Taking a look at how the top quarterback prospects in the NFL Draft performed in Week 3 of the college football season.
It may only be the start of the NFL season, but that is not going to stop some fans from scouting the top prospects in the 2023 draft. Of course, the one position that garners the most position is at quarterback. There are fanbases in the NFL that are not exactly keen on their current starter, and keep track as to which college signal-callers are worth selecting.
With that, we introduce “In the Market,” where we look at how the top quarterbacks in the 2023 class performed on a weekly basis, a player who has proven themselves to be a sleeper candidate, and which quarterback needs to show more next week.
Taking Stock: How top 2023 NFL Draft QBs fared in Week 3
Bryce Young, Alabama
First on the list is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young. This was projected to be an easy day at the office, and by the office, we mean Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama faced off against the UL Monroe Warhawks, a team that they have beaten once in three meetings. Well, it is technically two wins, but their 2006 victory was vacated due to a university-wide textbook scandal.
Young had just 18 pass attempts on the day, but he managed to throw for 230 yards and three touchdowns against UL Monroe. However, he did throw two interceptions on the day, with the first happening on Alabama’s second drive of the game, and the other on their first drive of the second half.
Perhaps Young’s most impressive play came on a rushing touchdown, where he used a spin move to get into the end zone to extend Alabama’s lead to 28-0.
It will be a debate heading into the first night of the 2023 NFL Draft of who should be the top quarterback taken between Young and this next prospect.
Next Game: vs. Vanderbilt Sept. 24
CJ Stroud, Ohio State
There is a legitimate debate as to who should be the first quarterback taken off the board between Young and CJ Stroud. Let’s be real here, being an Ohio State quarterback, you are going to be one of the most watched at the position in college.
This week, the Buckeyes, much like the Crimson Tide, had an easy opponent on paper, taking on the Toledo Rockets. In the absurd 77-21 victory, Stroud had 22 completions for 367 yards and five touchdowns on 27 attempts.
Stroud wasted little time, throwing touchdown passes to Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming in the first quarter. The Fleming touchdown was impressive, as Stroud ran out of the pocket, and as he was just about to step out of bounds, he threw the ball to the wide receiver in the back corner of the end zone with little space.
He connected with the duo again in the second quarter, putting the Buckeyes up to 42-14 entering halftime. His final touchdown pass of the game went to Emeka Egbuka in the third quarter, and he was eventually relieved of his duties by Kyle McCord.
It will be a much tougher game in Week 4 for Stroud, as he has to face the Wisconsin Badgers defense.
Next Game: vs. Wisconsin Sept. 24
Will Levis, Kentucky
While Young and Stroud are the consensus top two quarterbacks in the 2023 class, there is a debate as to who should be the third-ranked signal caller. Three weeks into the season, it is without a doubt Kentucky’s Will Levis.
Yes, he is known as the quarterback who puts mayonnaise in his coffee, and eating a banana with the peel, but he is one heck of a player. He showed just that in Week 3.
The Wildcats took on the Youngstown State Penguins, and he showed out. In the second quarter, Levis put Kentucky on the board with a one-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a three-yard pass to Dane Key and a two-yard pass to Chris Lewis to give the team a 21-0 lead entering the second half.
Levis did, however, throw two interceptions in that matchup. One came in the first quarter when targeting receiver Barion Brown in the end zone, but was undercut by Youngstown State defensive back Troy Jakubec. The other happened in the fourth quarter, where he targeted receiver Rashaan Lewis, but the throw was way over his head, allowing defensive back Quincy Lenton to get the easy interception. Not exactly the end of the world, but having a 1:1 ratio on touchdowns and interceptions is not necessarily ideal.
But Levis did show off his arm strength and accuracy, in addition to his mobility. When he decides to gain for yardage, he has the speed that should raise some eyebrows from scouts.
Next Game: vs. Northern Illinois Sept. 24
Anthony Richardson, Florida
With a new head coach, the Florida Gators are going full steam ahead with Anthony Richardson as their starting quarterback. Gone are the days when Dan Mullen would play both Richardson and Emory Jones in the same game. This was Richardson’s chance to show what he can do with his arm and his legs.
This week, it was a game to forget for Richardson.
Facing off against the South Florida Bulls, Richardson completed just over 50 percent (10-of-18) of his passes for just 112 yards. There were no touchdown passes thrown, but he did throw two interceptions.
The first pick arrived in the third quarter, where he targeted receiver Rickey Pearsall. The thing is, Richardson did not have his feet planted, and he did not see Dwayne Boyles reading the throw, leading to the interception.
Richardson’s second pick arrived in the fourth quarter, where he targeted Justin Shorter on in the corner of the end zone. The thing is, he was in tight coverage against defensive back Aamaris Brown. It was Brown who won the battle, and he picked off Richardson’s pass.
Richardson does not have a single passing touchdown this season, which is a bit crazy to think about. In fact, he has three tackles to his credit this season.
There is still plenty of season left for Richardson to put it all together. He has the talent, that’s for sure.
Next Game: at No. 11 Tennessee Sept. 24
Tyler Van Dyke, Miami
Tyler Van Dyke is a name to keep an eye on, as he could potentially make a case to be the third quarterback selected in the first round. He faced a true test, as he took on a Texas A&M team that was embarrassed following an upset loss to Appalachian State.
Van Dyke did make some incredible throws, including hitting tight end Elijah Arroyo on a wheel route for a 29-yard gain with two Aggies defenders in his face in the second quarter.
However, Van Dyke did deal with some drops from his receivers. Six, to be exact. Perhaps the most notable arrived with just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Van Dyke threw a perfect pass to Brashard Smith, but the receiver dropped it.
On the night, Van Dyke completed 21-of-41 pass attempts for 217 yards.
Things can get better for Van Dyke with time, but there was only so much he could do in Week 3.
Next Game: vs. Middle Tennessee Sept. 24
One 2023 NFL Draft QB sleeper who turned heads in Week 3
Aidan O’Connell, Purdue
One sleeper prospect fans should keep an eye on is Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell. This week, the Boilermakers took on the Syracuse Orange in a thrilling contest.
O’Connell led the entire nation in passing yards by accumulating 424 against the Orange defense. This is the very defense that did not surrender a single red zone touchdown through the first two games of the season.
There was one baffling decision that O’Connell made, and that was forcing a throw while wrapped up for a sack. He threw it directly into the hands of defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu, who returned it 17-yards for a touchdown.
Immediately afterward, O’Connell showed off his connection with Charlie Jones, highlighted by an incredible 55-yard touchdown throw along the sideline in the fourth quarter.
O’Connell is a name to keep an eye on throughout the season.
One 2023 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Week 3
Anthony Richardson, Florida
As mentioned before, Richardson is an incredible athlete. He did not start many games for the Gators during his time with the program, but now he had the chance as the team’s permanent starter.
There were some concerning throws that he made against South Florida’s defense, but he has the ability to really break out as a good quarterback.
His next test will not be an easy one, as Florida takes on the No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers.
Who are QB buyers in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season is in the books. Yes, it is only two games into the year, so there is not much separation record-wise from the great teams to the dreadful teams. Let’s take a look at what the Top 10 of the 2023 NFL Draft looks like right now, and who could be in the market for a quarterback. This list comes courtesy of Tankathon.
- Atlanta Falcons (0-2)
- Tennessee Titans (0-2)
- Las Vegas Raiders (0-2)
- Carolina Panthers (0-2)
- Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
- Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
- Houston Texans (0-1-1)
- Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints (1-1))
- Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
- Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns (1-1))
The Atlanta Falcons would hold the first overall pick if the season were to end today. However, the team did just draft Desmond Ridder out of Cincinnati, who is currently behind Marcus Mariota on the depth chart. Obviously, things can change, but it certainly feels as though the Falcons could go defense with either Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. or Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter.
The same goes for the Tennessee Titans, who just selected Malik Willis. There could be a time when the Titans go with Willis as the starter, as he did get to play in the final quarter-plus of the team’s 41-7 blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills.
With Derek Carr on the Las Vegas Raiders, it feels unlikely that the team would select a signal caller, especially since they got his former Fresno State teammate Davante Adams this offseason.
As for the teams that currently hold a top 10 pick as of post-Week 2, the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans stand out.
It looks as though the Panthers will be cleaning house on the coaching staff come the end of the season (or sooner), and a new coach will want their own quarterback under center. The Panthers job will be intriguing (if Matt Rhule is fired), as the next coach could have their choice of either Young or Stroud.
There is no sugarcoating this, the Colts need to find their next franchise quarterback. They have tried the trade market with Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan, in addition to free agency with Philip Rivers. It is not working out. They need to utilize a first-round pick for their future starter under center.
For the Houston Texans, the jury is still out on Davis Mills, who was one of the more successful rookie quarterbacks last season. The Texans have a full season to evaluate whether or not he is the answer.
Other teams to keep an eye on are the Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, and the Detroit Lions, who are not ranked in the Top 10. If that remains the case, you can not rule out any of their respective general managers making a trade to secure a quarterback, i.e. like John Lynch did to select Trey Lance for the San Francisco 49ers.