There are a million mock drafts out there. Hundreds of analysts argue who is a better fit at each and every team in the NFL. But at the end of the day, good football players are good football players. What are the rankings of this new class of players, regardless of position? While NFL teams have their big boards on draft night, here is a 2023 rookie big board for fans to have for the first round.
2023 Rookie Big Board
Blue Chip Players
1. Will Anderson Jr. – EDGE
The best pass rusher on one of the best defenses in America. Anderson Jr. is an immediate upgrade for any team in the league on the edge.
2. Bijan Robinson – Running Back
Robinson is a force with the ball in his hands, fluid in space and can catch. He is a sure thing, but unfortunately at one of the least valued positions in the NFL today.
3. Jalen Carter – Interior Defensive Line
It has been a wild off-season for Carter, but his on the field tape is absurd. His running mate Jordan Davis went 13 last year, and Carter is the better prospect.
4. Christian Gonzalez – Corner
Prototypical size, unreal athleticism and three years starting in the NCAA. Gonzalez has all of the tools needed to chase playmakers in the NFL.
5. Devon Witherspoon – Corner
It’s splitting hairs at this point, but there are two exceptional corners in this draft, and honestly five or six that could go in the first round.
6. Peter Skoronski – Tackle
Whether NFL teams view him as a tackle or a guard, Skoronski is the best offensive lineman in this draft. The last blue chip prospect on this 2023 rookie big board.
First Round Talent
7. O’Cyrus Torrence – Guard
How high in the draft is a really solid guard going to go? The position is towards the bottom of team’s priorities, but Torrence is a plug and play pro bowl caliber guard.
8. Anthony Richardson – Quarterback
The argument for tools versus college production will continue forever. But Richardson is more of a polished passer than people think and will transform an offense.
9. C.J. Stroud – Quarterback
Stroud should go number one if the Carolina Panthers are risk-averse. No size concerns, impressive college production and ideal arm strength for the next level.
10. Paris Johnson Jr. – Tackle
There’s not much to say about Johnson other than he’s just good at football. Positional value aside, Johnson is above average at both run and pass blocking, and has polished footwork to deal with NFL level pass rushers.
11. Darnell Washington – Tight End
There are approximately eight billion people on the planet. Most people that possess Washington’s size and side-to-side agility play basketball and are not also the best run-blocking tight end in the draft. Washington is a unicorn.
12. Jaxon Smith-Njigba – Wide Receiver
The best wide receiver in a room filled with first-round wide receiver prospects. Smith-Njigba dominates all levels of his routes.
13. Brian Branch – Safety
Branch can play safety, slot corner, and other positions that are valuable to the NFL but don’t make a lot of money. There will be a green dot on Branch’s helmet before long.
14. Zach Charbonnet – Running Back
Charbonnet came in at number two on Last Word on Sports running back rankings, and it is well earned. At his core, he is basically a supercharged James Conner. He probably won’t go in the first round because teams don’t like running backs.
15. Bryce Young – Quarterback
The noise is that Bryce Young is going to go first overall in the draft, but he has serious size concerns, and he would rather scramble than run an offense. Still good at football, just with a hint of concern on team’s 2023 rookie big board.
16. Michael Mayer – Tight End
The most complete tight end prospect, just lacking elite traits. He is somewhere between Jason Witten and Heath Miller, which is a good place to be.
17. Tyree Wilson – EDGE
A long defender with a bit of a tweener profile, Wilson will shoot up in the draft due to positional scarcity but is comfortably a first-round prospect.
18. Joey Porter Jr. – Corner
Porter Jr. has a freaky wingspan and can match up against the biggest and baddest receivers in the league.
Should Be First Rounders, But Will Go Way Too Early or Way Too Late
19. Nolan Smith – EDGE / Middle Linebacker
Do we know what position Smith will play at the next level? No. Does it matter? Also no. He’s a good football player, and a coach will love having him.
20. Dawand Jones – Tackle
This is going to get a lot of flak, but Jones is a solid right tackle and gave up zero sacks in 2022. You can’t teach size and he definitely ate his vegetables.
21. Darnell Wright – Tackle
If teams don’t want the huge guy at 20, they can take the quick guy here. He had one game of very good tape against Alabama, but then two years of meh tape against everyone else.
22. Broderick Jones – Tackle
This might be a cop out by putting these three together. The moral of the story is these top five tackles are all solid and should go in the first round, especially given the position they play.
23. Jahmyr Gibbs – Running Back
Gibbs is the best pass-catching running back in this class, and in a class with weaker wide receivers maybe they can shift their 2023 rookie big board to Gibbs.
24. Calijah Kancey – Interior Defensive Line
The Aaron Donald comparisons are lofty, but Kancey is a quick pass rusher from the inside. He profiles better as a three technique in a 4-3 but has an uncanny ability to get past guards.
25. Quentin Johnston – Wide Receiver
PFF’s number one wide receiver, Johnston lets the ball into his body too often to be that high on this board. But he is a solid prospect and could go in the first.
26. Dalton Kincaid – Tight End
Kincaid’s closest NFL comp? Travis Kelce. Probably not going to reach those heights, but he is a solid pass catcher and a mismatch for linebackers.
27. Hendon Hooker – Quarterback
Hooker should be higher on 2023 rookie big boards. He is often in the 50-60 range, but he is responsible with the ball and has rushing ability. If he gets a shot, we could be looking at him as the steal of the draft. *Note* Hooker is likely the fifth quarterback off the board next week.
Names to Watch
28. Lukas Van Ness – EDGE
There’s a lot of projection for Van Ness. He’s young and can either be a fancy EDGE player or pack on 20 pounds and be a really solid five technique for a 3-4 defense.
29. John Michael Schmitz – Center
The best center in the draft, and an anchor for an offensive line. He won’t be the pick that makes fans clamor, but is a welcome addition to most teams in the league.
30. Will Levis – Quarterback
Levis is the personification of a howitzer cannon, but has found a way to give the ball to defenders frequently. 2021 Levis is a top ten prospect, 2022 Levis is an enigma. Pick your poison with Levis.
31. Deonte Banks – Corner
This corner class is deep. Banks is a supreme athlete who is still putting together the smaller details of playing corner, but has the potential to be the best in this class.
32. Bryan Bresee – Interior Defensive Lineman
Bresee was highly recruited coming out of high school, and battled injuries in college. If he hits his ceiling, he is a problem for opposing offensive lines.
33. Jack Campbell – Inside Linebacker
Campbell was known as a solid contributor at the college level who might not have the athleticism for the next level. Then he posted combine numbers that rival some of the running backs and wide receivers. Stud.
34. Zay Flowers – Wide Receiver
The further and further into the draft process we get, the higher and higher up the board Flowers goes. He played with some abysmal quarterbacks at Boston College, so he never got to show off his true skill.
35. Cody Mauch – Guard
While he played Tackle in college, Mauch probably profiles more as a guard at the next level. His toothless smile will be a fan favorite in no time, and his nasty run blocking is probably where all his teeth went.
36. Myles Murphy – EDGE
Murphy is almost a lock to go in the first round due to his college pedigree and position he plays. But he is a better run stuffer than pass rusher, and where does the NFL value that skill set?
37. Jordan Addison – Wide Receiver
NFL scouts really just wish that Jordan Addison would eat a cheeseburger or two. His route running and body control are awesome, but he is bumped off of routes too easily.
38. Tank Bigsby – Running Back
It will be interesting to see how the NFL responds with this class being weaker at premium positions like wide receiver and EDGE, but loaded at running back. Bigsby can do it all and has produced from the moment he stepped on the field.
39. Jalin Hyatt – Wide Receiver
Hyatt’s strengths all compliment each other well. He has blazing speed, tracks the ball in the air well, and his best routes are his deep ones. Fans will see plenty of Hyatt on NFL Red Zone this year if they fork up the money for it.
40. Mazi Smith – Interior Defensive Lineman
The things Smith can do are not normal for a nose guard. He is a true zero or one technique, with the athleticism to stay in even in passing situations.