With the college football playoffs and bowl season now set in stone, expect more and more players to announce their intentions to sit out the postseason and prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft. Here’s the latest news and rumors we’re hearing about the draft.
What Are Scouts Saying About Anthony Richardson?
On Monday afternoon, Anthony Richardson officially announced that he’s entering the 2023 NFL Draft. This confirms the chatter in league circles that we’ve reported on extensively over the past several weeks.
When speaking to scouts about this decision, the immediate reaction has varied across the spectrum — from surprise to derogatory and everything in between. Several scouts that Pro Football Network spoke to say that Richardson is a two-year project and will fall out of the first round.
Richardson has been the darling of the internet-draft world before the season even began, with some projecting him as a top-10 selection. This is despite the fact he played in just eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2021 and attempted just 64 passes.
The physical talent and upside are enormous for Richardson, but he needs a ton of work on his game. While I presently have a third-round grade on him, there’s no denying a team could reach for him during the first frame with the hopes of developing Richardson’s game and harvesting his talent.
More NFL Draft News and Rumors
Anton Harrison spurns NIL deal, heads to NFL
Last month, we reported that the University of Oklahoma was readying a large NIL package for left tackle Anton Harrison in an attempt to keep the highly-rated blocker from entering the draft. But it doesn’t look like the Sooners’ plan worked.
Despite what I’m told was a NIL offer in the range of $400,000 to $500,000, Harrison announced on November 30 that he was entering the draft. And why not?
Considering the void of talent at the offensive tackle position, a situation made even more dire after Olumuyiwa Fashanu of Penn State announced he was returning to State College, Harrison’s value will increase. I presently grade the junior as a mid-second-round choice but firmly believe he could end up in the bottom third of round one.
Emmanuel Forbes to skip bowl game?
On December 1, Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes announced that he was entering the draft — something initially reported in our CFB gameday blog in October. It would not be a surprise if Forbes announces in the coming days that he will skip the team’s bowl game. Mississippi State and Illinois meet in the ReliaQuest Bowl, better known to many of us as the Outback Bowl, on January 2 in Tampa.
Who might spurn the draft and return to school?
While there will be a few surprise entries into the NFL Draft, there could be an equal number of players who shock the scouting world by returning to the college field for a second senior season.
Charlotte receiver Grant Dubose entered the season with middle-round grades, then went on to have another terrific campaign for the 49ers, catching 63 passes for 787 yards with 9 receptions. Despite those numbers, Dubose publicly announced he has entered the transfer portal. The belief is DuBose will end up at a school in the ACC or SEC.
Last week, it was announced Cincinnati quarterback Ben Bryant would be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a foot injury. I’m told rather than enter the draft, the expectations are Bryant is going to stick around and play another year of college football.
Highly rated Michigan tight end Erick All played in just three games before undergoing season-ending back surgery. Despite the Wolverines being the number two seed in the college football playoffs, All announced he has entered the transfer portal. The belief is All will follow former UM quarterback Cade McNamara to Iowa.
Minnesota tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford is telling people he will return for a second senior season. Spann-Ford entered 2022 graded as a solid day-three pick, then went on to have a career season, catching 40 passes for 481 yards with 2 touchdowns.
Arkansas safety Jalen Catalon is expected to return to Arkansas for another season. Catalon was well on his way to entering the 2022 draft before he was sidelined with a shoulder injury five games into the 2021 season. The injury reared its ugly head this year, and after just one game, reconstruction surgery was required on Catalon’s shoulder.