Early look at the top 20 NFL Draft-eligible college football players taking the field in 2023

The deadline for college football players throughout the nation to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone. I’m sorry in the event you meant to throw your title into the combine however slept via your alarm (college children, am I proper?), nevertheless it’s too late. Your punishment is that it’s important to keep in faculty for an additional 12 months.

The NFL’s loss is college football’s acquire, nonetheless. Some players weren’t eligible for the draft — the NFL has a rule requiring all players to be at least three years out of highschool earlier than getting into the draft — whereas others took benefit of title, picture and likeness (NIL) alternatives to return for an additional season. Players return to iron out some kinks in their recreation and to make precise, authentic cash — maybe greater than they might’ve made as mid to late-round picks.

Who are the players coming again for an additional season that will likely be the discuss of the draft course of a 12 months from now? I’ve put collectively an inventory of 20 names to observe ordered by place. No, I did not embody each participant in the nation, so I’m sorry if the participant in your crew did not make the listing. It doesn’t suggest I hate them. But I do love these players, so let’s get to them.

Caleb Williams, QB, USC: If Williams was eligible to go to the NFL this spring, odds are he’d be the favourite to go No. 1 general. NFL groups are all the time searching for comps with prospects, and Williams is really the most Patrick Mahomes-like quarterback in the college recreation. That’s to not say he is nearly as good as, or will likely be nearly as good as, Mahomes in the NFL. But Williams does lots of related issues to Mahomes. Oh, and he gained the Heisman whereas enjoying for a coach in Lincoln Riley who has helped mould a number of Heisman winners and No. 1 draft choose. Rest assured, NFL scouts will spend the subsequent 12 months selecting him aside and searching for issues fallacious with him. They might even discover some, however do not let it distract you from the indisputable fact that he is the finest NFL prospect in college subsequent 12 months.

Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina: Unlike lots of the top quarterbacks in the nation, Maye didn’t play on a crew contending for something important. The Tar Heels completed the season 9-5 and gained the ACC Coastal, however no person thought-about them an actual menace to do something due to their poor protection. Maye was terrific, nonetheless. He has the measurement, athleticism and all these traits NFL groups love. Depending on who you consider, different faculties love them too. That’s why there have been some profitable provides allegedly tossed Maye’s approach in hopes of convincing him to switch.

Bo Nix, QB, Oregon: I by no means thought I’d embody Nix in a narrative like this, however right here we’re. In quick, I wasn’t a believer in Nix throughout his days at Auburn. He confirmed flashes, however errors and lackluster play too typically overshadowed them. Then, he transferred to Oregon and made me look like a rattling idiot. Nix was a stud for the Ducks in 2022, and getting him again for an additional season was a coup for coach Dan Lanning. Nix began to dwell as much as his potential final season, and one other sturdy 12 months might have him getting into the early-round draft dialogue subsequent spring.

Bo Nix

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Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington: Next spring, Penix will likely be one among the most polarizing quarterbacks in the draft class. He has an otherworldly arm that typically lacks restraint. Some will look at this as a knock on him. Others will think about the outcomes if it may be harnessed correctly. College football followers will simply get pleasure from it. Honestly, there have been a number of throws Penix made with Washington this season that elicited unusual guttural sounds from my mouth of which I did not know I used to be succesful.

Blake Corum, RB, Michigan: Corum is simply on this listing due to a knee harm he suffered late in the season towards Illinois. The timetable for his restoration lasts via the draft course of and would have hampered his inventory. That completely stinks for Corum, nevertheless it’s a win for the (*20*) and college football. I’d wish to see an X-ray of Corum’s ankles as a result of they can’t be constructed the identical approach as most people. Some of the cuts he makes and the angles his ankles bend whereas making them don’t appear bodily potential, however he does them repeatedly. Running backs hardly ever go early in drafts today, but when Corum works on his pass-catching out of the backfield, he might enter that dialog subsequent spring.

TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State: Henderson is an analogous case to Blake Corum. He was banged up in 2022 and restricted to solely eight video games, however he was productive when he performed and is a home-run hitter at the place. I’d give Corum the edge in change of path on Henderson, however Henderson has a better top pace and will get to it faster. He wasn’t used as a lot as a receiver in 2022 as 2021, nevertheless it’s part of his recreation that NFL groups will admire.

Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State: Recognize the title? Anyone who watched Marvin Harrison play with Peyton Manning all these years with the Indianapolis Colts is not going to be shocked to be taught that his son is a route tactician. In truth, the youthful Harrison appears to be like a lot like his father on the field it is uncanny, however there’s one obvious distinction: At 6-foot-3 and 200 kilos, the son is far bigger than the father, who was listed at 6-foot and 185 kilos. If you watched Ohio State’s loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff, it isn’t a coincidence that the Georgia protection discovered it simpler to decelerate the Buckeyes’ offense after Harrison left the recreation with an harm. He’s the most gifted extensive receiver in the nation and might be a top-five choose subsequent 12 months.

Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State: Yes, that is proper, a 3rd straight Ohio State participant is talked about in this listing. You get the sense the Buckeyes might be good once more subsequent season. Spoiler alert: Egbuka is the third Buckeye talked about, however he will not be the final. While Harrison is the higher general prospect, there is a sturdy argument that Egbuka is the second-best wideout prospect in subsequent 12 months’s class. He’s not fairly the tactician that Harrison is, however he is simply as gifted and a ache in the butt to cowl.

Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas: Worthy is a deep menace who has excelled at Texas regardless of enjoying with a number of quarterbacks in his first two seasons. He burst onto the scene with 981 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman enjoying with Casey Thompson and Hudson Card. In 2022, he performed with Card and Quinn Ewers, ending with 760 yards and 9 touchdowns. The numbers dropped somewhat, nevertheless it was largely resulting from the availability of higher second and third choices. He’s not the largest child in the world, however he has the sort of deep pace that each crew at each degree covets.

Xavier Worthy

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Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia: Bowers is a freak. When you watch the Georgia offense, you surprise why the Bulldogs do not give him the ball on each play as a result of it could in all probability be an environment friendly plan. Bowers led the Dawgs in receiving this season with 942 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was additionally an efficient ball provider, dashing for 109 yards and three touchdowns on solely 9 carries. He’s a matchup nightmare that can be utilized throughout the field. My sympathies to any linebacker who will get caught with him one-on-one in protection.

Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State: I used to be legitimately shocked Fashanu returned to Penn State, however he is younger and his household felt it was finest for him to develop bodily for an additional season. Penn State’s definitely pleased with the resolution. Fashanu might have been the No. 1 sort out in the 2023 class had he entered the draft, and he’ll enter subsequent season thought-about by many the top in the class.

Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish have despatched fairly a number of wonderful offensive linemen to the NFL in current years, and Alt appears to be like and performs each bit the a part of a top-10 choose. The Irish offensive line took a while to gel in 2022, however Alt was excellent all season lengthy. He’s large at 6-foot-7 with lengthy arms and fast ft, making him inconceivable to get by. When he does get his fingers on you, it is a wrap.

JC Latham, OT, Alabama: Truth be informed, I have not been as impressed with the Alabama offensive line over the final two years as I had been in years prior. It’s a unit that’s regressing a bit, however I really like Latham. He’s the one participant on the unit that persistently stands out. He performed proper sort out for Alabama in 2023, and I do not know that there are plans to maneuver him to the left facet. That might preserve him from being a top choose in the draft, nevertheless it is not stopping me from together with him right here.

Jared Verse, DE, Florida State: I do not know that Verse would’ve been a first-round choose like some have claimed had he entered the draft this 12 months, however I do not suppose he’d have made it to the third spherical. Verse was an enormous win for the Seminoles in the switch portal. He got here to Tallahassee from Albany and completed with 9 sacks and 16.5 TFLs. He’s already polished for a cross rusher.

JT Tuimoloau, DE, Ohio State: Finally, one other Buckeye! Tuimoloau is one among my favourite players to look at as a result of he does every thing. He can get after the quarterback as a rusher. He can plug the hole as a run stopper. He may even drop in protection and do an honest job, and he has wonderful fingers. He picked off two passes this season and broke up 4 passes. He is the very definition of a disruptive pressure.

JT Tuimoloau

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Dallas Turner, DE, Alabama: Will Anderson will likely be a top-five choose in the spring. He was one among the most efficient cross rushers in the college recreation over the previous few seasons, and he had an epic 2021 season. How will Alabama substitute him? It’ll merely throw Dallas Turner on the market each snap. Turner is somewhat undersized for what you’d ideally like at the place, however he makes up for it along with his pace. Any sort out that is sluggish out of the gate is beat. interval Once he learns how one can use his fingers somewhat higher, there will likely be no stopping him.

Mason Smith, DT, LSU: Maason Smith missed most of the 2022 season resulting from a torn ACL he suffered in the season-opener towards Florida State as he celebrated a sort out for loss. It robbed LSU of a disruptive pressure for the season, however he will likely be again to full well being for 2023, and that is an enormous enhance for the Tigers protection. Players who can blow up an offensive line from the inside are all the time appreciated, and that is exactly what Smith can do.

Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama: I’ve a sense this will likely be a considerably controversial selection as a result of a few of the of us I discuss to aren’t as bullish on McKinstry. I’m not in their camp. I really like the child and suppose he will be the first nook in the draft subsequent spring. I really like his demeanor and knack for locating the ball, and I really like that he’s a contributor on particular groups.

Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia: Speaking of discord in the evaluations of corners, there’s loads of it in relation to Georgia’s Kelee Ringo, who is predicted to be a top choose in the draft this 12 months. Well, some will let you know that Ringo wasn’t the finest nook on the Georgia protection this season — Kamari Lassiter was. I feel they had been each fairly nice, and Lassiter is an efficient wager to get even higher in 2023.

James Williams, S, Miami: In a season of few silver linings for the Miami Hurricanes, Williams was a beacon of hope. He was tied for the crew lead with 59 tackles and was throughout the place. The query will likely be whether or not Williams tasks as a security or linebacker at the subsequent degree. He’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 224 kilos. His inventory suffered this 12 months, however I think lots of it was resulting from what was round him. If Miami rebounds in 2023, do not be shocked if he enters the first-round dialog subsequent 12 months.

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