JACKSONVILLE – They will go early. And some will go really early.
That's the consensus on quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft, with many analysts believing the position could make up the top three – or possibly four – selections. But just how good is this group of quarterbacks? The consensus is that's a very difficult question.
"It's an intriguing quarterback class, but it lacks a generational talent," NFL Media Draft and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks told jaguars.com recently. "There's not a surefire No. 1 quarterback in the draft that everyone knows without question is a franchise quarterback."
That makes this a tricky quarterback class to evaluate, with the top players at the position generally considered:
- Bryce Young, Alabama.
- C.J. Stroud, Ohio State.
- Will Levis, Kentucky.
- Anthony Richardson, Florida.
- Hendon Hooker, Tennessee.
The consensus throughout the pre-draft process has been that Young and Stroud will be top five selections, with most analysts projecting the Carolina Panthers selecting one of the two No. 1 overall. And while none is considered a "can't-miss" prospect on the level of players such as Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars, No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft) or Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals, No. 1 overall in 2020), the position's importance has all five commonly projected in Round 1 – perhaps all in the Top 15.
And some analysts believe the '23 draft could be the first in history with quarterbacks as the top four selections.
"We'll have three – possibly four – going very, very high, and all four should have a chance to be great if things fall right," ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. "There are concerns for everyone but they all four will go very high."
Said NFL Network Analyst Daniel Jeremiah, "There's five solid guys. I think they all have questions. They all have flaws. There's no perfect prospect, but I think if you draft those guys, you are expecting those guys are going to be starting quarterbacks. If you get a draft that ends up with five starting quarterbacks, that's a pretty good group and pretty good depth."
While Young is undersized, Brooks said he is "special in terms of his ability to lead an offense." Stroud is considered more prototypical than Young, with Brooks calling him a "natural thrower who can spin it." Analysts have less consensus about Hooker, Levis and Richardson, with Jeremiah saying some analysts have Richardson as the No. 2 quarterback behind Young.
"With Richardson, you don't have a ceiling," Jeremiah said, with Kiper saying both Levitz and Richardson have a "boom-or-bust" element as prospects."
"They have tremendous athleticism, but they have struggles with accuracy and consistency as throwers," Brooks said.
The class also features experienced players deeper in the draft such as Jake Haener of Fresno State and Tanner McKee of Stanford.
"They could have an opportunity to have success because they know how to play the game if they're put in the right situation," Brooks said.
Jeremiah: "I would say there's a chance to be five [starters from the class] and they all have concerns. It's not that year where you say, 'OK, this is that one.' We don't have that. They all have warts and flaws, but I think there's five potential solid starters in this group. I think it's however they fit you, what plan you have in place, and how you want to use them."
HANDICAPPING THE JAGUARS
This figures to be a position of low interest for the Jaguars in this draft, certainly on Days 1 and 2 – and perhaps throughout all seven rounds. Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, solidified himself as the franchise quarterback in the second half of last season. The question now isn't whether Lawrence will be the team's starter for the foreseeable future as much as how long the team will wait following the 2023 season to sign him to a long-term contract. The Jaguars this offseason re-signed veteran backup C.J. Beathard to a reported two-year extension after signing him as an unrestricted free agent in the '21 offseason. They also this offseason signed former CFL quarterback Nathan Rourke to a reported three-year contract.
- John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer
CHANCE JAGUARS TAKE A QUARTERBACK IN ROUND 1
QBs ON THE JAGUARS ROSTER
- Trevor Lawrence
- C.J. Beathard
- Nathan Rourke
BUCKY BROOKS' TOP 5 2023 QUARTERBACKS
- C.J. Stroud, sophomore, Ohio State
- Bryce Young, junior, Alabama
- Hendon Hooker, senior, Tennessee
- Anthony Richardson, sophomore, Florida
- Will Levis, senior, Kentucky
POSSIBLE FIRST-ROUND QUARTERBACKS
Get familiar with the top projections for the Jaguars' 1st pick at no. 24 in the 2023 NFL Draft.