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We’re about halfway through the college football season already, and we’ve learned a lot about the prospects that seem likely to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft. In particular, there’s been much discussion of the quarterbacks after a poor class at the position in 2022. Now that we’ve gotten to see these guys in action for a month and a half, here’s some updated thoughts on some of the potential 2023 NFL Draft QBs.
CJ Stroud Remains at the Top
Likely to no one’s surprise, CJ Stroud easily looks like the best QB to this point in the college football season. The only concern that may have emerged surrounded around both Chris Olive and Garrett Wilson going to the NFL, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba looks incredible as the WR1 of this team.
Stroud has moved the ball with ease on this Buckeye offense, continuing to complete over 70% of his passes. He’s also thrown for multiple touchdown passes in every game, including 5+ in three of the past four. If Stroud isn’t the first QB off the board next spring, it’ll be a surprise.
SEC QBs Take a Hit
Coming into the season, both Will Levis and Anthony Richardson were being hyped up as potentially high first-round picks in next spring’s draft. After very strong starts from the two of them, recent weeks have been much less impressive against stronger opponents.
In particular, Richardson has been far less impressive as a passer than he did in Week 1 against Florida State. Since that game, he has turned the ball over in every game and has completed less than 60% of his passes in all games other than against Eastern Washington.
Levis has been more consistent as a passer, but Kentucky’s schedule has been easier than Florida’s so far, and he had some trouble figuring out Ole Miss’ defense this past weekend. He also does not have quite the upside of Richardson as a runner, which could also knock his stock looking at the other QB prospects in this draft.
Overall, both of these players have very intriguing traits for any NFL team. That said, we may have to temper expectations that they could go in the first 15-20 picks of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Keep an Eye on the PAC-12
Caleb Williams looks like the premier QB prospect in the 2024 Draft out of USC, but there certainly are other players to keep an eye on for the rest of this season. In particular, Bo Nix is quietly having a spectacular season for Oregon.
Following the blowout loss handed to the Ducks by the Georgia Bulldogs, Nix has bounced back with the best stretch of games of his collegiate career. So far this season, Nix has upped his completion percentage by nearly 10 points from 2021, connecting with his receivers at a 70.4% clip. He’s also passed for 1526 yards, 12 TDs, and just 3 INTs through six games. Additionally, he’s used his legs as a weapon, rushing for 331 yards and an additional 8 scores.
Another dark horse QB prospect to keep an eye on resides with the Washington State Cougars. Cameron Ward has put together a terrific year in his first season of FBS ball, and his aggressive, reliable arm has helped the Cougars get off to a 4-2 start. There’s a decent chance he returns for another college season in hopes of raising his stock further for the 2024 Draft, but he’s worth paying attention to for the rest of the fall.