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2023 NFL QB Mock Draft: Where will the Rookie QBs Land?

Anthony Richardson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

We know that the Carolina Panthers will select a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft and that the Chicago Bears are the better for it. The question is always who is going where?

We also know that the Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints, and Seattle Seahawks have their quarterbacks. That still leaves three teams in the first round looking for a quarterback.

Which of the quarterback-needy teams will select a QB in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft? I'm going to take a shot at making some predictions as to who lands where.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

1st 2023 NFL Draft Overall Pick---Carolina Panthers pick Anthony Richardson, Florida

Richardson is 6'4", 244-pound, hand size 10.5", and arm length 323/4". He is the most athletically gifted quarterback in this class and has the highest ceiling.

Richardson was awed and amazed at the 2023 NFL Combine. Take a look.

But not just his Combine performance puts him at number one. In 2022 he took over the starting job in Florida. He amassed 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 2549 passing yards. He also ran for 654 yards with nine rushing touchdowns. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry in 12 games.

Richardson's 53.8% completion percentage resulted from his inconsistency and inaccuracies, some of which can be nullified when he cleans up his footwork. His dual-threat ability is a reminiscence of Cam Newton, who excelled in Carolina. His size and arm strength are Andrew Luck-like (not saying he is Luck), whom Frank Reich coached.

Richardson isn't the most polished quarterback in this class. He has below-average touch on the ball when on the move and needs to learn to look off defenders. But he has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this class, and his natural dual-threat ability is too tasty to pass up.

 

2nd 2023 NFL Draft Overall Pick---Houston Texans pick CJ Stroud, Ohio State University

Stroud is 6'3", 214 pounds with 32 5/8" arm length and 10" hand size. And is the best pure passer in the 2023 class.

Here's Stroud showing off his passing ability.

After starting two years at Ohio State, he is projected to be a year-one starter in the NFL. And for a good reason, he has the size and the arm talent for an NFL quarterback. Last season he led the FBS in passing efficiency (177.7), was second in FBS with his 41 passing touchdowns against only six interceptions, and was third in the FBS, averaging 9.48 yards per passing attempt.

If there is a knock-on Stroud, it is his unwillingness to extend plays with his legs. But even that comes into question with his performance against Georgi in the semi-final College Football Playoff game. In that game, Stroud had four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and used his legs to extend plays.

 

4th 2023 NFL Draft Overall Pick---Indianapolis Colts pick Bryce Young, Alabama

Young is 5'10", 204 pounds with a 30.5" arm length and nine ¾" hand size. His size is the biggest knock on him (no quarterback weighing less than 207 pounds at the NFL Combine has been drafted in the first round).

Young is about to break that mold. In 2021 when he took over the starting position in Alabama, he won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien, and Manning awards. In 2022 with fewer weapons, he passed for 3325 yards, 32 touchdowns, and five interceptions with a 64.5% completion percentage. He also rushed for 306 yards, averaging 9.3 yards per rushing attempt.

Young's football IQ is elite. His ability to deliver accurate passes to all field levels is accomplished even when under pressure. If his size were "NFL standard," he would be the consensus first pick of the draft. Even with his smaller stature, his football acumen puts him in the conversation for the number one overall pick and puts him in the first round.

 

41st 2023 NFL Draft Overall Pick---Tennessee Titans pick Will Levis, University of Kentucky

Levis is 6'4", 229 pounds, with 10 5/8' hands. He has the prototypical size and builds of an NFL quarterback. Levis also possesses arm talent and has experience playing in a pro-style passing offense. However, he has suffered from inaccuracies.

Levis transferred from Pennsylvania State University to the University of Kentucky in 2021. In the 2021 season, he started 13 games throwing for 2827 yards with a 66% completion rate. He also led the team with nine rushing touchdowns.

Levis started 11 games and threw for 2416 yards with a 65.4% completion percentage. He had 19 rushing touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Levis only ran for two rushing touchdowns averaging 2.6 yards per rushing attempt. He regressed in the 2022 season. According to Pro Football Focus, 25% of Levis's passes were thrown to targets behind the line of scrimmage.

While he looks the part and is the biggest boom-or-bust quarterback in this year's draft, he struggles with his touch and isn't quick to pick up blitzes. The ceiling on his arm strength, his ability to throw into tight windows, and the fact that he is a legitimate dual-threat quarterback will lead teams to weigh more toward the boom potential in Levis.

 

47th 2023 NFL Draft Overall Pick---Washington Commanders pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

The fifth-year senior, Thompson-Robinson, stands 6'2" and weighs 203 pounds with 9 7/8" hands. He is a natural athlete with a high football character. Thompson-Robinson has good arm strength but not elite arm strength. He is mostly accurate in short to intermediate throws. He has shown improvement during his five-year career, going from a 57.9% completion percentage in his first year to a 69.4% completion percentage in his last year.

Thompson-Robinson lacks the arm strength to stretch the field horizontally or vertically. But his instincts and pure athleticism will allow him to make plays when plays break down.

 

50th 2023 NFL Draft Overall Pick---Tampa Bay Buccaneers pick Stetson Bennett, Georgia

Bennett, the redshirted senior, stands 5'11", weighs 192 pounds, and has 10" hands. Bennett started as a walk-on at the University of Georgia, transferred to Jones College for a year, and returned to Georgia in 2019.

In the 2021 season, Bennett started 12 of 14 games when then-starter JT Daniels went down with an injury after the first game. Bennett then led Georgia to the national championship. His stats for the season include a 64.5% completion percentage, 29 touchdowns, and seven interceptions on 2862 passing yards. He also added one rushing touchdown.

Although eligible for the NFL Draft for the 2022 season, Bennett opted to return to Georgia. He once again led the team to a national championship. In the 2022 season, Bennett finished with 10 rushing touchdowns, 27 passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He passed for 4127 yards.

Bennett's NFL Draft stock is compromised due to his slight build. He lacks the velocity to get throws in tight windows, and his deep ball is often inconsistent. An elite arm does not accompany his slight build.

There is also the additional factor of his age. Bennett's leadership ability, tenacity, and football IQ will help him in the NFL Draft. While his stature, age, and arrest for public intoxication will work against him.

 

68th 2023 NFL Draft Overall Pick---Denver Broncos pick Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

Hooker is 6'3" tall and weighs 217 pounds. His hands measure 10 ½". He started his college career at Virginia Tech. As a redshirt freshman, he started eight games. He set a school record in those eight games with 124 completions without an interception. He finished the season with a 61.1% completion percentage, throwing 13 touchdowns with two interceptions. He also had five rushing touchdowns averaging 2.9 yards per rushing attempt.

The next season Hooker started eight games. He had a 65.3% completion percentage, with nine touchdowns and five interceptions, adding one rushing touchdown. After the 2020 season, Hooker decided to transfer to the University of Tennessee.

Hooker took over the starting job early in the 2021 season. He had 11 starts in 13 games. For the season, he ranked third in the FBS in passing efficiency (181.4) and fourth in yards per attempt (9.72). He finished the season with a 68% completion percentage, throwing for 2945 yards with 31 touchdowns and three interceptions. Hooker also rushed for five touchdowns averaging 3.7 yards per carry.

In the 2022 season, Hooker started 11 games before suffering a torn left ACL in November. Before his season-ending injury, he passed for 27 touchdowns and two interceptions with a 69.6% completion percentage. He ran for five touchdowns averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

Hooker has the ideal NFL size and dual-threat athleticism. While his arm talent is good, it isn't elite. His biggest asset is his accuracy on short and intermediate throws. He finished his career at Tennessee with a 58:5 touchdown to interception ratio.

In addition to his age (25) and the late ACL injury, there are questions regarding his ability to play in an NFL offense. Tennessee played a vertical spread tempo offense, a completely different animal than the NFL offenses. His throws were mostly predetermined, and his receivers relied on space.

Hooker's dual-threat potential and accuracy should serve him well if he fully recovers from the ACL injury.



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