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2023 NFL Draft: The biggest risers and fallers in the 2023 draft class

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Devon Witherspoon (31) celebrates a win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Stroud‘s stock takes a downturn: From March 10 until the start of April, Stroud was the first overall pick in 74% of the mock drafts GrindingTheMocks charted. Now, it looks like his ceiling is QB3, behind Bryce Young and Will Levis, and possibly behind non-quarterbacks such as Tyree Wilson or Will Anderson Jr.

• WR1 no more: Quentin Johnston‘s expected draft position (EDP) ranking has dropped from 14 to 26 over the last month.

• Things are looking good for Devon WitherspoonWitherspoon has moved from an EDP of No. 12 in February to his current ranking of No. 6 — a rise that could see him earn an additional $10 million over his rookie contract.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The 2023 NFL Draft is just hours away, and we will soon see where the top prospects in the class land. 

Throughout the pre-draft process, some college prospects have experienced a surge in their draft stock, while others have seen their once-promising projections plummet due to underwhelming performances, injuries or off-field issues.

Using data courtesy of Benjamin Robinson‘s GrindingTheMocks, we can take a closer look at these risers and fallers before the draft finally begins on Thursday night.

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QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Stroud will almost certainly be drafted early and make millions of dollars during his rookie contract. Still, he's fallen relative to where the consensus was on him just a few months ago. 

The Panthers' trade up to No. 1 overall was announced on March 10, and the immediate belief was that Stroud would be the pick. From that day until the start of April, he was the first overall pick in 74% of the mock drafts Benjamin Robinson charted.

Fast-forward three weeks, and it looks like the Ohio State quarterback's ceiling is QB3, behind Bryce Young and Will Levis,  and possibly even behind non-quarterbacks such as Tyree Wilson or Will Anderson Jr.

Falling out of the top five would cost him more than $10 million over his rookie contract compared to the earlier expectation that he would be the first overall pick.

C.J. Stroud's average draft position on the PFF mock draft simulator

Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson

In late February, Clemson's Myles Murphy was considered the second- or third-best edge rusher in the class and even looked like a top-10 pick, as he boasted the seventh-highest expected draft position (EDP) ranking in the GrindingTheMocks dataset.

His EDP ranking has since dropped to 19, and he might fall out of the top 20 despite putting up strong pro day numbers.

Unfortunately for Murphy, the difference between the seventh and 19th pick is almost $10 million. 

Related — Making the case for Clemson’s Myles Murphy as the No. 2 EDGE

WR Quentin Johnston, TCU

In late March, The TCU standout was considered the favorite to be the first wide receiver drafted. But as things currently stand, he might go off the board as the third or fourth wide receiver, with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers possibly being selected earlier.

Johnston's EDP ranking has dropped from 14 to 26 over the last month.

Related — 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: Wide receiver

CB Cam Smith, South Carolina

Earlier in the year, South Carolina's Cam Smith looked like a first-round pick and the potential CB3 in the class behind Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez.

His EDP was as high as 24 back in February. Right now, he sits at 44, and six cornerbacks are projected to be picked ahead of him.

The PFF mock draft simulator — trade players, picks and mock all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft! Try it today!

LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas

For a long time, the consensus considered Drew Sanders the best off-ball linebacker in the class and expected him to be drafted in the first round. Things have since changed, as he is now projected to be drafted on Day 2 behind Clemson's Trenton Simpson and Iowa's Jack Campbell.


Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

Back in February, Tyree Wilson was considered the second- or third-best edge rusher in the class. Now, he's in the mix to be the second or third overall pick and potentially the first non-quarterback off the board.

With the rookie wage scale being as steep as it is early on, he could have earned himself more than $10 million throughout the draft process by going from a fringe-top-10 pick to a potential top-three player.

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