The 2023 NFL Draft is a little over a week away. I thought it would be a good time to get out there who my guys are. By my guys, I mean players who I think are going to be excellent players in the NFL. I do not expect any of these prospects to come off the board in round one. Hell, 1-2 may not even get drafted at all.
WHO ARE MY GUYS?
Jason Brownlee, WR, Southern Miss
I don’t know if the teams in the NFL are as high on him as I am. But more and more have come around on his skillset during the draft process. Brownlee was consistent in his production during his three-year stint in Hattiesburg. He had a great week of practice at the NFLPA Bowl. Then he had a great showing at the Combine. Brownlee doesn’t have elite speed. However, he beats defenders with his explosiveness and route running. Brownlee has multiple things working against him. He lacks special teams snaps, so a team taking him on day three will have to be comfortable with projecting he can play there. Brownlee will also be a 24-year-old rookie.
Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina
You didn’t think this column wouldn’t include a Gamecock, did you? Darius Rush has slayed the pre-draft process as much as anyone can. Rush dominated the 1-on-1s at the Senior Bowl. He destroyed the testing at the Combine. Rush has great ball skills and is proven he can handle the pressure after being targeted a great deal in 2022. Teams steered away from his teammate Cam Smith.
Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
Spears jumped out to me against Houston early on and I have been hooked ever since. He then looked like a world-beater in Mobile with both his explosiveness in the run game and passing game. Spears might be a little smaller than you want in a featured back. However, he is going to be a three-down producer in the NFL.
Jason Taylor II, S, Oklahoma State
Taylor is rising up boards with his testing but his production at Okie State is what stood out to me. He has great recovery speed, tackles well, and has decent ball skills. Taylor should be selected early on day three.
Johnny Lumpkin, TE, Louisiana
I have joked for two years now that Johnny Lumpkin was a big breakfast away from being an offensive tackle. He doesn’t factor into the passing game a bunch. But watching Lumpkin run and pass block is fun in its own right. I doubt he gets selected, but just the blocking trait alone can get him on a 53.