The 2023 Senior Bowl will announce its arrival next week. I’ve spent various months scouting the prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stacking a big board is a fluid exercise. I’ve reached a point where I feel comfortable presenting my initial Top 50 Big Board to our readers. The picture isn’t complete. I’ll continue scouting hundreds of prospects. This board will eventually expand to feature at least 150 prospects. The Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine will reveal additional information that is useful to the scouting process.
I present my Top 50. 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. Michael Mayer | TE | Notre Dame
7. C.J. Stroud | QB | Ohio State
8. Christian Gonzalez | CB | Oregon
9. Peter Skoronski | OL | Northwestern
10. Tyree Wilson | EDGE | Texas Tech
11. Paris Johnson Jr. | OT | Ohio State
12. Joey Porter Jr. | CB | Penn State
13. Broderick Jones | OT | Georgia
14. Will Levis | QB | Kentucky
15. Bryan Bresee | DT | Clemson
16. Brian Branch | S | Alabama
17. 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.
18. Cam Smith | CB | South Carolina
19. Jordan Addison | WR | USC
20. Dawand Jones | OT | Ohio State
I’m probably higher on Dawand Jones than most. Jones may not be a first-round selection. I believe he should be. Jones is a 350-pound easy mover that projects as an immediate starting tight tackle. Those types are extremely rare.
21. Quentin Johnston | WR | TCU
22. Devon Witherspoon | CB | Illinois
I have questions whether or not Devon 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.
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. Clark Phillips III | CB | Utah
27. Rashee Rice | WR | SMU
28. Kelee Ringo | CB | Georgia
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. Jalin Hyatt | WR | Tennessee
32. Darnell Washington | TE | Georgia
33. Derick Hall | EDGE | Auburn
34. Chris 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.
35. Luke Musgrave | TE | Oregon State
The Luke Musgrave buzz is real. Musgrave is a highly athletic 6-foot-6, 250 pound locomotive running up the seam. Mobile will provide Musgrave with a terrific environment to display his game-changing skill set.
36. Nolan Smith | EDGE | Georgia
37. Anton Harrison | OT | Oklahoma
38. Dalton Kincaid | TE | Utah
39. Jordan Battle | S | Alabama
40. Tuli Tuipulotu | DL | USC
41. Kayshon Boutte | WR | LSU
42. Trenton Simpson | LB | Clemson
43. Felix Anudike-Uzomah | EDGE | Kansas State
44. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson | CB | TCU
45. Cody Mauch | OG | North Dakota State
Cody Mauch was a dominant offensive tackle at North Dakota State. Mauch may play guard at the next level. Mauch can confirm his top-64 status with a strong showing in Mobile.
46. Keion White | DL | Georgia Tech
I loved watching Keion White at Georgia Tech. White played an outstanding game against Georgia and Broderick Jones. White is an incredibly easy mover for a man of his size (6-foot-4, 275-plus pounds). White has exciting inside-outside versatility.
47. Drew Sanders | LB | Arkansas
48. Emmanuel Forbes | CB | Mississippi State
49. Tucker Kraft | TE | South Dakota State
50. 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.