2023 NFL Draft Big Board: C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, DLine Lead Top 50

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) reacts after being beat by the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) reacts after being beat by the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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The first edition of this 2023 NFL Draft Big Board features tons of defensive line talent, and two stud quarterbacks near the top.

Ah, the first full weekend of college football. There’s not much like it. The return of packed, electric stadiums and traditions, along with plenty 2023 NFL Draft prospects starting their final season of collegiate ball. Get ready for another wild draft season and process full of risers, fallers, and phenomenal stories. It all begins.

There isn’t a better way to really kick things off than with a 2023 NFL Draft Big Board, the first by this writer in this cycle (and the first of many, monthly updates). Unlike the 2022 draft, there are prospects with top 10 grades and others with the potential to reach that coveted ceiling. The quarterback class is better this go around, and the defensive line group is just as good, if not better. Another corner group is sure to dazzle, and a fun race for WR1 is on.

Let’s get into the initial top 50 prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft!

2023 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 50 Features C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Loaded Defensive Line Group

1. Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Was it even a question? Will Anderson is the best player in the 2023 NFL Draft, and probably the best player in college football. His absurd 17-sack, 31.5 tackle for loss season in 2021 probably should’ve yielded a Heisman. He wins off the edge with power and pop, speed, and technically refined hand usage. Anderson is also a phenomenal run defender, stacking and shedding with ease and shooting gaps effectively.

2. Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

Yes, Jalen Carter is even better than his two teammates on the interior who were first round picks a few months ago. Carter has the powerful hands to shock offensive linemen and can drive linemen back into the lap of the quarterback. He’s stout and can shed quickly against the run, but possesses a unique amount of change of direction skills, with the explosiveness to close in a hurry.

3. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

A precise passer with great processing skills, C.J. Stroud shook off a rocky first start to a phenomenal 2021 campaign.  Stroud’s accuracy and touch to all levels is phenomenal, and he maneuvers the pocket like an NFL veteran. He’s a risk averse passer, but can challenge tight windows with good zip and ball placement. Stroud can real the full field in a blink and work progressions efficiently. Seeing more out of structure accuracy would elevate him further.

4. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

An artist with the improvisation skills of Van Gogh, Bryce Young has all the goods to be a franchise quarterback and go in the top five of the 2023 NFL Draft. He operates the quick game with great processing skills, and possesses all the arm strength needed for the next level. Young can be a point guard with his creative distribution skills, and has a deep ball the equivalent of a three point shooter. He can make wild things happen out of structure and has great poise with the lights and pressure on.

5. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

As elite a running back prospect as they come, Bijan Robinson is well worth a first round selection. He doesn’t have the elite explosiveness and straight line speed, but that’s the only weakness. He has great vision and heightened acuity to anticipate holes opening between the tackles. Robinson is uber-elusive in space, with creative footwork and excellent contact balance. He has natural hands as a receiver and is someone who looks comfortable running routes.

6. Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

Bryan Bresee has dealt with some injury issues, but he’s a force when on the field. He has impressive power and length to disengage from blockers, and can sit and leverage with ease in gaps. His functional athleticism makes for a dangerous pass rusher on the interior as well. A full year should get him in the elite tier.

7. Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame

Isaiah Foskey might have the most untapped potential of anyone in the 2023 NFL Draft. His athleticism is so spectacular that Notre Dame has him not just spot drop, but turn and run with tight ends. He’s gotten reps at inside linebacker as well. When he’s rushing, he has devastating explosiveness and a wicked go-to move to swipe the hands and flatten his route to the quarterback. He spills to take on the crack blocks in the run game as well. When he unlocks the full arsenal as a rusher, look out.

8. Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

Kayshon Boutte has yet to put a spectacular season on the stat sheet, but no matter. He has the release game to separate against press, and is efficient at the top of his routes to unlock the full route tree. His explosiveness is tough to contain, both as a deep threat and after the catch. Boutte attacks the catch point aggressively and is so nimble to stay controlled and balanced through the catch point and on the sidelines.

9. Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

The name might lead some to believe his stock is getting elevated because of his brother, but Noah Sewell is legit. He offers impressive power to get through blocks, but is also creative and quick to get around blocks and make plays. He flows well to the run, and is impressive closing downhill. He gets in passing lanes as well. Clean up some missed tackles, and he’s a top 10 lock.

10. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Jaxon Smith-Njigba dominated from the slot in a loaded Ohio State offense, crossing the 1,600 yard mark as a true sophomore while putting on a Rose Bowl show no one will soon forget. Smith-Njigba is a tactician as a route runner, from his deceptive release package to his top-of-route creativity. He stems at defenders to keep the two-way go alive, and has great field vision after the catch, while also setting himself up well to pick up extra yardage with his footwork. He doesn’t have top-end speed (and let’s see some perimeter reps), but his game translates to the NFL.