Here are the takeaways:
For Reid, landing the right prospects can feel like a dart throw for teams. Many teams final boards will only list the players they are interested in drafting at different areas of the draft. Players who are not “fits” to play in the offensive or defensive scheme will not be on the main board. Also, players who have been flagged for medical or character reasons will be removed. All told, the typical main board will change wildly through the days. According to Reid, everything starts with Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. and Georgia’s Jalen Carter.
Although there aren’t as many top-tier exceptional players in the 2023 class as there have been in prior years, teams wishing to add depth to their squads can still choose from a wide range of excellent players in crucial positions. The position groupings at running back, tight end, offensive tackle, edge rusher, and cornerback in this class of 2023 are the strongest. Seven tight ends might be selected in the first three rounds, and cornerbacks are anticipated to rocket off the boards from early on Day 1 through the last picks on Day 3. Offensive tackle is the position that scouts are most excited about. Although there may be as many as six picks in the first round, comparable to the 2020 draft, it is undoubtedly top-heavy.
Reid’s Top 15 Prospects
1. Will Anderson Jr., OLB, Alabama
2. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
3. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
4. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
5. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
6. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
7. Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
8. Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
9. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
10. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
11. Nolan Smith, OLB, Georgia
12. Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
13. Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
14. Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
15. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
The draft comes down to an art, countless prospects hoping to make their NFL dreams come true. Reid told Sportscene that the war room’s big board balances those dreams. According to Reid, each board holds anywhere from 125 to 175 players. With a minimum of 260 picks in each draft, variables like schematics and character backgrounds land prospects on each big board. Teams must then roll with the punches of the draft, taking into account needs, wants and the team’s philosophy under the pressures of Draft Day. According to Reid, it all comes down to the teams. While some teams don’t really value the draft, trading picks for veterans, others are at the foundational stages of chasing their championship dreams.
Reid’s love for the hometown favorite Richardson started before his breakout season under Billy Napier. A third-quarter act at LSU in 2021 resulting in 167 yards and three touchdowns, sold Reid on the physically-gifted promise that Richardson represented. Against a quarterback pool with the likes of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Will Levis, it all comes down to Richardson’s potential against the draft’s more experienced quarterbacks.
In college, Richardson attempted 393 passes. He only completed 523 passes in high school due to an injury-shortened senior season, making his 916 passing attempts one of the fewest for a first-round talent throughout both high school and college. The only person with fewer is Trey Lance, who has 643 attempts to pass in both high school and college. Young, in contrast, attempted 949 passes in college alone. His tenure at Mater Dei and Cathedral High School are also included, giving him a total of 2,260 attempts to pass.
Even late starters like C.J. Stroud (1,584) and Will Levis (1,456) have more passing attempts overall than Richardson, and a large portion of those attempts came in their last two years of college football, which is when evaluators care the most about it.
And this is how Anthony Richardson closed his pro day throwing session. He’ll join us shortly on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/DVQVFzYQkg
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 30, 2023
But as Reid told Sportscene, it all comes down to the teams and the hundreds of variables that mark Draft Day on every fan’s calendar.