Jalen Carter

2023 NFL Draft: Best players available at every position

Home » NFL » 2023 NFL Draft: Best players available at every position

Rather than focus solely on the best overall players in this year’s draft class, we thought it’d be pertinent to look at the 2023 NFL Draft best players available at each position.

Perhaps more than any other sport, NFL teams tend to draft players based on their need at a certain position. That makes the position rankings for the 2023 NFL Draft class important in projecting what players will be selected, where they will be selected, and how teams can best address their needs.

2023 NFL Draft best players available at each position

The lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft has largely been focused on rumors involving the Bears trading the first overall pick and producing where this class will rank among the greatest draft classes of the 21st century.

But to take a deep dive into the upcoming draft, we need to take a closer look at the best NFL Draft prospects by position for 2023. Of course, there is some room for debate when it comes to the position rankings for the 2023 NFL Draft class. But this is how we view the 2023 NFL Draft best players available at each position.

Quarterback – Bryce Young

Heading into the draft, Alabama’s Bryce Young appears to be the favorite to be the first quarterback selected and perhaps the first overall pick. There are widespread rumors that several teams could be looking to trade with the Bears for the top pick in order to get Young.


The 2021 Heisman winner is not necessarily a classic pocket passer, but he has the type of athleticism that many of the top quarterbacks in the league possess.

Of course, Young is far from a consensus pick as the best quarterback available. Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is viewed almost on the same level as Young. Also, Will Levis of Kentucky and Anthony Richardson of Florida are also potential top-10 or even top-5 picks.

But beyond those four, there is a considerable drop-off. The next-best-available quarterbacks are Hendon Hooker, Tanner McKee, and Aidan O’Connell while Max Duggan and Stetson Bennett are also familiar names. However, none of those players might be selected until the third day of the draft.

Running Back – Bijan Robinson

There is no question that Bijan Robinson of Texas is the top running back available in the class of 2023. He’s coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Longhorns and was a unanimous All-American in 2022 on top of winning the Doak Walker Award.

Robinson is likely the only running back with a chance of being selected in the first round with some mock drafts having him going in the top 10 despite running backs not being as valuable as they once were.


Once Robinson is off the board, there should be several other running backs selected on Days 2 and 3 of the NFL Draft. Robinson’s Texas teammate Roschon Johnson, Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, and Texas A&M’s Devon Achane make up the second-tier of running backs. But don’t sleep on Tank Bigsby, Eric Gray, Sean Tucker, or DeWayne McBride, among many others. There figures to be a lot running backs drafted on Day 3, many of whom could have prominent roles next season.

Wide Receiver – Quentin Johnston

When ranking NFL Draft prospects by position for 2023, there is a lot of leeway at wide receiver. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of consensus over the top receiver or who will be picked first.

However, Quentin Johnston of TCU is a small step ahead of the rest. He has the combination of size and speed that can make him a star in the NFL. He averaged over 22 yards per catch as a true freshman and only got better from there, ultimately playing a key role in helping TCU reach the national title game this past season.

However, there are plenty of other receivers who are nipping at his heels. Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, USC’s Jordan Addison, and Boston College’s Zay Flowers could also be considered locks to be selected in the first round.

In fact, all have a chance to work their way ahead of Johnston in the pecking order by the time draft day rolls around. There is also tremendous depth at wide receiver in this class. The likes of Kayshon Boutte, Josh Downs, Tyler Scott, Marvin Mims, and Jalin Hyatt will all be picked on Day 2. Even in the later rounds, A.T. Perry, Trey Palmer, and Rakim Jarrett are players to watch closely.

Tight End – Michael Mayer

There may not be an elite tight end in this draft class but Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer comes close. He’s been a key part of the Fighting Irish for a few years as both a run blocker and a pass catcher. Mayer can do it all and is an excellent red-zone target, which should make him a first-round pick.

Behind Mayer, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid is a close second for the best tight end in this class. Of course, don’t overlook Sam LaPorta, who comes from a long line of great Iowa tight ends.

Darnell Washington of Georgia, Luke Schoonmaker of Michigan, and Zack Kuntz of Old Dominion are also tight ends to watch closely in the NFL, even if they don’t come off the board until the late rounds of the draft.

Offensive Lineman – Paris Johnson Jr.

A year ago, nine offensive linemen were selected in the first round, including three who were top-10 picks. However, this year’s class isn’t as deep as we saw last year.

That being said, Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. is one of the few gems along the offensive line and should be a first-round selection. He’s got the ideal size to be a left tackle and was a Consensus All-American for the Buckeyes this past season.

Outside of Johnson, Peter Skoronski of Northwestern and Broderick Jones of Georgia are the best tackles available and should be first-round selections. However, there may not be a guard or center picked in the first round this year. The likes of O’Cyrus Torrence and John Michael Schmitz will be picked at some point in the second round. But there is a profound lack of game-changers along the offensive line.

Edge Rusher – Will Anderson Jr.

Will Anderson Jr. is arguably the best prospect in this year’s class, so there’s no question that he’s the best edge rusher available. Like so many of his predecessors at Alabama, Anderson has all-world athleticism and a resume as impressive as just about any player in the Nick Saban era. We’re talking about a two-time unanimous All-American and a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Anderson also won the Bronko Nagurski Award twice, as well as several other honors.

Of course, Anderson won’t be the only pass-rusher selected in the first round. The likes of Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech, Lukas Van Ness of Iowa, and BJ Ojulari of LSU are all likely to be off the board in the first round.

There is also a considerable amount of depth at this position, allowing teams to pick up pass-rushing help throughout the draft. Specifically, look for Andre Carter II of Army and Nolan Smith of Georgia. But even the edge rushers selected on Day 3 will have a chance to make an impact at the next level.

Defensive Lineman – Jalen Carter

Following in the footsteps of former Georgia teammate Travon Walker, Jalen Carter looks the part of a high draft pick. Even with the Georgia defense losing several key players after the 2021 season, Carter picked up the slack and dominated at the line of scrimmage, helping the Bulldogs win another title.

Carter has an outside chance to be the first defensive player selected and is a clear favorite to be the first defensive lineman off the board.

After Carter, Clemson teammates Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee are the top defensive linemen available. Murphy is a lock to be a first-round pick while Bresee has a chance as well. After that trio, the second and third rounds of the draft should be filled with interior linemen, including Karl Brooks of Bowling Green, Byron Young of Alabama, and Keion White of Georgia Tech.

Linebacker – Trenton Simpson

Outside of the linebackers who are considered pass-rushers, this position is one of the weakest in the class of 2023. In a way, that could increase the demand for Clemson’s Trenton Simpson, who is the only interior linebacker with a first-round grade in this class.

Simpson comes from a long line of great linebackers to come out of Clemson in recent years and should be able to step into the NFL and start right away.

Beyond Simpson, Drew Sanders of Arkansas and Henry To’oTo’o of Alabama should fill an immediate void for teams that need help at linebacker. Noah Sewell of Oregon, Daiyan Henley of Washington State, and Mikel Jones of Syracuse are also players to watch later in the draft. However, pickings are a little slim at linebacker this year.

Cornerback – Christian Gonzalez

Grading the 2023 NFL Draft best players available at each position is particularly difficult at cornerback.

This position is as deep as it’s been in several years with at least a handful of players likely to be picked in the first round, perhaps more. But even with a lot of good options, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez is undoubtedly the top corner available and will almost surely be the first at his position selected. Gonzalez has the ideal size, physicality, and athleticism to play the position, giving him all of the tools to be a top-flight NFL corner.

Fortunately for the teams that don’t draft Gonzalez, there are plenty of other good options.

South Carolina’s Cam Smith, Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., and Devon Witherspoon of Illinois are nearly as highly rated as Gonzalez. Further down the line, Kalee Ringo, Deonte Banks, Eli Ricks, Garrett Williams, and Jaylon Jones are all corners who will be selected in the second or third rounds and have the potential to become starters in the NFL, some sooner rather than later.

Safety – Brian Branch

While this draft class is loaded at cornerback, the same can’t be said of the safety position. One of the few exceptions is Alabama’s Brian Branch, who will surely be the first safety selected in 2023.

As is the case with most players who spend three or four seasons with the Crimson Tide, Branch comes ready to play in the NFL. He was a First-Team All-American in 2022 and is ready for the next level.

There is a good chance that Branch will be selected at some point in the first round, but he’ll likely be the only safety to have that honor.

It’s during the second and third rounds that teams will need to bolster their secondary. Branch’s Alabama teammate Jordan Battle, Boise State’s JL Skinner, and Texas A&M’s Antonio Johnson should come off the board on Day 2. Also, Illinois has a pair of safeties in Sydney Brown and Jartavius Martin who will both be quality additions for any NFL team after the pair led one of the best defenses in the Big Ten last year.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *