NFL Draft News & Analysis

2023 NFL Draft: PFF analysts name their favorite draft prospects

29. Saints (from San Francisco 49ers via Dolphins and Broncos) – Will McDonald, DE/OLB, Iowa State Syndication The Des Moines Register

The 2023 NFL Draft is finally here. In just under eight hours, the Carolina Panthers will be on the clock and the first round will officially be underway.

For the analysts at PFF, this time of year means it's time to reveal their annual “My Guys” list, in which each analyst selects their favorite prospects from the draft class.

The analysts have spent countless hours watching and grading every single one of these NFL hopefuls, so this list offers a unique insight into the players who could have what it takes to excel at the next level.

More PFF draft content:

LIVE Draft Tracker | Mock Draft Simulator | 2023 NFL Draft Guide
Top 200 Big Board  | 
PFF Mock Drafts | Measureables & Workout Data
NCAA Premium Stats | Draft Rankings By Position | Prospect Superlatives

Sam Monson: Edge Will McDonald IV, Iowa State

Big board rank: 29
Mock draft ADP: 33.3

McDonald is the most natural, twitchy and gifted pass-rusher in this draft, and that’s despite being plugged into a system at Iowa State that didn’t often put him in his natural position to showcase that talent.

All the focus is on other players to rival Will Anderson Jr. as the best edge rusher in this class, but McDonald has the best tape to bring to the table.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Steve Palazzolo: C John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota

Big board rank: 35
Mock draft ADP: 43.8

John Michael Schmitz is one of the best run-blocking centers we’ve seen since PFF started grading college in 2015. He has the top per-play run-blocking grade as a zone blocker and continued that dominance as the top-graded offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl.

He could stand to improve in pass protection, but he fires off the ball on reach blocks, reminiscent of another player who had an average workout and became one of the best centers in the league — former first-rounder Travis Frederick.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Trevor Sikkema: T Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse 

Big board rank: 65
Mock draft ADP: 64.9

Bergeron’s measurables might keep him from being a first-round pick, but his talent and versatility tell you he belongs in that Day 1 conversation. His long-term outlook might be at guard, but even if that’s the case, he’ll be a starting-caliber player with a good feel for pass protection and a good combination of leverage and leg drive in the run game.

He just looks like a natural and a future starter at the pro level.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Gordon McGuinness: CB Julius Brents, Kansas State

Big board rank: 68
Mock draft ADP: 53.8

He’s long. He’s explosive. He’s agile. Most importantly, his coverage numbers were good, as he gave up a catch on just 46.2% of the 52 passes thrown into his coverage in 2022. He forced two fumbles and recorded four interceptions this past season, and he missed just four of the 50 tackles he attempted.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Anthony Treash: Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia

Big board rank: 13
Mock draft ADP: 13.5

Smith is closer to being the top edge rusher in this year's class than most people think — the Georgia Bulldog has the flexibility, hand usage and all-around athletic profile to make an impact at the NFL level.

He might be undersized and lacking any power element, but the former five-star makes up for it in the run game with teach-tape technique, which is no surprise considering the program he hails from.

Given the role Smith played in Georgia's defense, expect him to cook even more at the NFL level when let loose on the edge.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Ben Linsey: TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa

Big board rank: 43
Mock draft ADP: 58.3

LaPorta ranked third among FBS tight ends in receptions over the last two seasons, finishing behind only Michael Mayer and Brock Bowers, and he tested above the 85th percentile at the position in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, shuttle and three-cone.

This year’s tight end class is stronger than other recent classes, but LaPorta shouldn’t be getting lost in the shuffle. 

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Ben Brown: CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia

Big board rank: 66
Mock draft ADP: 33.4

At some point, it just makes too much sense. Ringo has the prototypical size for the position, runs a sub-4.4 40 and is coming off two productive seasons playing on the best defense in college football. And he is yet to turn 21 years of age.

As a 19-year-old, he ranked in the 94th percentile for Wins Above Average (WAA) generated among cornerbacks. His three-cone raises concerns, but with the current direction of NFL coverage units, Ringo is a perfect fit at the press spot in the two-high look.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Brad Spielberger: ED Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State

Big board rank: 32
Mock draft ADP: 45.2

Dips inside shoulder well under the reach of tackles

He has a clear plan for each snap, gets upfield quickly and will draw a lot of holds

 His bull-slip move against Texas Tech for a sack was a thing of beauty

Plays through contact but could have better counters (his occasional spin could be sharper)

Anudike-Uzomah just turned 21 years old and is well ahead of schedule as an edge rusher, with his 89th-percentile broad jump and 91st-percentile three-cone showing up on tape. In a class lacking many clear-cut top-end talents, I’m confused about why he’s not a consensus first-round pick.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

John Owning: DI Mazi Smith, Michigan

Big Board Rank: 36
Mock Draft ADP: 34.6

At 6-foot-3 and 323 pounds, Smith pairs ideal size and strength to go with notable athleticism (No. 1 on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks list) for a nose tackle who lives between the A-gaps.

At Michigan, Smith wasn’t able to leverage his top-shelf athleticism due to playing in a two-gapping role that forced him to read and react rather than play forward and create backfield havoc, but in the NFL, he should get more opportunities to show off his athletic gifts.

Smith should grow into the cornerstone of a team’s run defense while displaying more promise as a pass-rusher than he ever showed at Michigan with time.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Jon Macri: LB Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati

Big board rank: 113
Mock draft ADP: 169.6

He’s small, but he can do it all! Pace’s speed and movement skills at the second level allow him to be an effective run defender and to beat blocks before they get to him. He brings significant blitz upside, as well as coverage skills that he showcased during Senior Bowl week.

He’s a great modern linebacker for teams to take a shot on early on Day 2.

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

John Kosko: WR Jonathan Mingo, Mississippi

Big board rank: 83
Mock draft ADP: 63.5

Mingo is a physical wide receiver with the explosiveness and quicks to win at all levels of the field. He suffered from poor QB play and should be better at the next level. His release package is excellent, he does a good job of quickly stacking cornerbacks and he combines that with great ball skills.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Aaron Bloch: G Atonio Mafi, UCLA

Big board rank: 190
Mock draft ADP: 225

Last year, in his debut season as a full-time starter, Mafi was a human highlight reel on the interior of that Bruins line. Despite beginning his college career as a defensive tackle, he successfully transitioned to playing offensive line before the 2020 season and displayed remarkable talent. His 88.3 run-block grade last season ranked third in the nation among guards.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Jim Wyman: RB DeWayne McBride, UAB

Big board rank: 98
Mock draft ADP: 138.2

McBride may hail from a smaller program, but he was a man among boys every time he set foot on the gridiron. The last time we saw him on a football field, he absolutely demolished Louisiana Tech’s defense for 272 yards on just 16 carries to earn a 99.9 PFF grade.

His lowest season-long rushing grade is an elite 90.5, which came in 2021. The only real knock against him is that he was a non-factor as a receiver, as he saw just four targets and caught two passes all season. But despite his lack of receiving prowess, he’s such a physical and powerful runner that he’s going to make a team very happy in the middle of the draft.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Dalton Wasserman: S Anthony Johnson Jr., Iowa State

Big Board Rank: 90
Mock Draft ADP: 189.4

Johnson successfully moved inside to safety after starting at cornerback over his first four years at Iowa State. His competitiveness and versatility are among the multiple reasons he has vaulted up the big board. He is surprisingly aggressive in the run game, plays effectively in a two-high shell and showcases his press-man skills against slot receivers and tight ends.

Johnson Jr. will fit seamlessly into NFL nickel defenses and will only get better with more experience at the position.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class

Martyn Carlisle: WR Marvin Mims, Oklahoma

Big board rank: 75
Mock draft ADP: 128.8

Mims broke out as a true freshman in 2020 and has continued to produce every year despite an ever-changing QB situation in Oklahoma. He averaged 2.95 yards per route run throughout his college career, eighth among Power Five receivers over the last three years, ahead of the likes of first-round talents and NFL successes Chris Olave and Drake London.

He showed elite downfield speed throughout his time at Oklahoma and ran a 91st-percentile 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine. Mims possesses the big-play ability that every NFL team dreams of having, and he is likely to be available on Day 2.

Click here for a detailed analysis of the top 200 players in the draft class


Safety worth way more than 2 points. Help protext your family with fast, affordable life insurance. You could be covered in 10 minutes! Get a Free Quote.

NFL Draft Featured Tools

  • Live picks, grades and reaction to the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • 250+ three-page scouting profiles - advanced stats, 3-year grades, player comps, combine data and Senior Bowl grades - for the 2023 draft class.

    Available with

  • PFF's Big Board for the 2024 NFL Draft offers three-year player grades, combine measurables, position rankings, and in-depth player analysis for all of the top draft prospects.

    Available with

  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NCAA player performance data.

    Available with


Unlock all tools and content including Player Grades, Fantasy, NFL Draft, Premium Stats, Greenline and DFS.

$9.99 / mo
$79.99 / yr