No. 23: Raheim Sanders, RB, Arkansas
The running back position is at an interesting point. Stars are struggling to secure or finish their second NFL contract, often being cut before the deal comes to an end. That brings an increased importance to nailing picks at the NFL Draft. After all, rookie contracts are some of the best bargains in the league, especially for ball carriers.
Raheim “Rocket” Sanders can’t do much about the way teams value the position, but he is the next in line to be a premier player at the NFL level. Sanders is as physical as he is explosive, thanks to a 6-foot-2, 227-pound frame. He is susceptible to running upright at times, but the Razorback star should be a durable bell-cow on Sundays.
No. 24: Trey Benson, RB, Florida State
Trey Benson is right on Sanders’ heels for the RB1 mantle. The Seminole running back excels at snatching the ankles of oncoming tacklers, evidenced by a whopping 79 missed tackles forced. Similar to Sanders, Benson is built to last with his sturdy 221-pound foundation. If he proves capable of blocking on third downs, he has the pass-catching potential to be an every-down threat.
No. 25: Leonard Taylor, DL, Miami
Few can match the physical prowess of Leonard Taylor at defensive tackle. He is 6-foot-3 and weighs 305 pounds and is a terror from the interior. He has assassin-level hands, exhibiting teach-tape hand usage when engaged with his assignment. Taylor never takes a play off, and his infectious energy seeps into the rest of the roster.
The gifted defender can show better instincts in the run game, but he has the entire 2023 season to improve this area. Without a consensus No. 1 defensive tackle in the class, keep an eye on Taylor as the 2024 NFL Draft approaches.
Cam Ward Is A Legit Sleeper In 2024 NFL Draft
No. 26: Cam Ward, QB, Washington State
This is where the cluster begins for the QB3 title. Admittedly, the leader in the clubhouse on my big board comes with a massive projection involved. Ward is an uber-talented passer with an extensive starting history at Incarnate Word and Washington State.
Still, he has a long way to go mechanically and from a decision-making standpoint. The young signal-caller has shown steady improvement each season, giving evidence that he is capable of hitting the next level. The 2023 campaign will tell us all we need to know — one way or another.
No. 27: Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas
Piggybacking off that thought, Longhorn quarterback Quinn Ewers checks in right behind Ward in the QB3 race. He has just as much arm talent as anyone in the class, but too often, his lower half is a mess fundamentally. Like Ward, Ewers showed progress throughout the 2023 season; now it is time to smooth out the rough edges.
No. 28: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
Continuing the momentum in the Lone Star State, Xavier Worthy is a spectacular deep ball threat. He tracks the ball well while working downfield and displays exceptional concentration in the midst of tight coverage. However, it is the layups that bring concern for me — and his 163-pound frame.
Injuries have been an issue; a healthy slate would ease the frame concerns some. More consistency and some added weight, paired with his proficiency downfield and game-breaking speed, could be a recipe for success for Worthy.