Liz Loza ESPNApril 24, 2023, 7:15 a.m. m, eastern time
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The career path of a potential NFL draft candidate doesn't always coincide with the fan-favorite moment. Often, however, the player's talent eventually shows up, making him a fantasy football darling. This year's classes bring intriguing skill sets and a new optimism to virtual gaming. Below are my top 10 perspectives and where I think they fit the best, and most realistically.
young bryce, QB, Alabama
well named"Gingerbread Man"Through Georgia's defense, Young's pocket mobility is best in class. His ability to feel the rush and stay elusive in space regularly helped him extend games and perform at all levels of the field. Seemingly impossible to falter or stop, Young caught 24 FBS high TD passes when he was under pressure the past two seasons in Bam. He's not fooled by his small frame (5-foot-10, 204 pounds). The 21-year-old is the only quarterback in Bama history to twice record at least 3,000 passes in a season.
Best Game: Carolina Panthers.The Heisman Trophy winner is the favorite (-1,200) for the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He is expected to end up in Carolina under new coach Frank Reich. Althoughjustina herbertmanaged to break into the fantasy top 10 in his maiden campaign, most QB rookies don't break the top 12. It will be even tougher for Young considering the WR Panthers' shallow body. But the future is still bright, and Young deserves attention in the top 15 in Dynasty formats.
Anthony'ego Richardsona, QB, Florida
With speed (4.43) and series scores (135.4) in the 99th percentile, Richardson is an athletic prodigy. Everything about his playstyle screams Avenger. His mobility matches Quicksilver's (6.4 yards per rush in 2022) andthe strength of his arm could make even Thor blush. While his physical tools seem endless, his experience is certainly limited.
Best game: Indianapolis Colts.Richardson will enter the NFL with just 13 college starts. He remains a crude candidate with inconsistent mechanics and some accuracy issues (54% completion rate in 2022). However, the right coach can unlock Richardson's potential greatness. After Jalen Hurts grew up with Shane Steichen, Indianapolis seems like the perfect place for the former alligator.
robinson sesame, RB, Texas
Sia needs to voice her in Robinson's post-sketch publicity video because the guy isUnstoppable. With an impressive combination of size, speed and power, Robinson is a determined racer who refuses to be beaten. He led FBS with 201 forced tackle misses over the past three seasons, 35 more than any other player. But he's not just a downhill grinder. Robinson's game is full of creativity and nuance. His stuttering gait is giddy, his stiff shoulder is violent, and his twisting motion is a thing of beauty. Plus, he's a capable pass receiver who can thrive as a dual-threat RB in today's NFL.
Best game: Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys.don't come to meRashad Centavostans, but Philadelphia would be the site of the old Longhorn fire. Dallas would be another attractive location. Robinson would bring the juice that Ezekiel Elliott has been missing in recent seasons. Releasing Elliott from Star also opens up 40+ red zone tags. Any NFC East placement would give a newcomer an immediate top-eight draw.
Jahmyra Gibbsa, RB, Alabama
Gibbs Serves Majordalvin cookcheer up. A versatile defender with natural hands and incredible speed (4.36), Gibbs is dangerous in space. Over the past two seasons, he has led all FBS defensive yards in receiving yards (914), while also finishing second in receiving yards (980). Despite being on the minor side, he broke or prevented 54 career tackles in his 2022 career.
Best fit:New Orleans Saints.Based on the consensus No. 2 RB in this year's class, Gibbs could develop as a potentialGraciastrade in Los Angeles if the Chargers trade the star. But I'm not trying to manifest it. Instead, I'd like to see Bama return to New Orleans. Given Alvin Kamara's legal troubles and the likelihood of suspension, Gibbs would offer fantasy managers solid RB2 value by partnering withjamaala williams.
Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
After playing for Jim Harbaugh in 2019 and 2020, the SoCal resident decided to return home and transfer to UCLA. He made an immediate impact and became a Bruin fan favorite after notching a dominating 167 rushing yard against rival USC in November 2021.
Best Party: Dallas Cowboys or Cincinnati Bengals.A patient and powerful runner, Charbonnet chisels past defenders, constantly swinging his legs until he finds a crease and bolts into the daylight. He broke or prevented 124 tackles during his time at UCLA (second only to Bijan Robinson during that period). He also has experience as a wide receiver, averaging 3.4 receptions per game in 2022. Charbonnet's skill set would be at its best in Dallas or Cincinnati. If the Bengals let him gojoe mixonCharbonnet could line up for 16-18 touches a week this summer.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, stan Ohio
A hamstring injury limited JSN to just three games (and five holds) in 2022. Despite this, he remains in the top three at this position and is expected to leave the board in the first round. This is mostly due to his elite effort in 2021. Working as the team's third receiving option, Smith-Njigba led the team in receptions (95) and yards (1,606). And he did it by sharing the playing field with former first-round picks.garrett wilsonIChris Olave.
Best party: New England Patriots or Houston Texans.An extremely efficient car (81% ratio), the JSN is a smooth and reliable receiver that uses agility and clear routing to achieve separation. Its measurable features may not jump off the page, but its sharpness and polish would be a welcome addition to any WR body. WITHjakub meyersnow in Las Vegas, JSN would flourish in New England. His strong hands would go a long way to a novice whistleblower, making Houston another interesting landing spot. Either way, Smith-Njigba could have thrown 70 receptions in his first pro season.
zaya flowers, WR, Boston University
In a classy juxtaposition with small audiences, Flowers stands out. And it's not because he's tall. This is due to his versatility. At the beginning of his studies, Flowers carried out 62% of his races through an automaton (2020). However, by 2022, a Florida resident operated 53% of his routes fromapart fromand only 44% in the nest. Flowers is a smart receiver who relies on creative mountain runs and quick legs to excel in space. He leaves BC as the Golden Eagles' all-time leader in receptions (200), yards gained (3,056) and touchdowns (29). Notable for his limited grab radius (29.5-inch arm length) and 24 run attempts, his balance, burst, and vision are invaluable.
Best Game: New York Giants.He would be a nice addition to the WR G-Men stable. WITHsterling shepherdand Wan'Dale Robinson coming out of the ACL, New York could benefit from a dynamic quarterback like Flowers. If he lands with the Giants, Flowers could enter the WR3 conversation, but preseason expectations should be tempered.
jordana addisona, WR, USC
After winning the Biletnikoff Award (and zKenny'ego Pickettawent to the NFL), Addison moved from Pitt to USC. His relationship with Caleb Williams led to immediate production, as Addison met nearly 73% of his goals last season (up nearly 2% from his award-winning 2021 campaign). Considered one of the best trail runners in this year's class, the 21-year-old displays an impressive combination of speed, balance and intelligence. He's a ball-tracking ace who's becoming a huge threat: Addison led the FBS with 14 receptions and 601 rushing receiving yards the past two seasons.
Best game: Minnesota Vikings or Buffalo Bills.While not as big or explosive, Addison's skill set resembles that of a young man.Stefona Diggsa. Ironically, I wish it would end in Minnesota or Buffalo. Once Adam Thielen left for the Carolinas, Addison would immediately make an impact by working backwards.justin jefferson. It would also add a lovely exterior to the current WR Bills body (learning from the player who embodies Addison's Ceiling). Any landing spot would put Addison in the top 40 conversations.
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
All the tools are available to Johnston. However, your constant use of them is not. Still, there's no denying Johnston's rare physical profile and the potential that comes with it. With a scoring streak in the 98th percentile (135.9) and a sack radius in the 89th percentile (10.25), his advantage as an alpha is obvious. On the court, Johnston dominated on the edge and when he was caught. He averaged 17.8 receiving yards (WR23) and racked up 533 YAC (WR11) in 2022.
Best game: Los Angeles Chargers.But Johnston needs to fade from relegations (eight in 2022) and regularly squash contentious situations if he is to thwart TCU's next-tier receiver curse. The Texans and Ravens certainly need the position, but I think Johnston would benefit from learning from an existing veteran. Taking into account age, injury history and contractual situationsTake it to AllenaImike williamsThe Chargers feel Johnston's best chance for long-term success. He'll probably disappear with the 21-year-old in the redesigned leagues, but I'd consider him out of the top five in rookie dynasty formats.
josh down, WR, North Carolina
Somebody call a radiologist, because this man has something like that. The drops may not be big (5-foot-9, 171 pounds) but he sure plays like him. A solid racer who relies on incredible acceleration and above-average straight-line speed, Downs is not your typical slot machine. He's focused and unafraid of contentious situations, as evidenced by his 14 contested receptions (56%, WR10) in 2022. Plus, it didn't matter ifSama Howellaor Drake Maye was throwing the ball, Downs stayed productive. With a career stat line of 202-2,483-22, he left Chapel Hill one of North Carolina's most prolific receivers.
Best Game: Green Bay Packers.He could have been called into action immediately if the Packers had taken him in the second round. WITHAllena LazardaIrandalla cobbaSwitching teams, Green Bay could use a strong hand slot like Downs. There are obvious questions at QB that don't inspire confidence in Downs' fantastic direct action, but the matchup can result in an intriguing number of goals.
Follow Liz on Twitter@LizLoza_FF
Drafting a tight end, offensive lineman or wide receiver in the first round is most likely to yield an average first round player, but teams rarely win Super Bowls by drafting average players.Who has the most accurate NFL mock drafts? ›
Brendan Donahue, the #1 most accurate mock drafter over the past five NFL seasons according to The Huddle Report, gives you his 2023 NFL Mock Draft — making predictions for every team and every pick in the first round.How did the Eagles get the 10th pick? ›
The Philadelphia Eagles acquired the No. 10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft last year in a trade with the New Orleans Saints. The NFC champions now have two first round picks and a chance to continue to build around newly extended quarterback Jalen Hurts.Who will be the number 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft? ›
Bryce Young goes No. 1 overall: The Carolina Panthers grabbed the No. 1 player on PFF's big board with the first overall pick, beginning a new era in Carolina.What is the safest position to draft in the NFL? ›
That's why we're always breaking things down based on how many Pro Bowlers have been drafted at each position. As you can see, tight ends and quarterbacks fare much better here, joining safeties and linebackers at the top of the list. This is probably a more reasonable way to break down draft picks at those positions.What is the hardest position to get drafted in the NFL? ›
Cornerback is the hardest position in football, and it's one of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Corners are some of the smallest men on the field, but they're typically the most athletic. Exceptional speed, quickness, and agility are prerequisites for the position.
The best fantasy football analysts are Matthew Berry, Sean Koerner, and Jared Smola.How accurate is Kiper? ›
Kiper has a five-year average mock draft score of 42, placing him fifth overall. Despite his success with the mock draft, Kiper typically struggles to predict the top 100. He correctly predicted just 77 of this year's top 100 picks, and his five-year average of 77.8 ranks 20th out of 26 analysts.Why do Eagles have 2 first round picks? ›
The Eagles made a trade with the New Orleans Saints before last year's draft that landed the Birds an additional first-rounder in the 2023 NFL Draft. Philadelphia traded the No. 16 and 19 overall picks and a sixth-rounder in exchange for the No.
The Eagles have selected number one overall three times, including Berwanger in 1936, Sam Francis in 1937, and Chuck Bednarik in 1949, second overall five times, and third overall three times. Three eventual Hall of Famers have been selected by the Eagles: Steve Van Buren, Bednarik, and Bob Brown.Why are there only 31 picks? ›
There are 31 picks in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft because the Miami Dolphins were stripped of their top selection for violations of league policies relating to the integrity of the game.Who will be the 4th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft? ›
The Colts entered the 2023 NFL Draft with one overarching goal: Find their quarterback of the future. Mission accomplished. Indianapolis selected Florida's Anthony Richardson fourth overall Thursday night, marking the first time in general manager Chris Ballard's seven-year tenure that he chose a QB in the first round.How many QBs will be drafted in 2023 first round? ›
This year, 14 quarterbacks were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft with nine taken on Day 3. That is well above last year's total of nine quarterbacks selected. Here's a look at all QBs selected in this year's draft.How many QB are in the 2023 NFL Draft? ›
If you miss on your top pick, you have to start all over again. This year at the 2023 NFL Draft, quarterbacks were flying off the board at a historic rate. A whopping 11 quarterbacks were drafted in the first 150 selections of the draft.What percent of first round picks are busts? ›
That said, the numbers are really that great and the bust factor in the first round is tied for the worst overall. Of 317 selected, only 74 have become starters for at least half their careers. The first round success rate is 58% and the second round is almost as good at 49%.What positions get hurt the most in the NFL? ›
- Offensive guard.
- Offensive tackle.
- Running back.
Again, the most mathematically sound/reliable option is the 5th or 6th round, but you could make do with any decision, especially depending on the people you are drafting with.What is the lowest NFL draft salary? ›
The NFL has a rookie wage scale for all drafted players, courtesy of the CBA. The CBA provides for a minimum rookie salary of $750,000 in 2023. Players can make more than that, bust most rookie contracts will include a 2023 salary of $750,000.Has a player ever rejected the draft? ›
Bo Jackson Refused To Sign With the Buccaneers
While Elway was able to leverage a trade, Bo Jackson had to follow through with refusing his first NFL contract. Jackson starred in baseball and football at Auburn University and had been leaning toward pursuing an MLB career as his collegiate run ended.
The players taken in the first and second rounds will definitely be on the opening day roster, barring some unforeseen injury or something. But the players taken in the sixth and seventh rounds may have only a 10% or 15% chance, at least in the first year or two.Who was the best NFL quarterback of all time? ›
There is only one name that can top the list of best quarterbacks of all time and that's Tom Brady. Tom Brady appeared in the top spot across every single list we referenced for the best quarterbacks of all time. Brady has a whopping seven Super Bowl rings and has appeared in the big game a record 10 times.Who was the #1 QB recruit in 2025? ›
247Sports unveiled its initial Top100 for the 2025 class on Wednesday and the No. 1 quarterback is Bryce Underwood.Who is the best qb in the NFL 2023? ›
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes is the standard by which all NFL quarterbacks are now measured.Who is the #1 fantasy QB so far? ›
|1||Patrick Mahomes II||KC|
When it comes to premium mock draft simulators, your best bet is The Draft Network. While they do have free tools, their $9.99/month plan (or $29.99 for the year) gives you access to advanced features like tradeable picks and expert draft portfolios.What is Mel Kiper's mock draft? ›
The NFL has suspended Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and fined him $1.5 million for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton following a six-month investigation stemming from Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit against the league.
The Eagles had seven draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. Most importantly, the Eagles' picks were frontloaded. Four of their seven selections came within the first 66 picks — including two first-rounders — and another just outside the top 100 (105). For a team that just made the Super Bowl, that's as good as it gets.What did Eagles give up to get 13th pick? ›
The Houston Texans received the Eagles' No. 15, 124, 162 and 166 picks in exchange for the No. 13 overall pick.What is the most sacks by Eagles in one game? ›
The Philadelphia Eagles have the most sacks by a team in a game, with 14 sacks versus the Giants on October 26, 1952.What is the Eagles most wins in a row? ›
The longest winning streak of consecutive home games in Philadelphia Eagles history is 13 games, which spanned between the 1947 season and the 1949 season.Did the Eagles trade 62nd pick? ›
65, 188 and 230 overall. The Philadelphia Eagles acquired two late-round picks from the Texans after trading the 62nd pick to Houston for picks 188 and 230.Why was there only 58 draft picks? ›
The draft consisted of 58 picks instead of the typical 60 due to the loss of a second-round pick for both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat for violating the NBA's tampering rules during free agency. The first pick was made by the Orlando Magic, who selected Paolo Banchero from Duke.Who was the shortest number 1 pick? ›
Allen Iverson, The Answer, was drafted with the #1 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and is/was listed at 6'0". He played in the NBA from 1996-2010 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest scoring guards in NBA history.What do 4th round NFL draft picks get paid? ›
The first pick of the fourth round will sign a contract worth approximately $4.72 million and receive a signing bonus of approximately $887,172. The second pick of the round will receive a $4.707 million contract with a $867,484 signing bonus.Who was Mr. Irrelevant 2023? ›
Desjuan Johnson is Mr. Irrelevent in 2023. Johnson is a defensive lineman who played his college ball at Toledo. The 6-2, 285-pounder played five years for the Rockets and was a monster in his final two seasons with the team.What happens to undrafted NFL players? ›
Many players who don't get drafted are still offered opportunities to try out for teams as undrafted free agents. These players attend rookie mini-camps, where they can showcase their skills and potentially earn a spot on a team's roster.
The Titans' track record of making first-round quarterback choices is not the strongest. They've drafted three quarterbacks in the first round since 2000, and all three haven't lived up to expectations: Marcus Mariota in 2015 (No.
128 in 2023 NFL Draft. The Rams are adding another Bulldog to back up their Georgia quarterback. Los Angeles selected quarterback Stetson Bennett in the fourth round with the 128th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft on Saturday.Who has the most 1st round picks NFL 2023? ›
Which Team Has the Most Picks in the 2023 NFL Draft? The Houston Texans and Las Vegas Raiders have 12 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, leading the NFL. Houston has each of its own picks in Rounds 1 through 4, plus the Cleveland Browns' first- and third-round picks from the Deshaun Watson trade last year.Who is the black quarterback in the NFL draft 2023? ›
Quarterback C.J. Stroud (left) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) after being selected second overall by the Houston Texans during the first round of the 2023 NFL draft at Union Station on April 27 in Kansas City, Missouri.What NFL team has the best 2023 Draft picks? ›
- Philadelphia Eagles.
- Indianapolis Colts.
- Houston Texans.
- Seattle Seahawks.
- Chicago Bears.
What is the most important position to draft first in fantasy football? Running backs are easily the most important position to prioritize in fantasy football. There are not enough running backs to go around, so somebody is going to get hosed at this position.What order should you pick in NFL draft? ›
The order of selection is determined by the reverse order of finish in the previous season. Barring any trades between clubs, each round starts with the team that finished with the worst record and ends with the Super Bowl champions.What is the best draft position in a 14 team fantasy football league? ›
With 14 teams in the draft room, they will all be vying for a stud at the most important position in fantasy football: running back. The top-tier options will go early and often given the lack of depth at the position, so a sound strategy is to go with a running back with your first pick.Who should be the #1 pick in fantasy football? ›
Jonathan Taylor looks set to be the No. 1 pick in the majority of 2022 drafts, but that's up for some debate as one of our analysts has Christian McCaffrey ranked as the top overall player heading into the season.
- Cordarrelle Patterson (ADP 76 - RB 27) ...
- Tyler Lockett (95 Overall - WR 95) ...
- Antonio Gibson (ADP 66 - RB 32) ...
- David Montgomery (ADP 35 - RB 19) ...
- Adam Thielen (ADP 72 - WR 32) ...
- Chase Claypool (ADP 112 - WR 46) ...
- Ezekiel Elliott (ADP 28 - RB 15) ...
Ideally, you'd have three star RBs, 8-9 receivers with an excellent shot at 90-plus targets and 2-3 QB, TE and defenses (three where the players are worse, two where they're better.)Should I draft QB first round? ›
Normally, it's not a good strategy, especially this year when there are a lot of good QB's available. An elite RB or WR would be a better pick. There are some circumstances in which a first round QB can be justified. For example, if you are in a league that starts two QB's every week, an early QB pick is almost a must.What pick is Mr irrelevant? ›
The Los Angeles Rams closed out the 2023 NFL Draft by using the No. 259 overall pick to select defensive lineman Desjuan Johnson, otherwise known as the new Mr. Irrelevant.