In the Market: Looking at the top QB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class after Week 11

Oct 15, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) during the first quarter against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) during the first quarter against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports /

Kentucky’s Will Levis had another lackluster performance in Week 11 of the college football season. Here is how the other top quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft played in the latest edition of “In the Market.”

Week 11 of the college football season wasn’t full-blown chaos like it was the week prior. Despite that, there were some notable moments, such as the Washington Huskies eliminating the Oregon Ducks from College Football Playoff contention, and the Alabama Crimson Tide propelling the LSU Tigers to the SEC Championship Game with their win over the Ole Miss Rebels.

When it comes to quarterback play, the top prospects played relatively well. Well, there was the one exception in Kentucky’s Will Levis, who didn’t exactly impress against Vanderbilt.

Let’s take a look at how the top quarterback prospects performed in Week 11. Note, Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke will not be in this column once again, as he remained sidelined due to a right shoulder injury.

You can view previous editions of “In the Market:”

Taking Stock: How top 2023 NFL Draft QBs fared in Week 11

Bryce Young, Alabama

The Alabama Crimson Tide may be out of College Football Playoff contention, but they have embraced the role of spoiler. Quarterback Bryce Young has helped with the Crimson Tide’s goal of ruining other teams’ Playoff chances. That was evident in Week 11 when they faced the one-loss Ole Miss Rebels, whom they had the chance to eliminate from SEC Championship Game contention with a victory.

Young showed his tremendous ability to extend plays. Down 24-17 on third-and-goal late in the third quarter, Young escaped outside of the pocket after defensive end Tavius Robinson broke through from the inside of the offensive line. Young then juked a defensive back running in his direction and completed a pass to wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks in the corner of the end zone to tie the game.

Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner had a great game, completing 21-of-33 pass attempts for 209 yards and three touchdowns.

The Crimson Tide pulled off the 30-24 victory, helping the LSU Tigers clinch the SEC West.

Next Game: vs. Austin Peay Governors on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 12:00 p.m. ET

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

C.J. Stroud didn’t have a monstrous statistical game last week against the Northwestern Wildcats due in part to the weather and the Ohio State Buckeyes leaning on the running game. Well, Stroud was back, as Ohio State blew out the Indiana Hoosiers.

The Buckeyes got off to an early 21-0 lead, thanks in part to two touchdown passes from Stroud. His second touchdown of the quarter came on a stellar 58-yard pass to wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. A perfect spiral that hit Harrison right in the gloves.

NFL fans who want their team to draft a quarterback have to be salivating after watching that throw.

Stroud completed 17 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns on 28 attempts.

The junior quarterback has two more games (at minimum) to make his case to win the Heisman.

Next Game: at Maryland on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Will Levis, Kentucky

Let’s face it, Will Levis is going to be drafted for his skillset, intangibles, and traits. NFL teams are not looking at the final score of games. But Levis’ performance against the lowly Vanderbilt Commodores in Week 11 is not going to excite fans of NFL teams who will be interested in him through the pre-draft process.

Levis once again had issues standing in the pocket, as the offensive line broke apart and allowed him to get sacked four times in the game. But there were some puzzling decisions in the game, such as his pass to Tayvion Robinson, who was covered tightly by two Vanderbilt defensive backs. It was the epitome of a “prayer pass” — throw it up and hope his receiver leaps over two defenders to catch it.

The Kentucky Wildcats lost 24-21 to Vanderbilt, who ended their 26-game losing streak to SEC teams. Levis completed just 11 passes for 109 yards on 23 attempts, while throwing one interception. This is now the third consecutive week that he has thrown for less than 200 yards.

Levis will be in for a huge test, as he takes on the No. 1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, a team that held Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker without a touchdown.

Next Game: vs. Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov.19 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Anthony Richardson, Florida

Last week, Anthony Richardson had a solid showing against the Texas A&M Aggies, accounting for four touchdowns in the 41-24 victory. Richardson had yet another good showing against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Week 11.

Richardson made an immediate impact with his legs, running for a three-yard touchdown on Florida’s opening drive of the game. But when it comes to his arm, there is perhaps no better throw than his touchdown pass to wide receiver Ricky Pearsall. Just look at how much velocity the football had when flicking his wrist on the cross-body throw, and it landed directly in the arms of Pearsall.

This is the upside Richardson could bring to an NFL team whenever he declares for the draft. It is exciting to think of what some coaches could draw up for him in the pros.

In the 38-6 win, Richardson completed 11-of-23 pass attempts for 112 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 96 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.

Next Game: at Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

Hendon Hooker was held without a touchdown for the first time this season when the Tennessee Volunteers took on the Georgia Bulldogs. The loss subsequently bounced Tennessee from the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. But the team had a chance to rebound, as they took on the Missouri Tigers.

The Volunteers steamrolled the Tigers for a huge 66-24 victory. Hooker loaded up the stat sheet through the air and on the ground. In regards to the latter, he showed off his speed and juking ability on his 14-yard touchdown run to extend Tennessee’s lead to 28-14.

Hooker threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns while completing 25-of-33 pass attempts, in addition to running for 50 yards and one touchdown on eight carries.

Next Game: at South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m. ET

One 2023 NFL Draft QB sleeper who turned heads in Week 11

Michael Penix Jr., Washington

The Washington Huskies had the biggest win of Week 11, thanks in part to the play of junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

Facing Oregon and Heisman hopeful Bo Nix, Penix overcame what could’ve been a costly interception. But on their following drive, down 34-27, Penix connected with a wide-open Taj Davis for a 62-yard, game-tying touchdown.

Washington went on to win 37-34 in overtime to hand Oregon their second loss of the season, essentially eliminating their rivals from Playoff contention.

Penix completed 26-of-35 pass attempts for 408 yards and two touchdowns while throwing the aforementioned interception.

One 2023 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Week 11

Will Levis, Kentucky

Levis hasn’t thrown for over 200 passing yards since Kentucky played Mississippi State on Oct. 15. He has looked far from a top quarterback prospect in the past three games. Now, he has to face Georgia’s ruthless and dominant defense. It will be interesting to see if he can turn things around in Week 12.

Who’s buying in the NFL?

Here’s what the Top 10 of the 2023 NFL Draft would look like if the season were to end today, per Tankathon.

  1. Houston Texans (1-7-1)
  2. Las Vegas Raiders (2-7)
  3. Carolina Panthers (3-7)
  4. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints (3-7))
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)
  6. Chicago Bears (3-7)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos (3-6))
  8. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams (3-6))
  9. Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns (3-6))
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)

The Houston Texans added yet another loss to their record, as they fell to the New York Giants 24-16. The battle for the No. 1 pick may already be over, as the Texans seriously don’t look like they’ll win another game this season. They need help all across the roster, but getting their franchise quarterback should be a priority.

Las Vegas may be the biggest disappointment of the 2022 season. This was a team that made the playoff last year and made some huge additions. Yet, they are 2-7 after they lost to the Indianapolis Colts, who had Jeff Saturday as interim head coach. Saturday’s only coaching experience was at the high school level. Josh McDaniels received assurances that he would return in 2023. They will be in the running for a Top Five pick at this rate. While that would put them in the running for a quarterback, let’s not forget that this regime signed Derek Carr to a three-year contract extension this offseason.

The Carolina Panthers are playing hard under interim head coach Steve Wilks and won their third game of the season at the expense of the Atlanta Falcons. While the Panthers would receive the No. 3 pick, they’re in contention for the NFC South. That’s how bad the division is this season.

When it comes to the Seattle Seahawks, they’re probably not in the market for a quarterback considering how Geno Smith has played this season. But, if they can’t reach an agreement, you can put the Seahawks on the list of potential quarterback buyers in the NFL Draft.

The Detroit Lions are back in the Top 10, and it’s not even their pick. They are at No. 8 with the Los Angeles Rams’ pick. The Rams look like they’re spiraling out of playoff contention, and they took a hit with star wide receiver Cooper Kupp undergoing tightrope surgery after suffering a high-ankle sprain. The team is a disaster, but they won the Super Bowl last year, so there’s that.

Teams like the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to draft someone who will help their quarterback.

Next. Red Flags: 5 CFB teams on upset alert in Week 12. dark

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