Spencer Sanders NFL Draft stock on the rise after record-breaking Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame

Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State Cowboys. (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State Cowboys. (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders massively improved his 2023 NFL Draft stock after his record-setting performance in the Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame.

While the 2023 NFL Draft is expected to be infinitely better at the quarterback position than what 2022 will provide, one player whose stock has soared after bowl season is Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders.

Though draft-eligible now as a junior, it would serve Sanders to return to Stillwater for one more year. He has started all three years in school. Oklahoma State was one yard from getting into the College Football Playoff. Not only that, but Sanders absolutely eviscerated the Notre Dame defense with his record-setting passing day in the Fiesta Bowl. He was electrifying for the Pokes.

Sanders completed 34-of-51 passes for 371 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in the Cowboys’ narrow 37-35 victory over the Fighting Irish. He also had 17 carries for 125 yards on the ground to lead all rushers. His 496 total yards are a Fiesta Bowl record.

Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders’ NFL Draft stock is heating up after Fiesta Bowl

Though a tad undersized at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, ample starting experience and playing in many big-time games are huge assets in Sanders’ rising 2023 NFL Draft stock. He may not have the acclaim of Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, be as prolific of a passer as Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman or be as hyped as Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei, but Sanders has the talent to be a first-round pick.

Think about it from this perspective. Was Pitt star Kenny Pickett a first-round pick to start this year? No, but he became one by winning the ACC and being the greatest thing to happen under center for his alma mater since Dan Marino. Pickett got to this level because he had banked so many starts against relentless Power Five competition. Sanders could be next year’s Pickett.

Ultimately, Sanders plays for the right head coach at the right school and in the right offensive system to be drafted. The really cool part is he has a chance to be a higher drafted player than Brandon Weeden was a decade ago. Keep in mind that 2011 Oklahoma State would have made the College Football Playoff had it been in existence then. Sanders has the Pokes trending up.

Sanders may not be the first quarterback off the board in 2023, but he could go in the top-32.

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