Looking at the top QB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class after Scouting Combine

Let’s take a look at how the top quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class performed at the Scouting Combine.

The 2022 NFL season is officially over, with the Kansas City Chiefs standing tall as the Super Bowl 57 champions. With that, the offseason is underway, with all 32 teams looking to improve their rosters and coaching staffs to increase their odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. One of the big events of the offseason is the NFL Scouting Combine, in which most prospects head to Indianapolis to participate in drills and interview with interested teams.

As is the case every year, the attention at Lucas Oil Stadium was focused on the quarterback prospects. Last year, the quarterback class was weak on paper, with this year’s class being top-heavy. Those signal-callers were Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson.

Oh, and then days after the Combine ended, the Carolina Panthers shook up the entire NFL Draft board, moving up from No. 9 to No. 1 after a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bears. Now, they have the chance to draft whichever quarterback prospect they want, whoever that may be.

Let’s take a look at how these top four prospects performed at the Scouting Combine in the latest edition of “In the Market.”

Previous editions of “In the Market” can be viewed at the links below:

Taking Stock: How top 2023 NFL Draft QBs fared at the Scouting Combine

Bryce Young, Alabama

Young is considered the top quarterback prospect of this year’s draft class. After all, he is a former Heisman Trophy winner,  and when you watch his tapes, you can see that Young has got it. But, Young wasn’t on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. Instead, he attended to get his official measurements and to interview with teams.

Even though he wasn’t active, Young still made the news. While Young has the talent, his height and weight were an area of concern for some scouts and analysts. At Alabama, he was listed as 6-foot and 194 pounds. At the Scouting Combine, Young measured at 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds.

It’s really anyone’s guess as to when Young will come off the board. Yes, he’s extremely talented, but teams have their preferences as to what they’re looking for in a quarterback. For some, they want a tall signal caller. Regardless, Young will be a Top 10 selection.

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

One quarterback prospect that definitely increased his stock was Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. He was already considered to be near the top of the Top 4. Stroud didn’t participate in the vertical or broad jumps, or the 40-yard dash. He did, however, take part in the throwing session. What Stroud showcased was one of his greatest strengths — his accuracy.

On top his his ability to make incredible throws, Stroud has the prototypical height of 6-foot-3 that will probably have him ranked ahead of Young. It would not be shocking to see Stroud selected in the first three picks of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Stroud followed up his incredible Peach Bowl performance with a great throwing session. Could he be drafted ahead of Young? It’s certainly possible, especially if Carolina like him.

Anthony Richardson, Florida

While Stroud had a strong day, it was nothing compared to the day that Florida’s Anthony Richardson had. With the top quarterback prospects not participating in drills, Richardson did so, to showcase his athleticism. He showed that if he can put it all together, he can be an absolute threat to defenses at the NFL level.

Richardson’s speed was evident, as he ran a ridiculous 4.43-second 40-yard dash. Then, he showed off his athleticism by setting quarterback records in the vertical jump (40.5 inches) and broad jump (10 feet-9 inches).

In the throwing session, Richardson showed that he puts a lot of force behind his throws. Again, college football fans saw how well he can throw a deep pass at Florida. He just needs to refine his game on the right team, and he’ll be in very good shape at the pro level.

Richardson has been dubbed a “unicorn” before the Scouting Combine. After the event, those who watched can see that that can certainly be the case.

Will Levis, Kentucky

Levis was dubbed one of the top prospects heading into the 2022 season and his stock was at an all-time high. Even as the season progressed, as he dealt with injuries, a changeover at offensive coordinator, and an ineffective offensive line, he still has the hype surrounding him.

At the Combine, Levis recorded a 34-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-4-inch broad jump. During the throwing session, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah noted that Levis threw across his body when looking to his left, which is something worth monitoring. Levis’ throws also measured at a top speed of 59 mph. Other than that, it was a good showing by Levis.

Levis is going to be a high draft pick, but he didn’t have the day that Stroud or Richardson had. But, he has the intangibles that teams will certainly value highly. It will just be a matter of if he will be last of the top four quarterbacks selected, or beforehand.

Updated 2023 NFL Draft QB rankings after Combine

After the Scouting Combine, let’s rank the Top 5 quarterbacks in this draft class:

  1. Bryce Young, Alabama
  2. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  3. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  4. Will Levis, Kentucky
  5. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

Even after the Scouting Combine, Young is the QB1 of this class. Does this mean he will be the first quarterback selected? Probably not. But, he showed during his time at Alabama that he can be a legitimate quarterback in the NFL.

Stroud will get the QB2 spot. Like Young, he is a Day 1-ready quarterback.

Richardson propelled himself to the third spot in the rankings, over Levis. The upside of Richardson could be astronomical over Levis if he enters the right situation and isn’t rushed into starting.

As for the fifth-spot, it is Hendon Hooker. Had he not suffered a torn ACL late in the 2022 season, he could be contending for the QB3 spot. He was a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and led the Tennessee Volunteers to their best season in recent memory.

Who’s Buying in the NFL?

As mentioned earlier, the NFL Draft order was significantly altered after the Panthers moved up eight spots to secure the No. 1 overall pick. Here is the full NFL Draft order as of this writing:

  1. Carolina Panthers (via Chicago Bears)
  2. Houston Texans
  3. Arizona Cardinals
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos)
  6. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams)
  7. Las Vegas Raiders
  8. Atlanta Falcons
  9. Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers)
  10. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints)
  11. Tennessee Titans
  12. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns)
  13. New York Jets
  14. New England Patriots
  15. Green Bay Packers
  16. Washington Commanders
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers
  18. Detroit Lions
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  20. Seattle Seahawks
  21. Los Angeles Chargers
  22. Baltimore Ravens
  23. Minnesota Vikings
  24. Jacksonville Jaguars
  25. New York Giants
  26. Dallas Cowboys
  27. Buffalo Bills
  28. Cincinnati Bengals
  29. New Orleans Saints (via San Francisco 49ers)
  30. Philadelphia Eagles
  31. Kansas City Chiefs

It’s quite obvious which teams will be selecting a quarterback in the first round. The Panthers, come on, they just traded their first- and second-round picks this year, a 2024 first-rounder, a 2025 second-rounder, and top wide receiver D.J. Moore to the Bears to secure the No. 1 overall pick! They’re selecting a quarterback, but it will be interesting to see what wide receivers that prospect will have for their rookie season.

The Texans are going to end up with one of the top two quarterbacks on their board. Could they panic and try to move up one spot with the Panthers to know they can get their guy and not risk the rival Indianapolis Colts leaping ahead of them?

Speaking of the Colts, they were the biggest losers of the Bears-Panthers trade, but maybe their is hope that they can convince Carolina to move down three spots. If not the Panthers, the Colts should try to move up to No. 3 in a deal with the Arizona Cardinals to ensure they have a signal caller. As of now, their options are looking rather bleak.

The Raiders agreed to terms with Jimmy Garoppolo on a three-year, $67.5 million contract, but it is essentially a two-year deal. Expect the Raiders to select one of the top four quarterback prospects and sit them behind Garoppolo to develop.

Besides those options, a team that should consider trading up due to positional need are the Washington Commanders. They are entering the season with Sam Howell as the top option. They just released Carson Wentz. Taylor Heinicke is a free agent. The team needs to further address the position. Would they trade up to select one of Stroud, Young, Richardson, or Levis? That remains to be seen.

The Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions are teams to keep an eye on as well. They have two first-round picks at their disposal. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said before re-signing Geno Smith that they were considering drafting a quarterback, considering they never really select as high as this year at No. 5 overall. The Lions have Jared Goff under contract for the next two seasons. Considering the Lions are on the rise and could be favorites to win the NFC North next year, it would be a wise investment to use the No. 6 pick on a quarterback to sit behind Goff.

2023 NFL Mock Draft with best QB fits

Let’s pair the top quarterback prospects with teams that would be the best fit:

  • Bryce Young: Houston Texans
  • C.J. Stroud: Carolina Panthers
  • Anthony Richardson: Indianapolis Colts
  • Will Levis: Las Vegas Raiders
  • Hendon Hooker: Seattle Seahawks

By all reports since the Panthers trade, the team is most linked to Stroud. Given the Panthers’ lack of weapons, Stroud could make up for it with his ability to make accurate throws and, if need be, run with the football himself.

As for Young, going to Houston would be a solid spot for him. He has Dameon Pierce to hand the football off to, and the team has draft picks to add some weapons around him. It certainly helps that he will have the 49ers offensive scheme to work with with Bobby Slowik as coordinator.

The Colts are in a tough spot, but they have one of the best offensive coordinators this past season as their head coach in Shane Steichen. Given what he did calling plays for the Philadelphia Eagles with Jalen Hurts as his quarterback, it would be interesting to see what he can do with Richardson, albeit without rushing him onto the football field.

As for Levis, it feels like the Raiders would be his best landing spot. He could sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo and learn from McDaniels. Let’s not forget how good of a year Mac Jones had in his rookie season with the New England Patriots with McDaniels as his coordinator. Levis sitting a year in McDaniels’ offensive scheme would be great for him.

It’s hard to envision the Seahawks passing up on one of the top defensive prospects falling to them with the No. 5 pick. But, the Seahawks can bring in a quarterback to sit behind Smith in Hooker, and they can probably do so with their second-round pick. Imagine what Hooker can do in Seattle with Kenneth Walker to hand the football off to, and D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to target downfield.

2023 NFL Mock Draft with best QB predictions

Now, let’s see where the top prospects will go based on predictions:

  • Bryce Young: Houston Texans
  • C.J. Stroud: Carolina Panthers
  • Anthony Richardson: Indianapolis Colts
  • Will Levis: Las Vegas Raiders
  • Hendon Hooker: New Orleans Saints

Not much change from the best fits. It really feels as of this writing that Stroud and Young will go in the first two picks. That would leave the Colts with the chance to select the third choice, barring a team jumping ahead of them to No. 3. Richardson’s potential could be too much for the Colts to pass on. That would leave Levis to go to the Raiders as their quarterback of the future, with Garoppolo starting for the 2023 season.

The only change will be where Hooker ends up. The Saints can use the 40th-overall pick on Hooker, who they have reportedly met with this offseason.

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