In the Market: Looking at the top QB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class after Week 6

Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Volunteers. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Volunteers. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

How did the top quarterback prospects perform in Week 6 of the college football season? We take a look at “In the Market.”

The sixth week of the college football season has concluded, and there were some big storylines, such as Alabama surviving against Texas A&M, Texas shutting out Oklahoma, and TCU continuing their undefeated season by beating Kansas.

As mentioned last week, there were some injuries to some of the top quarterback prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft class. That did carry over into Week 6.

There are two huge omissions from this week’s column — Alabama’s Bryce Young and Kentucky’s Will Levis. The reason for the absences is simple, and that is neither played due to injury.

Young left the previous week’s game against Arkansas with a sprained AC joint. Even though he was not ruled out for the Week 6 game against Texas A&M and he was on the field, Jalen Milroe received the start.

Levis dislocated his middle finger during the team’s Week 5 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels. While that injury still lingered, Levis also was spotted wearing a boot on his left foot. Regardless, he did not play against South Carolina. Instead, it was Kaiya Sheron who got the start. Kentucky lost 24-14.

Now, let’s move on to the top quarterback prospects who did play in Week 6. Here is the latest edition of “In the Market.”

Previous editions of this column can be found in the links below:

Taking Stock: How top 2023 NFL Draft QBs fared in Week 6

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

It’s C.J. Stroud’s world, and everyone else is just living in it. The Ohio State Buckeyes, as mentioned, are a machine capable of making stout defenses look hopeless. The latest team to struggle to put a stop to the inevitable were the Michigan State Spartans.

Video game numbers. That is what Stroud put up this past Saturday. It’s like he was playing on rookie mode on Madden NFL 23. The touchdown passes looked easy for Stroud. Completely effortless.

When it comes to the best play of the game, it was not a touchdown pass. Rather, it was a sideline pass to Marvin Harrison Jr., which he threw off of his back foot. Remember that last part, because the throw was a perfect drop into the bucket that was Harrison’s hands.

Stroud completed 21-of-26 pass attempts for 361 yards and six touchdowns, while throwing one interception.

If Stroud continues to keep this up, he may very well be the undisputed top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. NFL teams should prepare the tank, if they so need a quarterback of the future.

Next Game: vs. Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Tyler Van Dyke, Miami

What a bounce back game for Tyler Van Dyke. Back in Week 4 against Middle Tennessee, Van Dyke threw interceptions on the first two drives of the game. He was ultimately benched in favor of Jake Garcia.

If a quarterback wants a good performance, who better to face than the North Carolina Tar Heels and their turnstile of a defense?

One of Van Dyke’s best throws happened late in the second quarter. He rolled outside to the right, stiff-armed an incoming defender and flicked a pass across his body to Henry Parrish Jr. for the touchdown, cutting their deficit to 21-14.

Van Dyke tried to bring the Hurricanes down to field goal range with less than a minute remaining in regulation while down 27-24, but as he looked for his receiver down field, his pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage. That allowed North Carolina’s DeAndre Boykins to intercept the pass.

Van Dyke threw for 496 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception while completing 42-of-57 pass attempts. He was named the ACC Player of the Week, as his passing yards were the most against an FBS opponent this season.

Next Game: at Virginia Tech on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Anthony Richardson, Florida

There was not much to say about Anthony Richardson in Week 6. That is because the Florida Gators did not pass the ball much when they faced the Missouri Tigers, the very team that almost upset the Georgia Bulldogs the week prior.

In the beginning of the first quarter, Richardson did have a very dangerous throw, where he attempted to connect with Justin Shorter. The thing is, Richardson did not see a defensive back Ennis Rakestraw Jr., who jumped right in front of Shorter and nearly picked him off.

Richardson did show his playmaking ability, as he ran outside of the pocket, and uncorked a high-velocity pass to Ricky Pearsall for the touchdown.

On 14 pass attempts, Richardson threw eight completions for 66 yards and a touchdown, while throwing one interception. That interception was not Richardson’s fault. Rather, the defender tipped the football out of Pearsall’s hands and secured the interception.

Richardson did run five times for 45 yards, with his longest run measuring 32 yards.

Next Game: vs. LSU Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

There is a new addition to the weekly column, and it is well deserved. Hendon Hooker is playing at an unreal level this season for the undefeated Tennessee Volunteers and is considered a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this season. He is also getting some love from scouts and rising up draft boards, as ESPN’s Todd McShay pointed out in a tweet on Sept. 27.

So, it is only fitting to add Hooker to the column.

No. 8 Tennessee took on the No. 25 LSU Tigers in Week 6, and he showed why he is getting so much Heisman love this year. Look no further than his 45-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Hyatt to give Tennessee the 20-0 lead. Just look at the perfect spiral on the throw, and it landed perfectly in Hyatt’s hands. A dime.

Hooker completed 17-of-27 pass attempts for 239 yards and two touchdowns while running for 56 yards on 10 carries, with a long measuring at 26 yards.

On the year, Hooker has thrown for 1,432 yards, 10 touchdowns, and zero interceptions, while completing 70.0-percent of his passes. He has also logged 231 yards and three touchdowns on 45 carries.

Hooker now faces the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 7. If he is to lead the Volunteers to victory and put up great numbers, that could very well be his Heisman moment.

Next Game: vs. Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET

One 2023 NFL Draft QB sleeper who turned heads in Week 6

Max Duggan, TCU

One quarterback that could be a sleeper quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft that had a buzzworthy performance was TCU Horned Frogs senior Max Duggan.

TCU entered Week 6 undefeated and on the road against the Kansas Jayhawks, who earned the ESPN College GameDay location after their win over Iowa State the week prior. They then entered a shootout against Kansas.

Duggan showed off his connection with wide receiver Quintin Johnston, who caught 14 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown. The senior also showed off what he could do with his legs, running for 55 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.

In the end, it was Duggan’s touchdown pass to Johnston with under two minutes remaining in regulation. The pass was, well, beautiful.

On the year, Duggan has completed 73.2-percent of his passes for 1,305 yards and 14 touchdowns, while throwing just one interception. Duggan has also run for 204 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.

One 2023 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Week 6

Tyler Van Dyke, Miami

This is not a negative towards Van Dyke. He had a great Week 6. It is a matter of him showing consistency between games. He needs to put up a strong showing against the Virginia Tech Hokies in Week 7.

Who are buyers in the NFL?

Here is what the top of the NFL Draft board would look like if the season ended today, according to Tankathon.

  1. Carolina Panthers (1-4)
  2. Las Vegas Raiders (1-4)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)
  4. Detroit Lions (1-4)
  5. Washington Commanders (1-4)
  6. Houston Texans (1-3-1)
  7. Atlanta Falcons (2-3)
  8. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns (2-3))
  9. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints (2-3))
  10. Seattle Seahawks (2-3)

The Carolina Panthers may very well have the No. 1 pick all locked up. Quarterback Baker Mayfield did not play well against the San Francisco 49ers, and suffered a high ankle sprain that will sideline him for the foreseeable future. Less than a day later, the Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule, and named Steve Wilks as his replacement for the remainder of the year. It may only be a matter of time until the team goes on a fire sale to secure the top pick in the draft.

When it comes to the Las Vegas Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers, they are not going to be in the market for a quarterback. Derek Carr is not the reason why the Raiders are losing games. The Steelers just drafted Kenny Pickett this year, and let’s face it, they need talent everywhere on the roster.

The Detroit Lions, Washington Commanders and Houston Texans should be looking at quarterbacks this spring. Detroit, while a feel-good story, has a horrendous defense, and they couldn’t put up any points against the New England Patriots this past week. The Commanders are stuck at the bottom of the NFC East while the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants experience early success. The Texans, much like the Steelers, need talent everywhere, and Davis Mills may not be the long-term answer at quarterback. Luckily for Houston, they will have two first-round picks this year, so they could take a quarterback and best available player.

Atlanta still needs to figure out of Desmond Ridder is the answer, and it is unknown when head coach Arthur Smith will start him. Marcus Mariota did not turn over the football once against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so a change is not happening right now.

The Seattle Seahawks have proved the doubters wrong, as did Geno Smith, who looks like the real deal. If he keeps this up, he may be the starter for the foreseeable future in Seattle.

Next. Back to school: 5 jobs Matt Rhule would crush once he returns to the college game. dark