The 2023 NFL Draft first-round quarterback picks featured an ultra-precise pocket-passer, a high-floor passer with enough creativity in his resume, and an incredibly athletic player with a rocket arm. That makes it a great time to look back at these quarterbacks as prospects, pinpointing what they need to improve during their rookie season and their journey to becoming pros. We’ll also look at how the strengths of these rookie quarterbacks can be maximized while formulating a projection for their rookie season.
The Panthers have decided to take a quantity-over-quality approach for their receiver position, after making a trade for D.J Moore to the Chicago Bears. That was a necessary move to get Bryce Young as the No. 1 overall pick.
When evaluating Young, his lack of size might make some NFL fans skeptical about the choice that the Panthers made, but that doesn’t affect his career as an NFL quarterback. Unlike other small-sized quarterbacks who recently joined the NFL ahead of him (Baker Mayfield, Russel Wilson, and Kyler Murray), Bryce has the arm strength of a passer his size.
Bryce Young packs the natural, creative flair that quarterbacks need to thrive in the league today. While with Alabama last season, he ranked as the fifth-highest figure in collegiate football. Young is a bouncy athlete and while he’s not processing the explosiveness of Murray, he works well even in tight quarters. That said, Bryce Young promises to be among the most productive rookie quarterbacks in 2023, from the beginning of the season to the end.
C.J. Stroud ranks as one of the best free NFL picks alongside Bryce Young. While Stroud isn’t an escape artist and does not play with cement feet in his pocket, he’s as stoic as any other top-flight quarterback in the NFL. He threw a total of 11 touchdowns and only picked one when roaming out of the pocket, although his completion rate fell under 53% with a running average of 6.3 yards per attempt.
Stroud’s precision and calm demeanor are the most glaring strengths of his game. In 2023, Stroud recorded a big-time throw of 7%, building on the already strong 5.9% rate recorded by Young in 2021. Additionally, if he sustains his confidence-building and aggressive passing mentality, game-shifting throws are bound to happen.
During general manager Chris Ballard’s tenure with the Colts, the team seems to be prioritizing athleticism over any other NFL club, which explains Richardson’s selection. Richardson’s accuracy (64.2%) requires some fine-tuning, but he has immense athletic talents to hold the team together when things break down.
In 2022, Richardson was sacked 13 times and ran for about 700 yards to record nine scorers, speaking miles about his ridiculously impressive movement skills. His unique skills will be celebrated in the Colts’ offense and fans hope to see some hefty play-action deep shots thanks to his enormous arm. Richardson also has a great potential to grow under coach Steichen and the quality of the team’s offensive line will help him avoid being shell-shocked at the beginning of his NFL career.