Top 10 Quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft: Anthony Richardson Closing Ground on C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young

Top 10 Quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft: Anthony Richardson Closing Ground on C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young

As the NFL Combine fades behind us and we march closer and closer to April, let’s take another look at the top quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. By now, we know who the top four passers are, but how do they rank at this stage, and how close is the race for QB1?

Top 10 Quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft

10) Tanner McKee, Stanford

There are quality value QBs in the 5-10 range, but almost all of them will be penciled in as career backups or pinch hitters. Only one has a legitimate chance to be categorized as a developmental QB or future starter across the board, and that’s Stanford’s Tanner McKee.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Quarterback Class

At 6’6 3/1″ and 231 pounds, McKee safely fills the prototypical mold, which has proven important for more cerebral evaluators. And at that size, McKee has a high-velocity arm. Accuracy, mechanics, and operational consistency are points of emphasis right now, but he’s a passer you can stash and develop behind the scenes with potential returns.

9) Clayton Tune, Houston

Don’t be surprised if someone takes Houston’s Clayton Tune earlier than you expect. Tune has the production, with over 7,500 yards, 70 touchdowns, and 20 picks across the past two seasons. And as he showed at the NFL Combine, he has the athleticism to be more than your average backup pocket passer.

A 4.64 40-yard dash, 37.5″ vertical, and 10’2″ broad jump help quantify the underrated creation ability that Tune has to go along with his poise and natural feel in the pocket. Operationally, he’s not as consistent as you’d like for a QB with his experience, but his combined baseline talent and competitive resolve count for a lot.

8) Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

Nearly five years as a starter. 10,945 passing yards. 88 touchdowns and just 36 picks, to go along with almost 2,000 career rushing yards and 28 additional scores on the ground. Those are the things you’re getting with Dorian Thompson-Robinson: Production, pedigree, and pre-existing starting experience.

As a prospect, Thompson-Robinson’s consistency has leveled out, to the point where he may never become a starting talent. But with his 4.56 speed, he’s an adept creator when plays go off-script, and he’s shown he can generate velocity with his arm and hit tight windows as well.

7) Jaren Hall, BYU

Much like Thompson-Robinson, Jaren Hall is a likely backup at the next level. But also like Thompson-Robinson, Hall has more talent than your average backup and could ultimately amount to more if he can keep trending up on the operational side.

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 also a 25-year-old rookie. But he’s a great athlete, has a solid arm, and has the tools to be a valuable buffer in a QB room.

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.

MORE: Top 10 RBs in the 2023 NFL Draft

Haener was incredibly productive with the Bulldogs, amassing over 9,000 passing yards, 67 touchdowns, and just 17 interceptions in three years with the team. 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 major drop-off in the 2023 NFL Draft QB group after the first four passers. 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 in the Day 2/Day 3 range.

Hooker’s profile is a fascinating case of polarization. He 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 an offense without many pure dropbacks and full-field reads. He can be a good player, but the uncertainty around his projection may weigh him down a bit.

4) Will Levis, Kentucky

At this point, Will Levis is going to be the fourth quarterback on a lot of lists. There’s a solidified group at the top — all of whom will likely go within the top 10 picks –, and he’s certainly a part of that group. But if you’re asked to put together a podium from that group, Levis is most often the odd man out.

What keeps Levis in this group is his upside. He’s not quite Richardson as an athlete, but he’s a good athlete with great size and toughness and an extremely strong arm that generates velocity with rare ease. He didn’t get a chance to sustain development at Kentucky, but with an NFL coaching staff and supporting cast, he could find success.

3) Anthony Richardson, Florida

Anthony Richardson is still QB3 on our consensus board, but the gap between him and the top two passers is closing fast. On the latest iteration of the PFN Top 300 Big Board, Stroud and Young are top-10 prospects. Richardson is just outside the top 10 at 14th overall, and he’s my personal QB1.

There’s no other way to say it than this: Richardson’s tools are truly unmatched. His athleticism is one-of-one — quantified by his 4.43 speed and 40.5″ vertical at 6’4″, 244 pounds. But he also has a rocket arm and flashes key building blocks like processing capacity and pocket discipline. He can make the NFL arms race a losing one for the QB-needy teams who pass on him.

2) C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe at QB. QB, after all, is the most important position. Sure, if you’re confident in your coaching staff, you can shoot for the stars. But we’ve seen teams crumble back down after making those kinds of moves. Sometimes, it makes sense to target the QB with the most realistic path to success. One could argue C.J. Stroud is that QB in the 2023 NFL Draft.

MORE: The Case for C.J. Stroud To Be the No. 1 Pick

What’s nice about Stroud is that playing it safe, in this case, doesn’t come at the cost of talent entirely. Stroud is a good athlete with creative potential, and he has a very good arm. And on top of that talent, he’s a supremely accurate passer with high-end processing ability, eye discipline, and leverage awareness.

1) Bryce Young, Alabama

Stroud and Bryce Young are both as close as can be — close enough that it’s up to personal preference between them. But in the latest edition of PFN’s Top 2023 NFL Draft quarterbacks, Young remains QB1 by a hair — or a half-inch, or a pound, depending on your preferred analogy.

Inches and pounds were unreasonably important for Young this past week at the NFL Combine. Measuring in at 5’10 1/2″ and over 200 pounds was viewed as a win by some. It won’t change the fact that Young is still a historic size outlier whose playing weight is in the 190s. But at that size, he’s an elite creator inside and outside the pocket, with the arm to layer throws at absurd trajectories.

Honorable Mentions

  • Stetson Bennett, Georgia
  • Malik Cunningham, Louisville
  • Max Duggan, TCU
  • Aidan O’Connell, Purdue
  • Sean Clifford, Penn State
  • Tyson Bagent, Shepherd