Mel Kiper Jr. 2023 NFL Draft Big Board: QBs Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud Headline Top 5May 31, 2022
To little surprise, arguably the top two players in the 2023 draft class play at Alabama.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. released his first big board Tuesday, featuring pass-rusher Will Anderson Jr. as the top overall player ahead of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young.
Ohio State star C.J. Stroud currently sits at No. 3. Here is an early look at how Kiper sees the upcoming class:
Kiper's 2023 Big Board
1. Will Anderson Jr., DE, Alabama
2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
3. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
4. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
5. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
6. Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
7. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
8. Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
9. Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
10. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The 2022 draft was light on household names, with eventual No. 1 pick Travon Walker only one of many elite players on the Georgia defense. Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett was the only quarterback taken in Round 1, and he had a low profile heading into last season.
That shouldn't be the case this year with several big-name stars returning to college.
Young won the Heisman as a sophomore, totaling 4,872 passing yards and 47 touchdowns while leading the Crimson Tide to the title game. Stroud was nearly as good in 2021, finishing with 4,435 passing yards and 44 touchdowns.
The two top quarterbacks will likely spend next season battling for the Heisman as well as the right to be taken No. 1 overall in the 2023 draft.
Miami's Tyler Van Dyke, Florida's Anthony Richardson and Kentucky's Will Levis were also listed among Kiper's top 25 players in the class.
The nation's best player might come on the defensive side of the ball, however. Anderson finished fifth in Heisman voting last year after totaling 17.5 sacks and 101 tackles, winning the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award in the process.
The Alabama edge-rusher might not be the No. 1 pick based on need, but he won't wait long to hear his name called.
Another interesting addition to the top 10 is Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who had 1,422 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns in 10 games before an elbow injury. The last running back drafted inside the top 20 was Saquon Barkley in 2018 (No. 2), and Robinson will try to change the trend with a big year.