While David Shaw’s club struggled in 2022, Stanford‘s 2023 NFL Draft class has talent sprinkled throughout. Who are the top Stanford prospects, and what do their scouting reports reveal about their next-level potential?
Stanford 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Brycen Tremayne, WR
Strengths: Underrated pass catcher with possibilities as a possession receiver. Battles opponents with his hands to separate, plays with balance as well as body control, and displays outstanding eye/hand coordination. Plays faster than his 40 time, tracks the pass in the air, and easily makes the reception at full speed.
Gets vertical, adjusts, and wins out for the contested throw. Stays low exiting breaks, then extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame. Gives effort blocking downfield.
Weaknesses: Posted average production at Stanford, as last season was the first time he caught more than 20 passes. Lacks a second gear and deep burst. Struggles separating through routes.
Overall: Tremayne is a terrific receiver who possesses reliable hands, great concentration, and a tough-guy attitude. His tape is outstanding, and while he struggles separating through routes, Tremayne offers enough pass-catching skill to make a roster as a possession receiver, third-down target, and a red-zone threat.
Want more information on Tremayne? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Brycen Tremayne, WR, Stanford | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Elijah Higgins, WR/TE
Strengths: Massive college receiver with great athleticism who projects as a move tight end. Comes back to the quarterback to make himself an available target, extends his hands, and easily adjusts to the errant throw.
Tracks the pass in the air, works to make the reception away from his frame, and looks the ball into his hands. Physical, uses his frame to shield away defenders, and fights to come away with the difficult catch. Effectively times receptions and makes the catch in stride. Gives effort blocking downfield and gets results.
Weaknesses: Displays limited quickness. Doesn’t consistently catch the ball cleanly away from his frame and doesn’t come away with the difficult grab as often as a bigger receiver should.
Overall: Higgins is a physical specimen who flashes dominance, yet he’s rough around the edges. His lack of quickness and inability to separate through routes will hamper him as a receiver on Sundays. Nevertheless, Higgins’ size, movement skills, and willingness to block fit perfectly as a move tight end.
Want more information on Higgins? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Elijah Higgins, WR, Stanford | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Kendall Williamson, S
Strengths: Tough, run-defending safety who is best playing downhill. Instinctive, stays with coverage assignments, and hits hard. Goes after opponents, wraps up tackling, and brings opponents down in the open field. Gives effort and sells out to make plays.
Weaknesses: Does not display an explosive burst to the ball and shows average closing speed despite his 40 time. Late getting to the spot in coverage.
Overall: Williamson possesses the numbers desired at the safety position, yet on film, he’s very straight-line-ish and one-dimensional. He possesses an upside but needs proper coaching and must start making plays in coverage.
Kyu Blu Kelly, CB
Strengths: Nice-sized cornerback who is best facing the action. Aggressive, plays faster than his 40 time and does a nice job tracking the pass in the air. Quick flipping his hips, mixes it up with receivers throughout the route and effectively times pass defenses. Shows a lot of ability backed off the line of scrimmage with exceptional burst to the ball and quickly closes to the action. Gives effort defending the run and drives his shoulders through ball handlers.
Weaknesses: Rarely gets his head back around, does a lot of face guarding and plays the receiver’s hands rather than the ball. Not quick out of his transition and gets beaten down the field. A bit stiff and mechanical pedaling in reverse.
Overall: Kelly possesses next-level size and shows outstanding ball skills facing the action. He offers ability backed off the line of scrimmage or in zone.
Want more information on Kelly? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Michael Wilson, WR
Strengths: Outstanding route runner who displays tremendous quickness. Fires off the line of scrimmage, gets the initial step on defenders, and uses his hands to separate from opponents. Quick-footed, fires into routes, and stays low exiting breaks. Plays with balance as well as body control. Extends his hands to pluck the ball from the air. Gives effort after the catch. Effective downfield blocker.
Weaknesses: Plays to one speed and isn’t a downfield threat. Unnecessarily secures passes against his frame. Performed poorly during Combine workouts. Had one season of big-time production at Stanford in 2019 and has played in just 14 games since.
Overall: Wilson is a nice-sized WR who runs exceptional routes and consistently separates from defenders. He couldn’t be covered during three days of Senior Bowl practices and displayed much next-level skill.
Wilson is not the greatest athlete, doesn’t have a big body of work, and comes with a bit of risk. Yet, he has enough ability to be a Day 3 pick and then develop into a fourth receiver on Sundays.
Want more information on Wilson? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Patrick Fields, S
Strengths: Oklahoma transfer who is one of the more underrated safeties in this draft. Instinctive, immediately recognizes assignments, and quickly picks up coverage responsibilities. Displays great wherewithal, yet at the same time, is physical and hard-hitting.
Displays a burst to the ball out of his plant, quickly closes to plays, and possesses solid ball skills. Easily runs downfield with tight ends and shows cover skills. Plays faster than his 40 time. Fires upfield and gives effort defending screen passes or running plays. Squares into ball handlers.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t show great lateral speed and is a bit slow getting to the flanks. Not a stout tackler. Struggles to stay on the receiver’s hip out of breaks in man coverage. Minimally effective over the slot receiver.
Overall: Fields is an underrated safety who is effective in all areas of the position. He lacks great upside but possesses outstanding intellect and would be very good as a zone safety/special-teams player.
Want more information on Fields? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Patrick Fields, S, Stanford | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Tanner McKee, QB
Strengths: Nice-sized pocket passer with a next-level arm. Throws with a fluid, over-the-top delivery, puts touch on passes, and tosses the ball away when necessary. Senses the rush, doesn’t make poor choices under pressure, and finds the open wideout.
Possesses a quick release as well as a live arm and pocket patience. Scans the field, possesses excellent stature, and looks away from covered targets. Fires the ball through tight spots and needles passes with his arm strength. Does enough to escape the rush.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Weaknesses: Has thrown 15 interceptions the past two seasons. Must improve his overall pass placement, as receivers are constantly adjusting to grab the ball from the air. Not a threat to pick up yardage with his legs. Coming off a disappointing campaign.
Overall: McKee displayed flashes of big-time ability in 2021, but he struggled last season, especially during the second half of the campaign. He’s a traditional pocket passer with a large upside, yet McKee needs a lot of work from the ground up.
Want more information on McKee? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford | NFL Draft Scouting Report