Though quarterbacks were mostly an afterthought in the 2022 NFL draft, ESPN's Todd McShay expects several big names at the position to go early in the 2023 draft.
In his mock draft for next year's event, McShay predicts Ohio State's C.J. Stroud will go No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans, followed by Alabama's Bryce Young to the Detroit Lions. They are among the five quarterbacks projected to be selected in the top 10.
McShay 2023 Mock Draft
1. Houston Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
2. Detroit Lions: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
3. New York Jets: Will Anderson Jr., DE, Alabama
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
5. Atlanta Falcons: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
6. Carolina Panthers: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
7. Chicago Bears: Jordan Addison, WR, Pittsburgh
8. New York Giants: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
9. Seattle Seahawks: Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami
10. Washington Commanders: Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
Just one team made quarterback a priority in the 2022 draft, with the Pittsburgh Steelers making Kenny Pickett the only first-round pick at No. 20 overall.
Desmond Ridder, Malik Willis and Matt Corral had to wait until the third round to hear their names called.
It looks set to be a different story in 2023, with Stroud and Young both coming off breakout seasons with powerhouse programs.
Young won the Heisman Trophy during his first season as a starter, totaling 4,872 passing yards with 47 touchdowns in 15 games for the Crimson Tide. Stroud was nearly as good as a redshirt freshman for the Buckeyes, totaling 4,435 passing yards with 44 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Both have an argument to go No. 1 overall next year, although Stroud has better size (6'3" vs. 6'0") and had better accuracy last season (71.9 percent vs. 66.9 percent). If the Ohio State quarterback can continue his development, it could be enough to make him the first player drafted.
The remaining quarterbacks in the top 10—Anthony Richardson, Will Levis and Tyler Van Dyke—are more projections based on traits rather than past production.
Richardson has only seven passing touchdowns in his collegiate career, but his agility could make him an exciting prospect. Levis also shines with his dual-threat ability, while Van Dyke could be the type of pure passer who excites scouts heading into the draft.
With several teams likely in need of a new quarterback by April 2023, there will be a lot of eyes on these players this coming season.
Of course, the New York Jets might be getting the steal of the draft if it goes as predicted. Will Anderson Jr. was one of the biggest stars of college football last season with 17.5 sacks and 101 tackles, leading Alabama to the College Football Playoff title game. It gives the pass-rusher a strong chance of going No. 1 overall regardless of team need.