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2023 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings: Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud Lead The Way

The 2022 NFL draft left us with a lot to desire in terms of top-tier QB's. The 2023 NFL Draft should meet our desires regarding high ceiling potential. After the 2021 NFL Draft QB class that included Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, and Trey Lance in that order on our 2021 Big Board rankings all going in the first round, we had Kenny Pickett ranked 26th with a first-round grade ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. He would become the only QB drafted in the first round.

When combining the grades from the last two draft classes, at least two QB's from the 2021 draft class would still rank ahead of the current 2023 group, with Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields ranking higher than Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud to this point in the process.

For the 2023 class, we have another season of data points ahead of us in 2022, so whatever you read today could be flipped on its head by the time we reach the 2023 NFL Draft.

One thing I can say without a doubt is that Bryce Young has "it," and for a smallish QB who does not check the same boxes (in terms of stature) as the Josh Allen's or Justin Herbert's of the world, Young is still a "toolsy" player.

As for the others on the list, C.J. Stroud and WIll Levis have a lot to gain by having a great 2022 season, and either player has the upside to take the top spot.

So what are we looking for when evaluating the QB position?

The Key Positional Factors:

  • Accuracy

  • Arm Talent

  • Awareness (Football IQ)

As everyone already knows (or should know), we do a show (After Further Review) on our Youtube channel that features in-depth individual NFL Draft player analysis. We cover a lot in these episodes, from player grades, team fits, and player comps, and we even do a quick film analysis. Still, the core of the final player analysis is the final grade and the ceiling grade, which are determined in large part by the key positional factor grades.

The Final Grades for any player in the top 50 rankings will be within the range of Instant Impact, High Upside, and Developmental. Each of the grades referenced in the above text possesses subcategories to help us gauge where a player stands from day one entering the NFL. You can find these below.

The Grade Scale

IIP (Instant Impact Potential)

(9.0-7.0) High-End Starter

HUP (High Upside Potential)

(6.9-6.7) Solid Starter Level

DP (Developmental Potential)

(6.6-6.5) Lower Level Starter

(6.4) Starter Level Traits

(6.3) Limited Opportunity/Shows Starter Level Traits When Given the Opportunity

The Top 5 2023 NFL Draft QB's

1). Bryce Young Alabama RSO 6-0 194

Current Grade: Solid Starter Level (High Upside Potential)

Ceiling Grade: High-End Starter (Instant Impact Potential)

Bryce Young is a solid athlete with a better-than-average arm. He wins with his decision-making and his ability to work through his progressions. Based on our assumptions that Bryce Young will likely declare for the 2023 NFL Draft after one more year of seasoning, he already has shown enough on his tape to have been considered the top QB in this past draft ahead of Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Desmond Ridder.

2). C.J. Stroud Ohio State JR 6-3 218

Current Grade: Lower Level Starter (Developmental)

Ceiling Grade: High-End Starter (Instant Impact Potential)

C.J. Stroud grew down the second-half stretch of the 2021 college football season. With another year of coaching from Ryan Day in this Ohio State offense, Stroud has the potential to reach heights unseen before at Ohio State.

Stroud throws with great anticipation and does a great job putting his receivers in a position to be lucky after the catch. He is not the athlete Justin Fields presented while at Ohio State, but Stroud proved he could be every bit as good as a passer, and when needed, he can pick up a first down with his legs. Continued improvement with his footwork and timing will further elevate his top ten NFL draft status.

3). Will Levis Kentucky SR 6-3 232

Current Grade: Lower Level Starter (Developmental)

Ceiling Grade: High-End Starter (Instant Impact Potential)

I was not impressed when I started the Will Levis review following Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. For starters, he presented a lot of inconsistency as a passer. His lack of consistent deep accuracy, footwork, and timing left a lot to be desired. By the 3rd full game review, I began to piece together the reasoning behind his ascension on many draft boards.

Will Levis has the size and is built similarly to Josh Allen while possessing a cannon for an arm. Levis is also an outstanding athlete that can extend plays and keep a drive alive with his legs. Will Levis will start the 2022 season with a Developmental grade while possessing an Instant Impact ceiling.

4). Tyler Van Dyke Miami RSO 6-4 224

Current Grade: Starter Level Traits (Developmental)

Ceiling Grade: Solid Starter Level (High Upside Potential)

Van Dyke is another player that has a lot to gain during the 2022 college football season. A season ago, Van Dyke was not named the full-time starter until week 4, and from that point, he proved that the future of the Miami offense would be on his shoulders.

Van Dyke finished the 2021 season with 25 TD's to 6 INTs. He takes care of the football while also being confident enough in his arm to go out and hit a high number of tight-window throws.

To remain a first-round consideration, Van Dyke needs to refine his footwork in the pocket and improve his processing from within the structure of the offense. It will be interesting to see how new OC Josh Gattis, coming in from the University of Michigan, will build his scheme around Van Dyke.

5). Tanner McKee Stanford JR 6-6 228

Current Grade: Starter Level Traits (Developmental)

Ceiling Grade: Solid Starter Level (High Upside Potential)

In 2018, Tanner McKee was a highly coveted recruit in the same class as Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields; he ranked as the 6th best QB prospect in 2018 while ranking as the third-best pro-style prospect behind Trevor Lawrence and J.T. Daniels. McKee is a prototype NFL QB with a big arm who wins from the pocket with good footwork and mechanics.

In 2021, McKee started the season strong through his first five weeks, throwing 11 TD's and zero INT's, but through his final seven games, he returned to earth throwing only 4 TD's to 7 INT's. Not surrounded by great talent, McKee combines good ball placement with a big arm to help bridge his team's offensive deficiencies.

In 2022, Mckee will need to work on protecting the football while being pressured; part of the onus will be on the Stanford OL to improve their ability to protect Mckee. PFF ranked Stanford 95th in pass blocking in 2021.


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