After a 9-4 season in 2022 and a bowl win over Syracuse, who are the top Minnesota prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, and what details do the scouting reports offer on their chances at the NFL level?
Minnesota 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Chuck Filiaga, OL
Strengths: Michigan transfer who has experience at both guard positions. Quickly sets up off the snap, keeps his head on a swivel, and always looks for someone to hit. Starts with good knee bend, has good strength, and turns defenders from the action. Explosive at the point and opens up running lanes. Quickly gets his hands into defenders and keeps his feet moving.
Weaknesses: Stiff and cannot adjust. Heavy-footed and ineffective on the second level or blocking in motion. Lacks agility, which hurts his ability to finish blocks.
Overall: Filiaga is a massive, wide-bodied blocker who is only effective in a small area. His lack of agility and inability to move in even a small area will make it difficult for him to get out of camp this summer.
John Michael Schmitz, C
Strengths: Intelligent, hard-working center with scheme versatility. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and stays square. Powerful, anchors at the point, or knocks defenders back off the line. Intelligent but also blocks with a nasty attitude and works to annihilate defenders. Above-average skill in motion, gets out to the second level, and redirects to linebackers. Does an outstanding job quarterbacking the offensive line.
Weaknesses: Lacks quick, fluid footwork in space. Overextends into blocks and shows some stiffness.
Overall: Schmitz was a force on Minnesota’s talented offensive line the past two years and continually developed his game. After a solid senior season, he went on to have three outstanding practices at the Senior Bowl.
While I like him more as a power-gap blocker, there are some who believe Schmitz could ably handle the duties of a zone-blocking scheme. He should be the first or second center selected in this year’s draft and should quickly break into a starting lineup during his rookie season.
Want more information on Schmitz? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Jordan Howden, S
Strengths: Hard-working, run-defending safety with good instincts. Physical, plays faster than his 40 time, and quickly picks up assignments. Keeps the action in front of him, stays on the receiver’s hip, and shows solid ball skills facing the action. Tracks the pass in the air, has a nice move to the throw, and displays good hands for the interception. Fires upfield to defend the run and wraps up tackling.
Weaknesses: Comes with average speed despite playing faster than his 40 time. Slow getting his head back around to track the pass in the air in man-coverage situations and does a lot of faceguarding.
Overall: Howden was productive all five seasons he was on the field at Minnesota and is a zone-safety prospect who should also add value on special teams.
Want more information on Howden? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Jordan Howden, S, Minnesota | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Mohamed Ibrahim, RB
Strengths: Intelligent, hard-working ball carrier who gets the most from his ability. Patient and displays outstanding vision as well as instincts. Waits for blocks to develop, finds the open lanes, and has a burst through the hole. Follows blocks everywhere on the field, runs with excellent lean, and plays faster than his 40 time.
Rarely tackled by the initial defender and doesn’t go down without a fight. Squeezes through the small openings of the offensive line, finds ways to pick up yardage, and breaks arm tackles. Sidesteps defenders, quickly gets to top speed, and gets a lot of momentum going. Puts his shoulders down and drives them through defenders at the point of contact. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield.
Weaknesses: Not a perimeter ball carrier and cannot beat defenders into the open field. Not a quick cutback runner and must gather himself to change direction. Must improve his blocking strength and gets run over by opponents. Caught just 22 passes in four seasons despite showing pass-catching ability.
Overall: Ibrahim is a competitive team player with high character and terrific intelligence. He lacks next-level size and speed, but his approach to the game and ability to produce anytime he handles the ball is appealing.
Want more information on Ibrahim? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Tanner Morgan, QB
Strengths: Tough and competitive game-managing quarterback who sells ball fakes and is patient in the pocket. Usually makes good decisions and doesn’t force throws or toss the errant pass.
Solid short-range passer who delivers the ball with an over-the-top delivery and effectively sets up screen throws. Spreads the ball around to all his targets and throws good corner patterns. Generally accurate and doesn’t have receivers adjusting for errant throws.
Weaknesses: Slow moving his head from the primary target. Cannot withstand the rush. Not a threat to pick up yardage with his legs. Has limited upside.
Overall: Morgan was a solid signal-caller for Minnesota but couldn’t regain his job late in his college career after going down with injury. He’s a heady game manager who showed a lot of skill during Shrine Bowl practices, but Morgan lacks the arm strength and upside to be anything other than a third QB on Sundays.
Want more information on Morgan? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Terell Smith, CB
Strengths: Athletically gifted cornerback whose draft stock is soaring. Battles opponents throughout the route, works to get his head back around and does a good job locating the pass in the air. Engages receivers at the line and slows their release off the snap. Stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks and can drive to the ball out of his plant. Collapses from the outside to defend the run, wraps up opponents and tackles well in the open field.
Weaknesses: Must be more consistent with his footwork and backpedal. Prone to lapses. Turned in just a single year of production.
Overall: Smith is a developing CB who was ignored by scouts entering 2022, but then he turned in a terrific campaign and performed well during three days of Shrine Bowl practices. He’s a terrific athlete with a large upside, and if coached properly, Smith could break into a starting lineup two years down the road.
Thomas Rush, EDGE
Strengths: Hard-working college pass rusher with average upside. Breaks down well, moves well laterally, and gives effort. Fluid, displays good change-of-direction ability and competes. Gets leverage on opponents, bends the edge with balance, and rarely gets knocked off his feet. Remains disciplined with responsibilities and can even stay with tight ends in coverage.
Weaknesses: Easily blocked or out-positioned by a single opponent. Possesses poor ball skills.
Overall: Rush was a consistent defender for Minnesota who overachieved and got the most from his ability. He lacks upside but could make a roster as a pass-rush specialist if he plays well on special teams.
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