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The Top 2023 NFL Draft Prospects After the College Football Regular Season

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

The 2023 college football regular season has come to an end, and several players have emerged as top prospects for the 2024 NFL Draft. As scouts flock to postseason all-star games like the Senior Bowl, here is a look at the current top-20 senior prospects heading into draft season:

1. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The strong-armed Levis has all the physical tools NFL teams want in a franchise quarterback. He stands 6’3” and has a rocket arm to push the ball downfield. Levis is also a good athlete who can throw on the run. He put up solid numbers this season despite injuries and struggles from his supporting cast. Levis needs to improve his decision making, but his high ceiling will make him hard to pass up early in round one.

2. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

The most talented running back in the 2023 draft class, Robinson has a nice blend of power and elusiveness at 6’0” and 220 pounds. He rushed for over 1,500 yards this season by breaking tackles and ripping off big gains. Robinson also flashed as a receiver, showing the versatility to be a true three-down back. His heavy college workload is a slight concern, but Robinson projects as a day one NFL starter.

3. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

Johnson looks like a future NFL left tackle with his size (6’6”, 310 pounds), length, footwork and fluid mobility. He gained valuable experience starting at right tackle for Ohio State this season before recently sliding over to left tackle. Johnson’s pass protection skills are further along than his run blocking, but his upside has him ticketed for the top half of round one.

4. Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

Bresee has been a dominant interior defensive lineman when healthy. He faced adversity by tearing his ACL early last season but came back looking refreshed in 2023. At 6’5” and 300 pounds, Bresee combines strength, quickness and pass rushing moves that helped him record 15.5 tackles for loss and 9 sacks this year. He projects as an impact, three-down defensive tackle in the NFL.

5. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

The speedy Gibbs took over as Alabama’s lead back this season and showed huge playmaking upside. He has tremendous burst when hitting holes and the elusiveness to turn any run into a touchdown. Gibbs is also dangerous catching passes out of the backfield. His relatively smaller frame at 5’11”, 200 pounds leads to some ball security and injury concerns for a lead NFL back. But Gibbs’ big-play ability should make him a first-rounder.

6. Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Addison is a smooth route-runner who knows how to separate from coverage using precise footwork and head fakes. As the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner in 2021 at Pitt, Addison again posted big numbers for USC this season when healthy. His smaller size (6’0”, 175 pounds) will turn off some teams, but his advanced skills catching and running after the catch make him one of this draft’s top playmakers.

7. Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

Sanders is a versatile defender who stuffed stat sheets this season with a whopping 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. The former 5-star recruit began his career at Alabama before shining in a starting role for Arkansas this year. Sanders has the size (6’5”, 233 pounds), athleticism, technique and non-stop motor desired in a high first-round linebacker.

8. Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

A former cornerback, Johnson offers exciting positional versatility for NFL defenses. He is physical enough at 6’3”, 195 pounds to play in the box against the run, while also flashing above average coverage ability when dropping back. Johnson broke out this season by recording 117 tackles, 8 pass breakups and 3 interceptions. His development curve is appealing, especially as multi-dimensional safeties become more valuable.

9. Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Skoronsk has outstanding technique after starting at left tackle for Northwestern since his freshman season. His sound footwork, leverage, balance and hand strength allow him to negate both speed and power rushers. While only 6’4” and a bit below average in length, Skoronski’s elite fundamentals and high floor should make him one of the top tackles drafted.

10. Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

The aggressive, ball-hawking Smith emerged as one of the nation’s top playmakers in the secondary this season. He broke up 14 passes and pulled down 3 interceptions while regularly locking down opposing receivers. Smith’s speed and quickness make him extremely tough in man coverage. His smaller build at 6’0”, 188 pounds shows up against bigger receivers and hurts his overall tackling contributions. But Smith has clear Pro Bowl ability as a cover corner.

11. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Mayer boasts impressive size at 6’4” and 265 pounds along with great technique and contested-catch skills. He uses his frame and strong hands to box out defenders, dominating down the seam and in the red zone. While Mayer won’t burn many defenses vertically, he projects as a reliable mid-range target and powerful run blocker. Tight end has become a premium position, elevating Mayer into likely first-round consideration.

12. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

The Colorado transfer flashed shutdown corner traits during his first season with the Ducks. Gonzalez has ideal length at 6’2” along with fluid hips and make-up speed to stay glued to receivers. He broke up 16 passes this season, also using his long arms to disrupt throwing lanes. Gonzalez must improve his tackling consistency but profiles very well as an outside corner.

13. Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

The latest top defensive back prospect developed by Penn State, Porter boasts prototype size, speed and ball skills for the position. He broke out this season as a full-time starter, pulling down 11 pass breakups and 2 interceptions while allowing little separation. Porter still has some technique work ahead, but his 6’2”, 194-pound frame and bloodlines (son of former NFL linebacker Joey Porter Sr.) check major first-round boxes.

14. Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Wilson exploded onto NFL radars this season after standing out as one of college football’s most dominant pass rushers. He racked up 14 tackles for loss and 7 sacks by blowing by offensive tackles with his burst off the line. Wilson is still developing secondary pass rush plans, but he provides major upside thanks to his 6’6”, 275-pound frame and outstanding get-off speed.

15. Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

Nicknamed “Megatron,” Washington fits that moniker with a enormous 6’7”, 270-pound build. He missed time this season due to injury but still flashed high upside as both a red-zone threat and powerful blocker. Washington is sudden for his size and could develop into an matchup nightmare if he expands his route tree. His two-way blocking and receiving potential makes him one of the draft’s more intriguing weapons.

16. Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

Downs has been one of college football’s most prolific receivers over the past two seasons while playing with mediocre North Carolina quarterbacks. He is extremely quick and slippery out his breaks, creating significant separation on patterns like digs and slants. Downs also packs more punch and tackle-breaking skill in his 5’10”, 175-pound frame than expected. He projects as an elite NFL slot receiver.

17. Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Branch has made plays all over the field as a versatile safety and nickel defender for Alabama. His explosive closing burst shows up constantly on tape, whether he is blitzing, making stops near the line of scrimmage or flying downhill on receivers. Branch also holds up well covering the slot and can match tight ends. His do-it-all skill set gives him early round appeal.

18. Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M

The fifth-year senior developed into a lockdown cover man for the Aggies defense this season. Jones has ideal length at 6’2” and put his fluid movement skills to use by crowding receivers off the line. He projects well to a press-man scheme after allowing just a 41% completion rate this year. Jones does still need some work on locating and attacking the ball in the air. But his coverage talents warrant Day 2 consideration.

19. Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama

To’oTo’o was a tackling machine in his second SEC season after transferring from Tennessee. He stacked up over 100 stops again while acting as a strong run defender and reliable last-line pass defender. To’oTo’o took clear steps towards becoming a more complete linebacker this season even if he lacks elite explosiveness. His processing speed, block shedding and reliable tackling will make him a solid NFL starter.

20. Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida

Dexter broke out this season as a junior despite playing on a struggling Gators squad. He was consistently disruptive behind the line of scrimmage, piling up 11 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. Dexter combines a powerful 6’6, 305-pound frame with improved initial quickness and hand technique to create more penetration. His best football is still ahead, giving him enticing upside as a prospect.

That covers the initial list of top senior prospects to watch heading towards the 2024 NFL Draft. As the draft process moves forward, these rankings will change based on performance in all-star games, the NFL Combine, pro days and team interviews. But after strong final college seasons, these 20 players have significantly boosted their draft stock early in the process.

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