2023 College QB Watchlist
We stand on the precipice of the 2022 NFL Season. The Detroit Lions have had an overall encouraging offseason process, despite the dud in the final preseason game in Pittsburgh and we all can't wait for football to return to Ford Field in less than two weeks' time.
We're all pulling for an incredible season, but even the biggest kool-aid chuggers (like myself) acknowledge that hoping for the playoffs this year is optimistic. With Jared Goff under center for 2022 a reality for financial reality as much as performance on the field, a conservative view for future years is to consider a future without him. We are all pulling for him to succeed, but he may not, or not enough, to avoid the axe in a year's time.
With that in mind, and with the college season just starting now, we thought it would be interesting to list out the college QBs who could be in the mix to be picked by the Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Draft as QB1. The rank shown are as per those in The Draft Network's TDN100 list:
5) CJ Stroud, Ohio State, RS Sophomore (6'3, 218) - Best all-around player currently without any elite traits
13) Bryce Young, Alabama, Junior (6', 194) - Heismann winner - High-IQ player and great out of structure, very accurate QB, but very short (6' appears generous).
15) Will Levis, Kentucky, Senior (6'3, 232) - the most pro-ready build - big arm and athletic - discussed further below.
37) Anthony Richardson, RS Sophomore (6'4, 232) - One of the most toolsy QBs in the draft, but he only has 39 career college pass completions so far so, there's plenty to be proven.
45) Tanner McKee, Stanford, Junior (6'6, 226) - Maybe the best arm of the class, but not the best athleticism. Runs a pro-style offense and should have a high floor, but perhaps a lower ceiling.
47) Tyler Van Dyke, Miami, RS Sophomore (6'4, 224) - Toolsy QB with good athleticism, he lacks experience and often gets caught misreading defences.
82) Phil Jurkovec, Boston College, Senior (6'5, 214) - Above-average college starter with prototypical build back lacks elite traits with both arm talent and athleticism.
Other notable players:
Devin Leary, NC State (6'1, 212)
Spencer Rattler, South Carolina (6'1, 209)
Cameron Ward, Washington State (6'2, 223)
Jaren Hall, BYU (6'1, 205)
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest (6'1, 207)
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina (6'3, 209)
Malik Cunningham, Louisville (6'1, 190)
Jake Haener, Fresno State (6'1, 194)
KJ Jefferson, Arkansas (6'3, 242)
Of the above, there are several personal favorites, none more so however than Kentucky QB Will Levis. A dual-threat, he reminds me a lot of Matthew Stafford regarding arm talent and seems to effortlessly throw darts with ferocity and a tight spiral. He matches that with an athletic profile that belies his 232 lb frame (the heaviest of the above QBs). Whilst he isn't going to be compared to Lamar Jackson any time soon, he has the ability to be a Josh Allen-esque runner. Much of the ways in which he can improve are related to football experience with things like pocket presence, manipulating defenders with his eyes, taking note of receiver leverage and so on and he will likely need a great QB coach once he comes into the league, but his skill should excite everyone. There are some character quirks - especially with food (check out bananas, and mayonnaise with coffee) but it doesn't change who he is on the field.
Who are you looking out for this year? With more than 20 QBs on the senior bowl watchlist, there are plenty of names to keep an eye on.
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