After years of hype as having the potential to become one of the best quarterback draft classes in recent memory, the crop of 2023 signal callers are finally taking their first snaps in the NFL as they prepare for the upcoming year in training camp and the preseason.
With four signal callers selected across the first two rounds of this year’s draft (all of them in the first 33 picks, as Kentucky Wildcats’ quarterback Will Levis missed out on a first-round selection by a hair), it’ll be fascinating to see how they end up performing in the big league.
Let’s take a look at the 2023 quarterback draft class, starting with Levis in the reverse order of how they got drafted.
Will Levis, Tennessee Titans
Will Levis is one of the more intriguing options of the bunch because of his boom-or-bust potential. Standing 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds, he’s built like a prototypical NFL quarterback with a rocket of an arm to boot. He does come with some question marks, namely his decision-making, and accuracy (possessing an itchy trigger finger, he can be prone to airmailing short and intermediate throws), but he’s a physical specimen who isn’t shy of getting hit or pulling down the ball to run.
As something of a project, the Titans likely don’t expect Levis to start right away, giving him the chance to wait in the wings behind established veteran Ryan Tannehill, honing his craft as he prepares for his number to be called as QB1.
He reminds many of a young Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, a physical freak of nature who needed time to focus on the minutiae of a game like going through progressions or reading a defense. With Nashville just 250 miles from Lexington, Kentucky, and the Wildcats, you can be sure that Levis will have a ton of fans in the stands when he does get his number called.
A FanDuel Kentucky bonus code will come in handy now that online sports betting is set to be legalized in the state of Kentucky the month that NFL football starts. All you Wildcats’ fans and Levis’ supporters can add some excitement to the games and get in on the action when mobile betting goes online in the Bluegrass State on September 28.
Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
Most of Levis’ blurb can be applied to Richardson, provided you take it up yet another notch. He has an alien-level arm and is a terrifying threat as a runner, tipping the scale at more than 240 pounds and clocking a 4.43-second forty-yard dash. He’s even more of a project than Levis, needing to work on his footwork and rhythm (which, in turn, cause accuracy issues). As a gunslinger, he’s always going to make boom or bust plays, but learning to cut down on the risks he takes will help him maximize his chances of sticking around in the NFL.
Richardson has perhaps the highest talent level of any of these four quarterbacks (it’s not a stretch to say his raw potential could land him in the Hall of Fame someday), but his inconsistency also makes him the most likely to fizzle out.
C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
Stroud is a polished pocket passer with the highest floor of any of these four quarterbacks. He’s just 21 years old and is joining a trainwreck of a Texans team, but his mind for the game, accuracy, and beyond-his-years maturity on the field give him as good a chance as any of turning that sorry franchise around. Stroud is an excellent athlete who prefers to work from the pocket, but if he learns to tap into his natural ability a little more to make plays out of the structure, we’re looking at a future MVP candidate.
Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers
The first overall pick, Young joins a well-put-together Panthers team that traded up to pick him. He has question marks surrounding his size and durability, a diminutive 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds, but he’s an excellent technician who can read the full field (much like Stroud) and manipulate defenders with his eyes.
Despite his small frame, he performs well out of the pocket, although there could be some growing pains as he adjusts to the size of NFL linemen. With below-average arm strength, he relies on his mind more than physical talent (in the same vein as Tom Brady or Peyton Manning), but he is an excellent scrambler when necessary. If he’s able to overcome the glaring size issue, he could easily become the best of the bunch.