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2023 NFL Draft: Strengths, weaknesses and NFL roles for PFF's top 100 prospects

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) reacts after a stop against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and NFL fans are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the next generation of stars.

While each player brings a unique set of skills and talents to the field, there are certain roles and responsibilities that can make or break their success in the league. Here, we'll take a closer look at where each prospect shines and what they can do to improve, according to PFF's draft guide.

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1. QB Bryce Young, Alabama

Where he wins: Playmaking

Young has that creative mindset that we're seeing take over the NFL at quarterback. He's good in structure, but when Young breaks the pocket, he's capable of special plays.

What's his role? Creator

Young is the kind of talent that you turn the keys over to as an offensive coordinator. You can trust him to make the necessary adjustments to the called concepts for them to be successful. He just sees the game so well.

What he can improve: Size

While his height isn't changing, Young could stand to add some muscle to his frame simply for injury avoidance. He's never going to have Josh Allen‘s risk-aversion when it comes to contact, but taking some big hits is unavoidable at the position.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class.


2. DI Jalen Carter, Georgia

Where he wins: Power

Carter puts out teaching tape every week on how to explode into contact, and the results speak for themselves. He can really jolt an offensive lineman on contact.

What's his role? Versatile DT

Carter's frame trends more toward a three-technique, but he's more than capable of lining up anywhere between the tackles and making plays.

What he can improve: ??

Anything I put here will be a minor gripe, so I'm not going to quibble. Carter has the goods.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


3. EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

Where he wins: Bend and burst

It's a deadly combination. You won't find too many edge rushers who can match him in both, and the ones who can are the elite players at the position.

What's his role? Every-down EDGE

Plug him in and don't worry about subbing him out. Anderson is reliable as can be and will likely have to be accounted for with chips off the edge in time.

What he can improve: Pass-rush diversity

Anderson didn't have to be a technician to win at the collegiate level. He showed great hand usage already, but refining it into a complete pass-rushing package will make him nearly unblockable.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


4. CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

Where he wins: Processing Speed

You want 11 defenders that see the game the way Witherspoon does. With 2,334 snaps to his name, Witherspoon has seen it all, and it shows on tape. Expect him to get his hands on a ton of footballs in the league.

What's his role? Island No. 1 CB

Witherspoon has the kind of reliable man coverage skillset that enables him to play on an island consistently. Due to his ball production, you may think he's a boom-or-bust type of cornerback, but he's not that by any means.

What he can improve: Penalties

This is a very minor gripe, but I could see Witherspoon's play style leading to a lot of illegal contact penalties in the league. He already accumulated six penalties in 2022 and five in 2021.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 

PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide is available for download to all PFF+ subscribers. Click here to download the guide today! 

5. T Peter Skoronski, Northwestern

Where he wins: Hands

Hand usage is a make-or-break trait for a lot of prospects. When you see someone as adept with their limbs as Skoronski is, it makes you feel great about how they'll translate to the NFL.

What's his role? Versatile OL

Considering Skoronski's skill set, it's not ridiculous to envision him slotting in at any of the five offensive line positions. Chances are that someone will give him a shot at tackle to start with the proliferation of shorter arms at that position around the NFL.

What he can improve: ??

There are truly not many reasons for concern on Skoronski's tape. Continuing to get stronger will obviously help his cause at the NFL level, but it's not like he's a liability in that regard at the moment.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


6. QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Where he wins: Accuracy

Our charting data would say Stroud is the most accurate quarterback in this class (although having a lot of open wide receivers can skew that a little). Almost never misses layups and errs on the safe side with misses.

What's his role? Pocket passer

Stroud excels over the middle of the field and at the intermediate range. If you want to win from the pocket in the NFL, that is precisely where you need to be able to attack.

What he can improve: Poise under pressure

He'll get trial by fire in this regard next season, as few teams drafting early have great a offensive line. After playing with one of the best offensive lines in college football, it will be a far cry from what he's been used to.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


7. QB Will Levis, Kentucky

Where he wins: Field-Expanding Arm

Levis is able to attack tight windows at every level of the football field fearlessly. He pairs that with nimble feet to get out of sticky situations in the pocket. That's the combo most elite QBs have in the NFL.

What's his role? Downfield passer

Levis' biggest strength is his ability to work the middle of the field with drive throws to the deep and intermediate ranges of the field. It's a skill that few possess, which is why he's so in demand as a prospect. Any scheme that consistently works there is one that would fit Levis' strengths.

What he can improve: Consistent footwork

While his decision-making has been criticized due to 23 interceptions over the last two years, his turnover-worthy play rates aren't bad at all. No, it's the accuracy that's my biggest concern, and it starts from the bottom up. Levis can't afford to be as sloppy with his feet as he was this past season (although turf toe may have played a factor).

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


8. RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

Where he wins: Completeness

Robinson has answers for everything. He can run with power, speed or elusiveness. He set the PFF single-season broken tackle record this past fall with 104.

What's his role? Feature back

Robinson is more than just a bell cow. He's a back you make the focal point of your offense. Whether that's 15-plus carries a game or scheming up targets as a receiver, you want the ball consistently in his hands.

What he can improve: Fumbles

This is about the only thing that really moves the needle negatively with Robinson. His six fumbles on 539 carries could stand to get cleaned up.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


9. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Where he wins: Technical Savvy

JSN processes the game like it's in slow motion. His ability to break off routes without warning and catch the ball as he's changing directions is unmatched in the class.

What's his role? Slot

JSN ran 83.0% of his routes from the slot in his career, where he proved to be a sure-handed receiver who possessed the short-area speed to separate from defenders and consistently move the chains.

What he can improve: ??

It's not to say there's nowhere JSN can improve, but rather that the most deficient areas of his skill sett all revolve around purely physical tools.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


10. TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah

Where he wins: Natural receiving ability

Kincaid has all the uncoachable aspects of being a receiver in spades. Whether it's adjusting to balls, setting up defenders, or subtle movements after the catch, Kincaid has all of it.

What's his role? Move tight end

I know that “move” tight ends were a relative fad that has been phased out in recent years, but Kincaid has enough ability to make an impact if he were qualified as a receiver alone. That should be the bar for the “move” tight end designation.

What he can improve: Muscle mass

We don't have to harp on it too much, but it's worth noting that there were only three tight ends in the NFL last season listed at 240 pounds or below. It's not unheard of, but he's a relative outlier.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


11. QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

Where he wins: Tools

Richardson has one of the best combinations of arm strength, size and running abilty of any quarterback prospect in the PFF College era. Although he needs serious improvement as a passer, his rushing ability gives him a high floor.

What's his role? Offensive weapon

Richardson can expand a playbook in every way imaginable. You can draw up any run concept you want for him to tote the rock, and no downfield concept will be too deep for his arm to hit. If you're not getting him touches, even if he's a backup, you're missing out.

What he can improve: Consistent Fundamentals

Richardson flashes “it” — the ability to stand confidently in a tight pocket, put his cleats in the ground and deliver strikes down the field. That's difficult to coach into a quarterback if they've never shown it. But that too often all goes out the window when he's forced to adjust in the pocket and is left making his right arm do all the work.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 

PFF's 2023 NFL Draft Guide is available for download to all PFF+ subscribers. Click here to download the guide today! 

12. CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Where he wins: Movement Skills

Gonzalez's combination of size, twitch and smooth hips makes it look like he's playing on “easy” mode. He rarely gets left in the dust.

What's his role? Versatile CB

On tape, Gonzalez is the most scheme and alignment versatile corner in the class. Press, off, man, zone, outside, inside – Gonzalez can do it all.

What he can improve: Playing with an edge

The only thing keeping Gonzalez from being CB1 and a top-five pick is his mentality. If you can light a little fire under him, Gonzalez will be stud in the league.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


13. EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia

Where he wins: Quickness

Smith could have gotten to quarterbacks at will in a scheme that allowed him that sort of freedom. Instead, he turned his lethal first step into being a serious difference-maker in the run game.

What's his role? 3-4 OLB/Wide 9 DE

While he can likely take on tight ends head-up, Smith probably can't venture too far inside of that without his size becoming an issue. He's still an every-down player despite that.

What he can improve: Size

There wasn't a single starting NFL edge defender listed at under 240 pounds last season. Smith looks like he can overcome that on tape, but he will be an outlier.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


14. DI Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh

Where he wins: Twitch

Kancey is a wound-up defensive tackle who does everything with urgency. His hands are just as quick as his feet, and he knows how to use both.

What's his role? Penetrating three-technique defensive tackle

If you're asking him to play inside, you better allow Kancey the freedom to get upfield. He simply can't be a hold-the-point DT. His skill set is also intriguing for some rotational reps on the edge.

What he can improve: Playing under control

The size shortcomings aren't going anywhere, but Kancey is much better at working around them when his hands aren't in such a hurry.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 

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