The heavily-anticipated 2023 NFL Draft will ultimately be dictated by the QB talent. As the event approaches, who are the top 10 quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class? There are several quality backup candidates in the Day 3 range, but the group up top will field the most attention.
Top 10 Quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft
10) Clayton Tune, Houston
The 2023 NFL Draft QB class isn’t known for its depth past the first four signal-callers, but there are quite a few passers who could go on to become respectable backups and spot-starters in the league. One of the leading candidates in that tier is Houston’s Clayton Tune.
Tune was one of the most productive passers in college football over the past two seasons, with over 7,500 yards and 70 touchdowns, to just 20 picks across that span. He’s the epitome of a gamer and a gunslinger at quarterback — willing to sell out on the ground for gains, as well as take risks with his arm — and he’s also quietly an exceptional athlete.
9) Tanner McKee, Stanford
A couple of cycles ago, Stanford quarterback Davis Mills was selected by the Houston Texans early in Round 3. He had a short stint as a starter for Houston, and though his starting days are likely behind him, he still has a long career ahead as a quality backup with plus physical tools.
Fellow Cardinal product Tanner McKee could ultimately follow a similar career path to Mills. Accuracy, mechanics, and operational consistency are all question marks for McKee. Yet, he’s a prototypical passer at 6’6″, 231 pounds with a starting-caliber arm, and there are flashes of anticipation over the middle of the field on his tape.
8) Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
Nearly five years as a starter. 10,945 passing yards. 88 touchdowns and just 36 picks. Almost 2,000 career rushing yards and 28 additional scores on the ground. Those are the qualities you’re getting with Dorian Thompson-Robinson: Production, pedigree, and pre-existing starting experience.
As a prospect, Thompson-Robinson’s growth has leveled out — to the point where he may never become a consistent starting talent. He’s also undersized, which may hurt his stock. But with his 4.56 speed, he’s an adept creator when plays go off-script, and he’s shown he can generate ample velocity and hit tight windows with his arm.
7) Jaren Hall, BYU
Much like Thompson-Robinson, Jaren Hall is likely a backup at the next level. But also, in a similar manner to Thompson-Robinson, Hall has more talent than your average backup and could ultimately amount to more if he can keep developing on the operational side. Being a 25-year-old rookie, he may be set in his ways, but he still has plenty to offer.
Hall’s accuracy took a noticeable leap forward in 2022, and his ball placement was superb week in and week out, particularly on the boundary. At 6’0″, 207 pounds, Hall will be outside some evaluators’ preferred build, and he’s not an elite pocket operator. Nevertheless, he’s a great athlete, has a solid arm, and can be a valuable buffer at QB.
6) Jake Haener, Fresno State
Every QB class has that middle-round signal-caller who’ll go on to play a decade or more as a quality backup and spot-starter. Fresno State QB Jake Haener has a very good chance to be that guy in the 2023 NFL Draft. He doesn’t have overwhelming traits, but his intangibles and toughness will take him far.
Haener was incredibly productive with the Bulldogs, amassing over 9,000 passing yards, 67 touchdowns, and just 17 interceptions in three years with the program. He’s a solid-enough athlete with the arm necessary to hold his own, and his anticipation is what will truly lift him up as a stellar safety blanket.
5) Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
Almost everyone is in agreement that there’s a substantial drop-off in the 2023 NFL Draft QB crop after the first four signal-callers. Who the fifth QB is and where he ranks is a decision made on a case-by-case basis, but with his production and efficiency as a collegiate passer, Hendon Hooker remains a popular choice for that slot.
Hooker has good size, athleticism, and arm talent. He completed almost 70% of his passes in 2022, with a 27:2 TD:INT ratio. And he’s lauded as a leader. But he’s also a 25-year-old rookie coming off a torn ACL who played in a heavily handicapped offense predicated on one-read throws and unsustainable spacing. He’ll almost assuredly go on Day 2 if he doesn’t sneak into Round 1, but his NFL projection is very unclear.
4) Will Levis, Kentucky
At this point, Will Levis is going to be the fourth quarterback on a lot of lists. He’s most often the odd man out when separating a top three, but he remains a QB prospect with franchise-level upside. If an NFL team can provide him the stability he needs to sustain growth, the rewards could be immense.
Levis isn’t quite at Richardson’s level when it comes to his ceiling, but he’s easily the second-most tools-rich QB of the Round 1 tier. His athleticism and toughness at 6’4″, 230 pounds are both appealing traits, but his arm talent is truly overwhelming. He has a cannon on his shoulder, has a lightning-fast release, and can adjust arm angles with ease.
3) Anthony Richardson, Florida
Anthony Richardson is still QB3 on our consensus board, but the void between him and the top two passers has been shrinking all through the cycle. On the latest edition of the PFN Top 300 Big Board, Stroud and Young are top-five prospects. Richardson is just outside the top 10 at 16th overall, and he’s my personal QB2 — just a notch behind Stroud.
As one might expect from a QB with only 13 starts under his belt, Richardson has room to further refine his game. His accuracy can be inconsistent, as can his mechanics. But it’s not brash to say he has the highest ceiling ever among QB prospects. At 6’4″, 244 pounds, with 4.43 speed and a 40.5″ vertical, Richardson has the size, athleticism, creation capacity, and radioactive arm talent to dominate the game.
2) Bryce Young, Alabama
Bryce Young and Stroud are both as close as can be — close enough that it’s up to personal preference between them. Young falls one spot below Stroud in our final QB rankings, but that’s by no means a knock on Young. All four of the top QBs in the 2023 NFL Draft have franchise potential, and Young might best fit the definition of a franchise CEO.
If you’re investing in a QB, you want them to have the demeanor, intelligence, and calmness under pressure of a true team leader. That unshakable poise and imbued confidence is something that underpins Young’s game. He may be undersized, and he may not have the strongest arm, but his undeniable “it” factor consistently steers him through troubled waters.
Who is the Best QB in the 2023 NFL Draft?
1) C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
In truth, any of the top three QBs are worthy candidates for the QB1 mantle. We’ve gone back and forth all through the 2023 NFL Draft cycle at PFN because it truly is too close to call. All of the top options have their unique appeal. Richardson has the highest ceiling. Young has the highest floor. But C.J. Stroud might provide the best blend of both elements.
Already, Stroud is a smart passer with NFL size and elite accuracy who can layer passes into incredibly tight windows with his easy pace generation, elasticity, and situational precision. And while he’s not yet an elite creator, he has the athleticism to grow in that phase. In a draft process where risk and security exist in a delicate balance, Stroud is the easiest QB to bank on.
Honorable Mention Top Quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft
- Stetson Bennett, Georgia
- Malik Cunningham, Louisville
- Max Duggan, TCU
- Aidan O’Connell, Purdue
- Sean Clifford, Penn State
- Tyson Bagent, Shepherd
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