Jalin Hyatt’s season.

Best of the Rest 6-10

6.  Jordan Addison, USC: The former Biletnikoff winner had a ok season for USC, although down statically, and inconsistent. A good route runner who gets YAC, his size will be a hinderance at the NFL level. Because of this, he might have to primarily play out of the slot. Addison also had a poor workout at the combine.

7. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee: The former Volunteer came out of nowhere in 2022, catching 67 balls for 1267 yards and 15 TDs; his previous season he only had 226 yards and 2 TDs. He has speed to burn, but weights just 176 pounds. 89% of his career snaps came in the slot and the route tree he was asked to run was limited.

8. Zay Flowers, Boston College: Flowers was really known as just a deep threat early in his career, but he really expanded his repertoire in 2022 and had a big season with 78 catches for 1077 yards and 12 TDs. His size at 5’9 182 will almost assuredly limit him to mostly playing out of the slot, but because of his speed he can still be a high impact player.

9. Josh Downs, UNC: Downs is of similar size and skill set to Zay Flowers, but is a little less dynamic. Downs is similar t0 Flowers in that he might have to play in the slot. That said, his size and frame (5’9 171) works well with his agility and speed. Furthermore, he did play most of his snaps in the slot.

10. Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss: Mingo is a player that has slowly climbed up my board since the start of the season and has really rocketed up since I was able to do a deep dive. He has everything you want physically and temperament wise. He does not stand out statistically due to the offense he played in. Mingo can beat DBs over the top, take a slant to the house, and bully DBs in the run game. The former Rebel still needs work of course, but has as much upside as anyone in the top 5.

2023 NFL Draft Final Position Rankings: Running Backs

Welcome to part two of my final position rankings. Today we focus on the running backs for the 2023 NFL draft.  You can see my mid-season rankings here. I will be listing players at their expected NFL positions. We will be going position by position. Let’s get going with the running backs.

This is a really deep group. We could see two taken in the first round, and a bunch taken on Day 2. After #2, I feel like any of the other top 10 guys could be slotted between 3 – 10. If you want to check out the draft database that I help update almost daily, you can find it at risendraft.

Photo Credit: Texas Athletics

2023 NFL Draft Running Backs: Top 5

  1. Bijan Robinson, Texas: He has been the presumed #1 running back of the 2023 NFL draft class since at least two years ago. He has done nothing in his time to change that. He has continually improved year in and year out. He has everything you want in a featured running back. He can even play snaps as a receiver, he can block, he can do it all. Amazing vision and agility.
  2. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama: Any other year and Gibbs is the #1 back in the class. Similar to Robinson in that he can contribute in all facets, just in a smaller package. Fast, explosive, quick, and can run routes. His pass blocking needs work. Gibbs has home run ability.
  3. Kendre Miller, TCU: Miller kind of came out of nowhere, having shared a backfield with Zach Evans in 2021. This year, he really showed he is one of the top backs in the class. The former Horned Frog has excellent vision and agility with solid speed. Miller has ideal RB size and improved as a receiver in 2022.
  4. Tyjae Spears, Tulane: Spears was in a similar situation to Miller in that he was sharing carries in 2021, so his potential was kind of hidden. He blew up in 2022 with over 1500 yards rushing and 19 TDs. Spears has reminded me a bit of Aaron Jones; he is quick, good speed, crazy vision, good hands, and really good contact balance for his size (5’10 201).
  5. Tank Bigsby, AuburnBigsby has good size at 6’0 210, with solid 4.56 speed. He has good vision and decent power for his size. The problem is he has not shown much growth since his freshman year. He has been an inconsistent pass protector and receiver. That said, he still has potential to be a good all-around back — if he can get in the right situation.

2023 NFL Draft Running Backs 6-10:

6. Roschon Johnson, Texas: Johnson came to Texas as a quarterback and transitioned to running back. Unfortunately for him, he was stuck behind the top running back in the class, but when he was able to get on the field he showed a lot of talent and upside as a running back. He has similar size to Robinson, but their running styles differ. Johnson is more of a power back. He also has a lack of wear and tear on his body going for him.

7. Sean Tucker, Syracuse: Tucker is a good back on a team with not a lot of talent. The fact that he was able to rush for over 1,500 yards in 2021 is a testament to how good he is. He has solid size at 5’9 and 207. His top-end speed is pretty average, sitting in the 4.5 range, but he accelerates quickly. He has also been a poor pass blocker and receiver in the past. However, he has shown improvements. There have been some questions on his vision.

8. Israel Abanikanda, PittsburghGood size and speed at 5’11 216 and 4.5 speed. He had a breakout season in 2022, and showed flashes late in 2021. Abanikanda had that crazy 322 yard game with six touchdowns. He is a very good runner with great vision, and is very slippery. Development in the passing game has been stunted. Blocking has also been inconsistent, which happens with a lot of college backs.

9. Devon Achane, Texas A&M: Achane is speed, speed, and more speed. He was stuck behind CJ Spiller the last two seasons, but he was still able to play over 300 snaps last season. He is almost the complete opposite of Spiller. Small (5’9 188), quick, and fast. He has shown flashes as a receiver, but has not been consistent. He will need to add another 10 pounds or more to handle the riggers of the NFL. His blocking is not good right now and will need work as well.

10. Chase Brown, Illinois: The 5’10 210-pound speedster with 4.43 speed lit up the combine. Despite his size, he is actually pretty good in pass protection. He was very productive the past two seasons on a pretty weak Illinois offense. Brown still needs to find some consistency.

2023 NFL Draft Mid-Season Position Rankings: Linebackers

We are almost there. Here is the third set of defensive position rankings for the 2023 NFL draft: the linebackers. Before the season started this looked to be a weak group. Nothing has really happened this season to change that outlook.

As always, I will be listing players at their expected NFL positions. Be sure to check out my previous part detailing the edge rushers, and if you want to check out the draft database that I help update almost daily, you can find it at risendraft.

Photo Credit: David Stluka via AP
2023 NFL Draft Linebackers: The Top 5
  1. Trenton Simpson, Clemson: Simpson is a freak athlete at 6’3 240 with legit sub 4.5 speed. He played almost like a slot defender in 2021 and really flashed as a blitzer with 31 pressures and seven sacks. He slid over to WLB for 2022 and has shown improvement in his run fits. He is already a solid cover guy, as well. In a stronger class, he probably goes somewhere in the middle of the 1st, but he will probably go top 10ish in 2023.
  2. Noah Sewell, Oregon: Sewell, the brother of Penei, is a throwback type of linebacker that we have not seen in awhile. He is 6’2 250 and explosive. He is really good in a straight line. It’s when he has to move side-to-side where he has some issues. That shows up in some of his issues in coverage. He is also a very good blitzer. 48 pressures and five sacks in the last two years.
  3. Henry To’o To’o, Alabama: Athletic transfer from Tennessee. His play and hype didn’t match up until this season. He was pretty average his first three seasons. He is a bit undersized at 230, and doesn’t play with a lot of power — although he does try and play physical. His tackling can be inconsistent. His play in coverage has improved a lot in 2022.
  4. Nick Herbig, Wisconsin: Herbig has been a pass rusher for Wisconsin, but due to his size (6’2 228) he is going to have to move to off-ball. We could see him being used like Zach Baun. He can be used as a rusher on obvious passing downs like 3rd and long. He has been a good run defender despite his size. Herbig has shown a big improvement in coverage in 2022 preparing him for his move.
  5. Jestin Jacobs, Iowa: Jacobs is probably the Iowa linebacker with the most upside/potential. He is more athletic than Benson or Campbell. He has the size Benson lacks and the athleticism that Campbell lacks. He is still a bit raw. He has also only played two games this season due to injury. Jacobs is already a good tackler and run defender. His play in coverage is still a work in progress, but has shown flashes.
2023 NFL Draft Linebackers: Best of the Rest

6. DeMarvion Overshown, Texas: Another freak athlete that hadn’t lived up to the hype/potential. 6’3 230 pounds with 32″ arms and 4.7 speed. Explosive and able to get sideline to sideline. He is finally starting to realize some of his potential in 2022. His instincts are starting to show. Overshown has improved his run fits and his tackling. He has shown flashes in coverage as well.

7. Darius Muasau, UCLA: The 6’1 230 Hawaii transfer had a big season in 2021 with 108 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, one INT, and four PBUs. He put those numbers up playing in the Mountain West, so there were competition questions. He transferred to UCLA and was going to see a bump in talent of his opponents. There has not been much of a drop off in production. Thru nine games he has 64 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, two INTs, and two PBUs. He is a little undersized and will need to be protected by his defensive line, but he has the athleticism and instincts to be a major impact player in the NFL.

8. Jack Campbell, Iowa: Campbell has been a well-known name in draft circles since 2020. He had a bit of a break out season then and was expected to come out in the 2022 draft. He didn’t play as well in 2021 though, and that might have gone into his decision. The thing with Campbell is his flaws aren’t something that will go away. His athleticism is middling and he lacks explosion when he tries to click-and-close. Campbell’s long speed is average. His instincts are solid and he is really good in coverage. The current Hawkeye is also a solid run defender.

9. SirVocea Dennis, Pittsburgh: At 6’0 230, he is a touch on the smaller side. He flashed his potential in 2020 and 2021, but wasn’t able to be consistent with his run defense and his instincts in coverage. The current Panther has taken off in 2022. He has become an elite run defender and has finally started to play more consistent in coverage. Dennis can also be an effective blitzer with 49 pressures and 13 sacks in the last two seasons.

10. Jimmy Phillips Jr., SMU: Phillips is a bit of a sleeper when it comes to the national media. Mainly because he plays for SMU and SMU’s defense isn’t that good. At 6’1, 236 with 32 3/4″ arms and running in the 4.7 range, he has NFL size and athleticism. He has been a solid player since he stepped on campus. Known for his run defense and tackling, he is also sneaky good in coverage. The one area he hasn’t shown much is as a blitzer.