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NFL Draft 2023: Offensive Player Position Rankings

Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

The 2023 NFL Draft is now less than two weeks away but despite its impending status, there's plenty of intrigue throughout the first round. In preparation, it's time to unveil my annual "Player Position Rankings" beginning with the offense. I power-rank each position group in terms of the order I'd draft each one if I were an NFL GM, regardless of where they may be projected in mock drafts. Without further ado, let's get into it.


1. Bryce Young, Alabama -- It still boggles my mind that in the year 2023, the height of a quarterback can be such a major storyline. Sure, Bryce Young doesn't look like your prototypical NFL signal-caller at 5'10", 195 pounds, but I still view as the best quarterback in this Class. Anybody that watched him during his time at Alabama can tell that Young possesses a fantastic arm, a tremendous feel for the game, and the type of instincts you simply can't teach. He won a Heisman Trophy despite playing with arguably the weakest receiver corps Alabama has had in a decade, and looked well on his way towards another huge year before injury struck this past fall. Young is the type of prospect that should be able to succeed no matter the situation, which you don't always see with young quarterbacks. It feels like NFL personnel force themselves to overthink this sometimes; just go out and get the guy who has dominated at every level he's been at.

Projected Range: Early first round

2. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State -- Although Bryce Young appears to be trending as the No. 1 pick, C.J. Stroud is likely to land somewhere in the Top 5 himself. Things could still change, but it's not surprising that NFL scouts and front office folks adore the Ohio State prospect. He's a well-built QB with a rocket for an arm who ran a very modern scheme during his time in Columbus. And although he isn't known for being a runner, he's proven he can open things up with his legs and extend plays when needed. If there is a concern for me, it's Stroud's play in big games, which didn't always live up to the moment. Yet, even that negative feels a bit unfair to him, as he threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns in the biggest game of his college career in this past season's Peach Bowl loss. Stroud may have been gifted a truly remarkable group of receivers to work with, which may not be the case in the NFL, but that shouldn't be a knock against him either. The former Buckeye has followed up a terrific two-year showcase with a strong pre-Draft, and it doesn't feel like a stretch in any way for Carolina to invest the top overall pick in him.

Projected Range: Early first round

3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee -- Four quarterbacks - Young, Stroud, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson - are first-round locks at this point in the process. But it appears there could be one more set to be taken within the first 31 picks of this year's Draft: Tennessee's Hendon Hooker. The one-time Virginia Tech transfer put together a record-setting 2022 campaign before a torn ACL in November ended his UT career prematurely. Even coming off such a significant injury, I love Hooker as a prospect. It's rare to see a player with his dynamic running ability be able to pair it with such a strong, accurate arm. He may have played in a cheat code offense while with Tennessee but he also proved to be a difference-maker at VT, and has the type of skillset that should be able to fit in a wide variety of offenses. Hooker may not have the ceiling of other quarterbacks in the Class, but his high floor makes him worthy of this ranking.

Projected Range: Late first to late second round

4. Will Levis, Kentucky -- Few players in this Draft seem to garner the controversy of Kentucky's Will Levis. Those who love him adore his skillset, large frame, and long-term upside. Those who don't point to his rather pedestrian numbers at both Penn State and UK. I fall somewhere in my between in my evaluation of Levis. I think he's got plenty of arm talent and is certainly an elite athlete, but is the type of quarterback prospect that absolutely needs to land in the right situation to fulfill his potential. This is just not the type of QB who elevates those around him the way a Young or Hooker might. That's not to say he can't be successful, but the boom-or-bust potential is obvious here.

Projected Range: Early to mid-first round

5. Anthony Richardson, Florida -- As a college football fan, I'll admit to bias with certain prospects. There may be times when I view a player solely in the context of what they did in college and not how they project to the NFL. So maybe that's the reason I'm so low on Anthony Richardson, at least compared to most mock drafts I see. I do understand why Richardson is an attractive prospect; anybody who watched Florida upset Utah earlier this year saw a full display of how many special things he can do on a football field. But at the end of the day, it's hard to wrap my head around the fact that a player who couldn't beat out Emory Jones at Florida, a guy now on his third school, could be a Top 5 selection. Richardson is far too streaky and mechanically broken for me to go anywhere near him in this Draft.

Projected Range: Early to mid-first round

Sleeper: Jaren Hall, BYU -- Jaren Hall put together one of the most underrated seasons from a quarterback anywhere in the country in 2022, surpassing 3,000 yards passing and 31 touchdowns. However, an underwhelming pre-Draft process has hurt the BYU Cougar, and now his range appears to be anywhere from the middle rounds to undrafted. It's obvious NFL folks aren't in love with the combination of him being undersized and average arm talent, but that only tells part of the story. Hall also stuck out to me as an incredibly poised, intelligent decision-maker who didn't have the athletic traits that could blow you away, but still was an awfully effective QB. Add in the fact that he has plenty of mobility and throws a very accurate, catchable ball, I love his value, especially if he does last into the late rounds.

Projected Range: Early fourth round to undrafted

Running backs

1. Bijan Robinson, Texas -- Not since Saquon Barkley have we seen a running back prospect as complete as Bijan Robinson. The one-time Texas Longhorn can hurt defenses in so many different ways; his speed and shiftiness make him a real pain to tackle in open space, but he's proven he can handle life between the tackles, as well. As a receiver out of the backfield, Robinson has soft hands and the ability to make catches in high-traffic areas. I still feel as though he wasn't used as much as he should have been with the Longhorns, and still looked like the nation's most dominant tailback. Any NFL team would value his services and will be immediately adding a spark to their offense by adding him.

Projected Range: Early to late first round

2. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama -- Jahmyr Gibbs was my preseason Heisman Trophy pick heading into 2022 and although he wasn't quite able to live up to those lofty goals, he still put together an impressive lone year in Tuscaloosa. Gibbs finished with 926 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, but that's just a fraction of what he can do. He's proven to be a tremendous receiver and will also make his presence felt on special teams, although Alabama didn't want him adding too much wear and tear returning kickoffs. He finished with over 1,000 yards receiving over the course of three seasons with Georgia Tech and Alabama, and should be able to bring that playmaking ability to the next level. I've compared him to Reggie Bush in the past, and although he obviously wasn't quite as prolific as Reggie was in college, the versatility and explosiveness are all there.

Projected Range: Late first round to late second round

3. Zach Charbonnet, UCLA -- There's a fairly steep drop-off after these top two, although UCLA's Zach Charbonnet should offer some value in the middle rounds. Charbonnet immediately impressed as a true freshman with Michigan, but the arrival of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards forced him to head west, and put together prolific numbers in Chip Kelly's offense. He totaled 1,359 yards and averaged seven yards per carry, which include five consecutive 100-yard performances. The thing that has always intrigued me about Charbonnet is his blend of power and speed. He runs incredibly hard and loves to battle through contact, but he's got more burst in the open field than most give him credit for. He ended up running a 4.53 40 at the Combine, which likely helped out his draft stock in a major way.

Projected Range: Early third round to late fifth round

4. Kendre Miller, TCU -- Max Duggan received most of the attention on offense during TCU's miraculous 2022 season, and for good reason, but Kendre Miller still played a major role in the turnaround. After rushing for 623 yards in 2021, Miller broke out with a 1,399-yard, 17 touchdown performance that was fourth among Big 12 rushers. As an NFL prospect, Miller provides plenty of speed and open-field ability, although he may have to add some weight to be an everyday back. The ending to the 2022 season also left something to be desired, as he was held in check in each of TCU's final four games. Although, that really shouldn't be too much of a knock against him, as those were among the toughest rush defenses in FBS ball this year.

Projected Range: Early third round to early fifth round

5. Zach Evans, Ole Miss -- The player that Kendre Miller replaced at TCU is none other than Zach Evans, who transferred to Ole Miss and put together a strong final year in the collegiate ranks. A former five-star prospect, Evans had three good seasons at two different destinations and yet, remains a very interesting NFL Draft prospect. There's little denying his talent; in fact, he may be the most talented tailback in this Draft not named Bijan Robinson. But it hasn't always translated to on-field success, and there have been complaints in the past about Evans' attitude and work ethic. Even so, he's well worth a flier in the middle rounds and it wouldn't shock me at all if he ends up putting together a quality NFL career.

Projected Range: Late second round to late fourth round

Sleeper: Chase Brown, Illinois -- It's hard to call a guy who ran for over 1,500 yards in 2022 a "sleeper" but Chase Brown is still undervalued by a lot of the NFL community. He doesn't jump out at you athletically and feels more like a third-down back in the pros than a regular contributor. However, Brown did have a strong Combine and ran faster than expected, and brings more elusiveness and shiftiness than most people give him credit for. He's also a very good blocker for his position and should be able to benefit any NFL team in a variety of ways.

Projected Range: Early fourth round to late sixth round


1. Quentin Johnston, TCU -- It's yet another year full of quality receivers, but at this point it's hard to pick just one to be top guy. However, if I had my choice as an NFL GM, TCU's Quentin Johnston would be my selection. He offers plenty of size at 6'3", 210 pounds, but also real game-breaking ability on the perimeter. He was proven that can he can hurt defenses over the top, but played a bit of a different role in this Horned Frog offense in 2022, acting more as a possession guy than big-play threat. Johnston has proven he can do both at a high level, and the route running skills are already at an NFL level. 

Projected Range: Early to late first round

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State -- Going into the season, Jaxon Smith-Njigba was considered by most to be the top receiver in college football and a Biletnikoff Award favorite. Instead, "JSN" struggled through an injury-riddled campaign and never quite seemed at 100 percent. Instead of building on his record-setting 2021, he watched as other Buckeye receivers broke out into superstardom. However, he's still almost certainly a first-round lock, and provides a lot of upside. He's an elite playmaker who can operate either inside or outside at a high level. The route running and hands aren't yet at NFL levels, but they will feel like they can get there quickly if he lands in the right scheme. The key for him will be getting healthy and making the most of this offseason. It's unfair to call 2022 a complete wash, but it provides a bit of pressure as we look ahead towards the Draft and this fall.

Projected Range: Early to late first round

3. Jordan Addison, USC -- After winning the Biletnikoff Award in 2021, Jordan Addison's transfer to USC sent shockwaves throughout the college football universe. No matter your opinion on how the move went down, there's no denying that Addison put together an impressive campaign in Southern California and now appears to be a first-round prospect. His home run ability is what sets him apart from others in this Class, even if some of the fundamentals aren't as strong as others. It feels like he has arguably the highest ceiling of any of the receivers in this group, but there is still bust potential to be wary of. One thing to note: Addison's two big years in college came catching passes from one Heisman finalist (Kenny Pickett) and one Heisman winner (Caleb Williams). Does he have the skillset to put up numbers if he isn't catching from an elite QB in the NFL? 

Projected Range: Mid to late first round

4. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee -- Going into 2022, Cedric Tillman was expected to be the star receiver on the outside in Josh Heupel's aggressive offensive scheme. Instead, Tillman dealt with injuries, and it was his fellow wide out, Jalin Hyatt, that broke on to the scene. He finished with 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns on the year, but it was the Alabama game that enshrined Hyatt as a legend in Knoxville. He decimated the Tide defense to the tune of 207 yards and a record-setting five touchdowns, helping secure UT's biggest win in over a decade. I don't think Hyatt was just a one-hit wonder, but I'll be curious to see what he can do in a more traditional NFL offense. His blazing speed and quick feet helped him get wide open often with the Volunteers, but Heupel also drew up plays to spring him on the outside. If he is going to be worthy of a first-round selection, he'll have to refine his route running skills and also improve as a blocker, a major weakness in his game right now.

Projected Range: Mid-first round to early second round

5. Zay Flowers, Boston College -- It's not surprising that not a lot of football fans tuned into Boston College games over the last several years, but those that did got treated to a special talent in Zay Flowers. The dynamic slot receiver may be small in stature, measuring in at 5'9" at the Combine, but he makes up for it with his big-time playmaking ability. He's shifty and slippery in traffic and when he does get a lane, there's no stopping Flowers taking it to the house. The fact that he put up such impressive numbers despite playing in an anemic Boston College pass offense says a lot to me. He should be able to make an impact in any offense and any scheme, which can't be said for all of the top wide outs this year.

Projected Range: Mid-first round to mid-second round

Sleeper: Tyler Scott, Cincinnati -- One player that appears to be trending up at the right time is Cincinnati's Tyler Scott. A strong pre-Draft has pushed the former Bearcat into the first round discussion, although it's more likely he lasts somewhere on the second day of the event. It isn't a surprise what has caught the attention of NFL teams: Scott is one of the fastest players in this Draft, a former junior Olympic sprinter who turned heads with a 4.44 40 yard dash. However, his speed is just one aspect of Scott's skillset, as he offers reliable hands and plenty of versatility, even if he'll spend most of his time in the slot. Scott played in an offense at Cincinnati that didn't take too many shots down the field, even when they had Desmond Ridder under center, but he should be able to bring home run ability to any team at the next level.

Projected Range: Early second round to early fourth round

Tight Ends

1. Darnell Washington, Georgia -- The term "boom-or-bust" tends to get overused this time of year, but I'm not sure if there's a player that fits that definition better than Georgia's Darnell Washington. He's a once-in-a-generation prospect in the way he looks on the field, standing 6'7", 265 pounds. He will be blocking future NFL defenders in the SEC and dwarf them. Even so, Washington moves well for his size and has decent hands, which you'd hope could get even better at the next level. But, the production didn't always match the potential, as Washington played a complementary role rather than a starring one. Sure, there were injuries, and Georgia also happened to have the nation's best tight, Brock Bowers, playing alongside him, but I wonder if Washington is the type of player that wows you with his physical tools, but doesn't always back it up with his play. But if an NFL team can turn those physical gifts into assets for an offense, he's not only the top tight end in this Draft, but a Top 10 prospect overall.

Projected Range: Late first round to mid-second round

2. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame -- Michael Mayer is the latest in a long line of Notre Dame tight ends who will be playing on Sundays. The former high-profile recruit has been a difference-maker since Day One in South Bend and projects well to the NFL. He's a strong, well-rounded pass-catcher with reliable hands and good route running abilities. At times he was the lone Notre Dame pass-catcher that could move the chains and despite facing double and triple teams, found ways to make an impact. Mayer will have to get better as a blocker, but the tools are there and everything we've heard about him is that he's a hard-worker.

Projected Range: Mid-first round to mid-second round

3. Dalton Kincaid, Utah -- Dalton Kincaid took advantage of a season-ending injury to Brant Kuithe to put together a huge final season in Salt Lake City. Now, the 6'4", 250-pounder looks like he could end up going somewhere in the first two rounds and be one of the top tight ends off the board. Whichever NFL team adds him will be getting an uber-athletic specimen who can be a real problem for opposing defenses. He's got quality hands and can catch either in space or in high-traffic areas. Kincaid is a tad undersized for a modern tight end in the NFL, but not enough that it should be a major knock against him. In fact, it could even be an asset for him if he lands in the right system.

Projected Range: Early second round to early third round

4. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State -- If the NFL Draft was based solely on college production, Luke Musgrave would not even be in the discussion to be the top tight end off the board. Fortunately for him that's not the case, and NFL teams have fallen in love with the fast-rising Oregon State Beaver. Although his game is still raw, Musgrave is an elite athlete who came out as one of the big winners at the NFL Combine. He's extremely quick for 6'6" with a massive catch radius who projects extremely well at the next level. With that being said, the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign and a knee injury this past fall have really limited his snaps. For all the potential he brings to the table, he may need more time than any other tight end in this cycle.

Projected Range: Late first round to mid-third round

5. Sam LaPorta, Iowa -- For all the flack Iowa's offense receives, there might not be a better program in America at producing NFL-ready tight ends. They'll be sending another one to the pros again this spring in Sam LaPorta, who could potentially sneak into the end of the first round. LaPorta is a tremendous athlete for the position who is a better blocker than many others in this Draft. Much like Mayer, everybody in the stadium knew that he was going to be fed the ball, and LaPorta still produced at an incredibly high level throughout his time in college. I'm not sure if he has the upside of a Washington or Musgrave, but he should have a high floor, making him a safe selection, especially if he lasts into the second or third round.

Projected Range: Early second round to late third round

Offensive Linemen

1. Peter Skoronski, Northwestern -- This doesn't feel like a great class for the offensive line, particularly at tackle, but Peter Skoronski still feels worthy of a Top 10 selection. He's not as athletically gifted as his former teammate, former No. 13 overall pick Rashawn Slater, but he's more powerful and has a larger body of work. Shorter arms make it a possibility that Skoronski could eventually move from his natural position at tackle inside to guard, but it's up to whichever team eventually ends up with the Northwestern product. That team will be getting a quality, experienced blocker who consistently proved himself against some of the best the Big Ten has to offer.

Projected Range: Early to mid-first round

2. Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State -- Another linemen hailing from Big Ten country, Paris Johnson jumps out at you in a way not every blocker in this Draft does. He's 6'6", 315 pounds with massive arms that make him appear even more formidable. He also has a large body of work during his time in Columbus, playing right away and spending time at both guard and tackle. Although Johnson put up strong numbers and projects favorably as a franchise left tackle, it felt like he was a bit inconsistent with the Buckeyes and never quite able to break through. It wouldn't shock me if he ends up being the best tackle in this Draft, but the bust potentially is also higher here than say, Skoronski.

Projected Range: Early to late first round

3. Tyler Steen, Alabama -- A player that I've become a big fan of over the past year is Tyler Steen, a former Vanderbilt Commodore who spent his final season with Alabama. He's another guy with the versatility to play either guard or tackle at the next level, and his growth as a run blocker has been one of the biggest things I've noticed. Steen has always had good size, but he's become much stronger and been able to push around defenders in a way he wasn't able to before. The growth over three seasons at Vanderbilt was evident and spending his final year at 'Bama should really help him. Interestingly enough, NFL folks don't seem super high on him, as I've seen everything from third round grades to sixth round.

Projected Range: Late second round to late fourth round

4. O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida -- O'Cyrus Torrence followed his head coach, Billy Napier, from UL-Lafayette to Florida this past fall and didn't seem intimidated at all by SEC competition. On the contrary, the guard seemed to reach another level in 2022 and cleared the path for a revitalized Florida rushing attack. He's been trending as a first-round pick for some time now even if guards aren't typically valued the same way as tackles, but he'll have to get in better shape for the next level. His measurements at the Combine weren't superb and some NFL teams have expressed concern about his athleticism.

Projected Range: Mid-first round to late second round

5. Broderick Jones, Georgia -- After serving primarily as a backup in the prior two seasons, Broderick Jones was the starting left tackle for the National Champion Georgia Bulldogs this past fall. He proved to be a capable tackle, even against tough competition, but didn't exactly jump out at you when you watched him play. Jones is a bit undersized for tackle and is yet another player that could eventually move inside and play guard, but NFL teams adore his athleticism and feel like he could be the best linemen in this Draft. He feels like another guy with significant boom-or-bust potential.

Projected Range: Mid-first round to late second round

Sleeper: Steve Avila, TCU -- A three-year starter at TCU, Steve Avila was a real anchor for the Horned Frogs. He played a key role in helping build a powerful rushing attack that really burst out this past fall en route to a National Championship run. He isn't the most athletic offensive linemen set to be available somewhere in the middle rounds, but he's a forceful blocker who didn't allow a single sack in pass protection in 2022. Avila played guard throughout college, but could also realistically play at center in the pros.

Projected Range: Early third round to early fifth round

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