2023 NFL Draft: Colleges set to produce the best draft classes

Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) chases TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) during the third quarter of the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

  • Georgia tops the list: The back-to-back national champions unsurprisingly should produce the best class in the draft this year.
  • Ohio State is strong at the top: With C.J. Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Paris Johnson Jr. potentially being the first players off the board at their respective positions, no team's draft class is as strong at the top as the Buckeyes.
  • Iowa lacks names but not star talent: The Hawkeyes don't have as deep of a class as many on this list, but they do possess top-end talent that can rival most.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

As we head toward the 2023 NFL Draft, we wanted to compile a list of colleges that could produce the best draft classes from one particular program. Some have more talent at the top, some have a lot of depth, and a rare few have a bit of both.


It’s not shocking that after back-to-back national championships, the Georgia Bulldogs are once again poised to have one of the strongest draft classes in the 2023 NFL Draft. Last year, they boasted the No. 1 overall pick in Travon Walker. This year, that won't happen, but Jalen Carter is regarded as that caliber of a player (even better, to most). Nolan Smith is an elite athlete who will be drafted in the top 15, and Broderick Jones should be a top-20 lock as well. Darnell Washington has a chance to be a late first-round selection, which is why Georgia could boast another four first-rounders this time around. Kelee Ringo should hear his name called somewhere on Day 2. They could then have a handful of players throughout the final day of the draft, giving them a potential 12 drafted players this year on top of the 15 that were drafted last year.

Ohio State

Ohio State might not have as much depth in this upcoming draft class as it has had in the past, but the Buckeyes are strong at the top. Their quarterback, C.J. Stroud, could very well be the first player taken in this draft. Shortly after, Paris Johnson Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njigba could be the first players drafted at their positions, likely both in the top 20. Dawand Jones may sneak into the first round as well, but he, Luke Wypler and Zach Harrison all have a good chance of being selected somewhere on Day 2. Six players in the top three rounds would be a strong showing for any program. Additionally, three more Buckeyes could get picked somewhere on Day 3, meaning they could have double-digit players drafted this year.


For as much as people might be sick of talking about Ålabama, they were going to be included on this list — even after what was a “down year” for the Crimson Tide. Their quarterback, Bryce Young, has a chance to be the first player selected in the draft, and Will Anderson Jr. has a very good chance to be the first non-quarterback drafted. Brian Branch and Jahmyr Gibbs both have a shot to be first-rounders as well while Jordan Battle, Tyler Steen, Eli Ricks and Henry To’o To’o could land on Day 2. They’ll also have a strong group to round out Day 3 with Byron Young, D.J. Dale, Cameron Latu and DeMarcco Hellams. Like it or not, it’s another year where Alabama will be near the top of the list of “most players drafted from each program.”


It might be sneaky to some, but Michigan is once again poised to have a really nice draft class in 2023. Mazi Smith and D.J. Turner will likely be the highest-drafted players. Smith could hear his name called on Day 1, but at the very least, both of those players feel like strong top 60 candidates. Luke Schoonmaker and Olusegun Oluwatimi feel like third- and fourth-rounders while Mike Morris, Ronnie Bell and Ryan Hayes profile as early Day 3 prospects. Michigan can also check both the special team boxes at punter and kicker thanks to Jake Moody and Brad Robbins, if selected.


Illinois might not have a deep group, but the Fighting Illini have four high-impact players who could get picked within the first two days of the draft. Devon Witherspoon feels like a top-20 lock. Sydney Brown has been an impact player since his true freshman season, as he’s a versatile safety and a team captain who will be coveted on Day 2. As will his safety partner in Jartavius Martin, who is one of the most explosive athletes in the class. He has the athletic ability to play as a nickel or deep safety. Finally, Sydney’s brother, Chase, was the workhorse back for the Illini this past season. His speed will pop out right away on film, but his contact balance and determined running style are Brown's most impressive traits. All four of these players should hear their names called within the first 100 picks. 


Iowa is in a similar situation to Illinois, as the Hawkeyes do not have a ton of draftable guys, but the ones who will get drafted will likely go pretty high. Though Lukas Van Ness wasn’t a consistent starter for the Hawkeyes, his athletic potential seems to have teams enamored enough for a top-20 selection. It feels like Sam LaPorta and Jack Campbell are both likely to come off the board in Round 2. Riley Moss won’t be far behind them as a projected mid-round selection — either late Day 2 or early Day 3. When we look back on this Iowa draft class, it might not have many names, but it could feature four NFL starters.


As a team that made the national championship this past season, TCU has some good future NFL players in the pool. No, their list likely won't rival Georgia, Alabama or Ohio State, but the Horned Frogs have a good class that deserves some shoutouts. Quentin Johnston could be the first wide receiver taken, though if he’s not, he shouldn't be far behind. Steve Avila feels like a good second-round pick while Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Kendre Miller should be Round 3-5 selections. Max Duggan is coming off his best season of college ball and a decent showing in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, which should lead to him having his name called sometime on Day 3. 

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