The 2023 NFL Draft feels far away but will be here before we know it. There’s still a full summer’s worth of preparation and a full season’s worth of on-field action to get to before we even start really talking about the pre-draft process for 2023. But it’s not too early to look at the Boston College prospects to be mindful of this season with eyes toward the 2023 NFL Draft.
Boston College prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft
When looking towards the next year’s draft for most teams, it’s imperative to start at the quarterback position. In Boston College’s case, it’s no different as Phil Jurkovec headlines their cast of characters to know for the 2023 NFL Draft. It doesn’t stop at Jurkovec, however, as the Eagles are returning several players to know for not only next April’s draft but also for this fall season.
Phil Jurkovec, QB
On a record pace to start his career, everything seemed to be going according to plan for Jurkovec. After transferring from Notre Dame, Jurkovec threw for 15 touchdowns and well over 2,000 yards during the COVID-19 year of 2020. He opened the 2021 season with a 303-yard, three-touchdown performance against Colgate in a half’s work of football before sustaining an injury in the first quarter of BC’s Week 2 game against UMass.
Nevertheless, Jurkovec is still on pace to break Matt Ryan’s program record of 300-yard passing games, and he’ll do it in record time it appears.
Jurkovec is a terrific passer from the pocket with more than enough arm strength to hit every level. When the ball is in play, he’s lights out with his reads and progressions. He also has more than enough athleticism to move the pocket when necessary and make throws on the run.
Consistent accuracy and making sound decisions will improve his stock during the 2022 season. Jurkovec will have all eyes on him when he takes the field, and if he elevates the talent around him, he’ll certainly elevate his draft stock even higher.
Pat Garwo III, RB
A 1,000-yard rusher returns to Chestnut Hill in 2022 as Pat Garwo III graces the backfield yet again. After a breakout season, Garwo is primed to be a contender for the Doak Walker Award as well as considerable discourse as one of Boston College’s 2023 NFL Draft prospects. He’s a bowling ball with breakaway speed.
Standing at 5’8″ and 208 pounds, Garwo doesn’t have your typical running back size, and with his potential all-around ability, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to Darren Sproles. Featuring him more in the passing game will certainly help Garwo’s draft stock.
Zay Flowers, WR
The big-name player on the outside, Zay Flowers returns to Boston College for one final go. While some players are hitting the transfer portal for greener pastures (literally, now with potential NIL deals), Flowers reportedly spurned schools wanting his transfer to stay at BC for one final year.
He enters the 2022 season as one of the top 10 receivers on our Pro Football Network Consensus Board and squarely inside the top 100 players overall. Flowers has it all, including speed, crisp routes, sure hands, and separation ability. There’s more to his game than his speed and route-running ability, but those attributes should make him highly coveted next April.
Jaelen Gill, WR
A former Ohio State transfer, Jaelen Gill hasn’t quite broken out like some may have thought he could immediately at BC. He’s averaged nearly 13 yards per catch during his time with the Eagles but hauled in under 25 receptions in each of the last two seasons. The talent is there for Gill and consistently being able to showcase his ability will be key to growing his presence on draft boards this fall.
Christian Mahogany, G
Other than Jurkovec and Flowers, it could be said that Christian Mahogany is the most notable Boston College player for next year’s draft. It’s not easy to take headlines from your quarterback, but it’s a completely different aspect to take headlines from your QB as an offensive lineman.
Mahogany is a different breed, however, so it’d be no surprise to see him headline games for the Eagles in 2022. He’s a mauler in the run game with strong hands and great balance. But Mahogany’s best in pass protection where he can handle any type of pass rusher with ease. Mahogany is in the running to be the first interior lineman drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Finn Dirstine, G
Largely a projection at this point, but longtime swing guard Finn Dirstine is in prime position to make a name for himself in 2022. Dirstine slides into the guard spot opposite Mahogany and has shown to be far more than just a serviceable backup during his four years at BC. If there is one position that’s relatively unknown for the Eagles this year, it’s the offensive line (other than Mahogany), but there are certainly pieces here to make fans excited.
Jack Conley, OT
Similar to Dirstine, Jack Conley can absolutely make a name for himself in 2022. Though just a redshirt sophomore, Conley has the size and frame of an NFL tackle already. At 6’7″ and 316 pounds, Conley hails from New Canaan High School, the same school that produced current Arizona Cardinals DE Zach Allen and Kansas City Chiefs RT Lucas Niang, among others.
If there’s one thing Lou Marinelli knows, it’s big-time talent. And after he spoke highly of Conley, the sky is the limit for the big man. The 2023 NFL Draft may be a bit early, but with a dominant third year in the program at left tackle, he could absolutely make the leap.
Shitta Sillah, DE
Shitta Sillah presents trouble for most tackles he faces. He can rush the passer with a variety of moves and from a variety of alignments. Whether he’s off the ball or down in the dirt from a three-point stance, Sillah has a great get-off, but his balance through contact is what stands out. He’s a big man with a lot of strength to boot. Putting it all together in 2022 will be key to finding his spot in this draft class.
Cam Horsley, DT
Setting the tone on the inside for the Eagles is Cam Horsley. At 6’2″, 295, he’s not the biggest interior defender you’ll find, but it’s a common theme along the interior of the BC defense. Still, it’s worked for Horsley in the past to the tune of 40 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a multitude of QB pressures last year. With an uptick in production, more eyes will head towards the trenches. In turn, Horsley’s athleticism will turn heads.
Chibueze Onwuka, DT
Though Chibueze Onwuka missed the entire 2021 season with an Achilles injury, he’s absolutely in the running as an impact member of the Eagles’ defensive front this season. The 5’11”, 286-pound interior rusher may lack prototypical size, but when he’s healthy, his leverage is uncanny.
During the 2020 season, Onwuka recorded 2.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and was a constant force up the middle for BC. He also flashed high-level potential for three seasons at Buffalo where he combined for six sacks after beginning his career as a walk-on. His wrestling background helps him in the trenches and could help vault him as a late-round prospect in 2023.
Marcus Valdez, DE
One of the more experienced defensive linemen returning to college football anywhere, Marcus Valdez is back for Year 5 at Boston College. At 6’0″, 256 pounds, Valdez is a bit undersized for today’s standard edge rusher. Yet, that doesn’t seem to matter as he’s brought down 9.5 career sacks and a bevy of other pressures.
Valdez has a terrific motor and some finessed pass-rush moves he can rely on. If there’s one knock on Valdez, it’s a history of injuries after sustaining a season-ending injury in high school as well as multiple injuries that have kept him out of action at BC over the years. Playing in 12 games (at least) will go a long way at proving durability in 2022.
Kam Arnold, LB
The team’s leading tackler from a year ago, Kam Arnold has a nose for the football. Arnold also has plenty of size, and despite the volume of tackles, he rarely misses attempts. He’s sound in run defense and a more than capable pass rusher. What will help him raise his draft stock will be increasing his coverage ability.
Arnold’s been asked to cover a variety of receivers, including shifty running backs out of the backfield from his weakside LB position, so that’s no easy feat. If he does improve in coverage, however, expect to hear more from Arnold in 2022.
Josh DeBerry, CB
Boston College’s starting nickel corner, Josh DeBerry, does it all. He can cover a number of pass-catching types, including tight ends and running backs as well as receivers. DeBerry is a dominant run defender in the vein of a strong safety from the box. He also has no trouble when called upon rushing the passer. Leading the team in tackles for loss a season ago, DeBerry’s well-rounded skill set will be on full display this season. He’s certainly a name to know on this defense if he isn’t the name to know.
Elijah Jones, CB
A big defensive back at 6’2″, Elijah Jones has recorded 15 pass breakups in his four seasons with the team so far. He’s long and lean yet isn’t afraid to come downhill to lay the lumber. Jones can vault himself into the draft class with an emphatic stamp in 2022 on a solid five-year career in Chestnut Hill.
Jaiden Woodbey, S
After three years of middling play at Florida State, Jaiden Woodbey put his name on the map with a sound 2021 season. Woodbey projects as a hybrid safety in the NFL where he can use his positional versatility well. In 2021, he recorded two interceptions and multiple pass breakups, but his strongest asset is his read-and-react ability.
Almost similar to a linebacker, Woodbey hovers just beyond the line of scrimmage and is in the right position more often than not. With sound tackling and more examples of his terrific decision-making in the defensive backfield, Woodbey could vault himself into the first-round conversation as one of the top 2023 NFL Draft prospects from Boston College.
Jason Maitre, S
Last, but certainly not least, Jason Maitre rounds out a terrific secondary. The free-ranging safety of the bunch, Maitre can cover ground in the blink of an eye. He has great instincts and better technique in coverage and even in run defense. Playing a full season and playing off Woodbey for another season should allow each of them to see an uptick in production and ultimately draft consideration.