We’re 100 days from the start of the NFL regular season and nearly 11 months from the next draft, but league scouts and personnel departments are already grinding on the 2023 draft.
This is a fact.
I know one NFL personnel man who started watching tape and setting up evaluations in advance of the 2023 draft a week after the 2022 draft concluded.
So it makes sense the most prominent media personnel guru is already on the case as well with his top 25 big board. Mel Kiper released his rankings of the top 25 prospects for the upcoming college season on Tuesday.
And quarterbacks dominate the list — as expected.
Kiper has three quarterbacks in the top 12:
Alabama’s Bryce Young.
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.
Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke.
The top prospect on Kiper’s board is Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson, a great choice because he had 17.5 sacks last season and is one of those guys who never takes a play off, which is a lethal trait when the player is also supremely talented.
Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba round out the top 5 players on the board.
And now let me say something about the QBs, because that’s where the interest will be primarily among teams at the top of the draft:
Kiper has Young as his No. 2 overall prospect and Stroud as No. 3. I disagree not because Stroud is a better player. Indeed, Young is arguably the better college player.
But we’re talking NFL prospects here.
And Young, at 6-foot and 194-198 pounds, simply is not anywhere close to being a prototypical quarterback prospect. He’s smallish and not necessarily quick or fast to get out of the pocket.
Great accuracy, yes.
He reminds a lot of Tua Tagovailoa except he’s not built quite as thick.
Stroud has more of an NFL QB build at 6-3 and 217 and he was simply fantastic the final two months of last season.
One more thing: Van Dyke is going to be a third-year sophomore so it’s not a certainty he’ll come out for the 2023 draft. Indeed, new Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal was able to help convince his last big-time quarterback to stay in school rather than come out a year earlier.
And it worked out pretty well for Justin Herbert.
But Van Dyke is going to be outstanding. He’s got an NFL arm and he’s accurate.
At 6-4 and 224 pounds he has a prototype NFL QB body and he is mobile.
He is a throwback to Miami’s QB U days when Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde came through the school. It wouldn’t be surprising if he becomes the top rated player of this class over the next 11 months.
In the 2023 draft, by the way, several teams have set themselves up for big moves by acquiring extra first-round picks.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins all have two first-round selections next spring.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero