Justin Melo’s Big Board 3.0: Pre-Combine Top 100

The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine will mark its arrival next week. It’s the final pre-draft event with the all-star circuit (Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Bowl) now in the past. I’ve spent various months scouting the prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stacking a big board is a fluid exercise. The combine will reveal additional information that is useful to the scouting process.

I’m expanding to present my Top 100. More movement will arrive post-combine and I’ll release a new iteration then. Several prospects will confirm my hopes or fears in Indianapolis. I’ll answer questions at @JustinM_NFL. I’ve included brief explanations on surprise inclusions. I’m thoroughly enjoying the scouting process.

1. Will Anderson Jr. | EDGE | Alabama

2. Jalen Carter | DT | Georgia

3. Bijan Robinson | RB | Texas

4. Bryce Young | QB | Alabama

Bryce Young is my QB1 despite the size concerns. I’m not convinced he’ll be the first quarterback drafted, but I believe he’s the most overall impressive quarterback in this class. Young isn’t a transcendent talent like Trevor Lawrence was, but he possesses franchise quarterback capabilities.

5. Myles Murphy | EDGE | Clemson

6. C.J. Stroud | QB | Ohio State

7. Michael Mayer | TE | Notre Dame

8. Christian Gonzalez | CB | Oregon

9. Peter Skoronski | OL | Northwestern

10. Tyree Wilson | EDGE | Texas Tech

11. Paris Johnson Jr. | OT | Ohio State

The Titans should possess plenty of interest in drafting Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. after officially releasing Taylor Lewan. Johnson is coincidentally my 11th-ranked prospect. Johnson would be a plug-and-play left tackle in Tennessee.

12. Joey Porter Jr. | CB | Penn State

13. Broderick Jones | OT | Georgia

14. Will Levis | QB | Kentucky

15. Brian Branch | S | Alabama

16. Bryan Bresee | DT | Clemson

17. Devon Witherspoon | CB | Illinois

I wish Witherspoon competed in Mobile. I’ve seen him as high as No. 6 overall in recent mock drafts. I have questions about whether or not Witherspoon could play the boundary on a full-time basis in the NFL. When I discussed playing the nickel position with Witherspoon a few months ago, he admitted that may be a legitimate possibility. Witherspoon’s 2022 tape is extremely clean. He’s a sticky, competitive man-coverage cornerback.

18. Jaxon Smith-Njigba | WR | Ohio State

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is my WR1 despite recording four receptions in three appearances throughout the 2022 campaign. People are going to overcomplicate Smith-Njigba’s evaluation. He was the clear-cut go-to receiver on a team with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, both of which already look like excellent NFL receivers.

19. Quentin Johnston | WR | TCU

20. Dawand Jones | OT | Ohio State

Dawand Jones confirmed my evaluation at the Senior Bowl. He’s a massive human being that’s an easy mover at right tackle. Jones was a surprise inclusion (No. 20 overall) on my initial Big Board, and I feel good about that decision. Jones’ types are extremely rare.

21. Jordan Addison | WR | USC

22. Cam Smith | CB | South Carolina

23. Jahmyr Gibbs | RB | Alabama

24. Lukas Van Ness | DL | Iowa

Lukas Van Ness is an excellent football player. He’s tough, nasty and physical. Van Ness carries some inside-outside versatility. I don’t think he’s a double-digit sack artist on an annual basis, but he’ll be a consistent performer that plays with terrific effort.

25. Anthony Richardson | QB | Florida

26. Deonte Banks | CB | Maryland

Banks is a physical, 6-foot-1, 200 pound cornerback with terrific reactionary athleticism for a corner of his size and stature. Banks is a sticky press-man cornerback that recorded 8 pass breakups in 2022. Banks is a borderline first-round prospect.

27. Clark Phillips III | CB | Utah

28. Josh Downs | WR | North Carolina

Josh Downs plays bigger than his size indicates (5-foot-11, 171 pounds). There will be minor size limitations, but Downs is a dynamic playmaker with high-level route-running abilities. Downs will create advantageous matchups for an NFL offense. Downs possesses eye-popping capabilities.

29. Luke Musgrave | TE | Oregon State

Luke Musgrave was excellent throughout his participation at the Senior Bowl. Musgrave is a highly athletic movable chess-piece. Musgrave may have confirmed his first-round status in Mobile.

30. Kelee Ringo | CB | Georgia

31. Jalin Hyatt | WR | Tennessee

32. Dalton Kincaid | TE | Utah

33. Anton Harrison | OT | Oklahoma

34. Cody Mauch | OG | North Dakota State

Cody Mauch was a massive winner at the Senior Bowl. His arm measurements confirmed he’ll be kicking inside from offensive tackle at the next level. But Mauch showcased excellent position versatility, playing both center and guard in Mobile. Mauch may be a late first-round pick.

35. Darnell Washington | TE | Georgia

36. John Michael Schmitz | C | Minnesota

37. Keion White | DL | Georgia Tech

I witnessed everything I needed from Keion White at the Senior Bowl. White confirmed my initial evaluation. Prospects of White’s size and stature aren’t supposed to be such outstanding movers.

38. Rashee Rice | WR | SMU

39. Nolan Smith | EDGE | Georgia

40. Christopher Smith | S | Georgia

Chris Smith is one of my favorite defensive back prospects. He’s a multi-year captain for the back-to-back National Championship Georgia Bulldogs. Smith is a matchup safety that can wear multiple hats for a pro defense. Smith has one of the highest football I.Q.’s of any prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft.

41. Jordan Battle | S | Alabama

42. Derick Hall | EDGE | Auburn

43. Kayshon Boutte | WR | LSU

44. Felix Anudike-Uzomah | EDGE | Kansas State

45. Drew Sanders | LB | Arkansas

46. Emmanuel Forbes | CB | Mississippi State

47. Tucker Kraft | TE | South Dakota State

48. Kyu Blu Kelly | CB | Stanford

49. Will McDonald IV | EDGE | Iowa State

Will McDonald possesses some freaky measurables. His sack production dipped in 2022 after Iowa State asked him to reduce inside with more frequency. McDonald was still productive, and his 2021 tape reveals a prospect that could make a full-time living at EDGE.

50. Julius Brents | CB | Kansas State

Julius Brents was a pre-Senior Bowl favorite of mine who barely missed out on my initial Top 50 reveal. Brents was excellent in Mobile, showcasing the same outstanding length, athleticism and ball skills that captured my attention on tape. Brents continues to rise.

51. Matthew Bergeron | OT | Syracuse

52. Keeanu Benton | DT | Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton was another Pre-Senior-Bowl favorite of mine that left me smiling. Benton is a high-level run stopper that showcased some necessary pass-rushing juice in Mobile. Benton may be a top-64 pick.

53. O’Cyrus Torrence | OG | Florida

I’m buying stocks back into O’Cyrus Torrence for now. I was worried Torrence possessed some athletic concerns and lacked scheme versatility as a fit for power/gap offenses only. Torrence spent his week in Mobile shutting down opposing pass rushers of all shapes and sizes. I still want to witness Torrence test in Indianapolis, but he had a great Senior Bowl that addressed my concerns.

54. Zay Flowers | WR | Boston College

55. Joe Tippmann | C | Wisconsin

The gap between Tippman and John Michael Schmitz isn’t particularly large for me. I view Tippmann as a plug-and-play starting center. I’m anxious to see him go through positional drills at the NFL Scouting Combine.

56. Darnell Wright | OT | Tennessee

57. Dylan Horton | EDGE | TCU

58. Mazi Smith | DT | Michigan

59. B.J. Ojulari | EDGE | LSU

60. Cedric Tillman | WR | Tennessee

61. Trenton Simpson | LB | Clemson

62. Xavier Hutchinson | WR | Iowa State

63. Jaelyn Duncan | OT | Maryland

64. Steve Avila | OG | TCU

Steve Avila had an excellent Senior Bowl. Some felt he lacked scheme versatility as a power/gap-only linemen, but Avila showcased the foot speed and strength necessary to prove himself as a universal prospect. The Titans have shown interest in Avila throughout the process.

65. Isaiah Foskey | EDGE | Notre Dame

66. Tyler Scott | WR | Cincinnati

67. Siaka Ika | NT | Baylor

68. Sydney Brown | S | Illinois

69. Marvin Mims | WR | Oklahoma

70. Jammie Robinson | S | FSU

71. Calijah Kancey | DT | Pittsburgh

I’ve seen Calijah Kancey as a first-round prospect for some. His size deficiencies (approximately 6-0, 280 pounds) give me some pause. There’s no denying Kancey’s initial quickness and explosiveness as a gap penetrator, but a lack of desired size and arm length may cap his potential.

72. Jack Campbell | LB | Iowa

73. Tuli Tuipulotu | DL | USC

74. Antonio Johnson | S | Texas A&M

75. Mike Morris | DL | Michigan

76. Zach Charbonnet | RB | UCLA

77. Payne Durham | TE | Purdue

78. Nick Saldiveri | OT | Old Dominion

79. Sam LaPorta | TE | Iowa

Sam LaPorta is a versatile tight end that can line up at multiple positions. He’s an excellent blocker and reliable pass-catcher. LaPorta played in Iowa’s low-volume passing attack, which leaves room for growth as a receiver at the next level.

80. Gervon Dexter Sr. | DT | Florida

81. Tyrique Stevenson | CB | Miami

82. Henry To’o To’o | LB | Alabama

83. D.J. Turner | CB | Michigan

84. Byron Young | EDGE | Tennessee

85. Jayden Reed | WR | Michigan State

86. Isaiah McGuire | EDGE | Missouri

87. Mekhi Blackmon | CB | USC

88. Grant DuBose | WR | Charlotte

I’m higher than most on Charlotte’s Grant DuBose. DuBose could have been more consistent at the Senior Bowl, but the Charlotte standout is electrifying on tape. He recorded 1,700-plus yards and 15 touchdowns across the previous two campaigns, including a 1-112-1 line against Middle Tennessee State in 2022 and 4-118-2 against Duke in 2021.

89. Kenny McIntosh | RB | Georgia

90. Luke Wypler | C | Ohio State

91. Alex Austin | CB | Oregon State

92. Nick Broeker | OG | Ole Miss

Nick Broeker is a versatile offensive line prospect. He’s played some tackle and guard. Broeker is an excellent fit for Tennessee’s zone-based offense.

93. Garrett Williams | CB | Syracuse

94. Andrew Vorhees | OG | USC

95. Zach Harrison | EDGE | Ohio State

96. Emil Ekiyor Jr. | IOL | Alabama

97. Tyjae Spears | RB | Tulane

98. Adetomiwa Adebawore | DL | Northwestern

99. Roschon Johnson | RB | Texas

100. Tank Bigsby | RB | Auburn

Author: Justin MeloSenior Writer, Interviewer and Podcaster for Broadway Sports covering the Tennessee Titans and NFL draft. For more than five years, Justin Melo has professionally covered all things NFL draft and Titans for The Draft Network, SB Nation and USA Today. Best known for his Interview Series with NFL draft prospects, Justin has interviewed more than 500 NFL players. Co-host of the Music City Audible podcast alongside Justin Graver (@titansfilmroom).

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