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Todd McShay 2023 NFL Draft Rankings: C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young Headline Top 5

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 17, 2022

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A pair of high-profile quarterbacks are near the top of ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay's early rankings for the 2023 NFL draft.

Ohio State's C.J. Stroud and Alabama's Bryce Young are ranked third and fourth, respectively, but defensive players primarily dominate the top five.

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. is the No. 1 overall player on McShay's big board, while Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter is second and Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith is fifth.

Both Stroud and Young were starting quarterbacks at the collegiate level for the first time last season, and each of them thrived.

Stroud finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting after completing 71.9 percent of his passes for 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Meanwhile, Young completed 66.9 percent of his passing attempts for 4,872 yards, 47 touchdowns and seven interceptions en route to winning the Heisman.

Stroud and Young are widely considered the top two quarterbacks in the nation entering the 2022 season both in terms of producing at the collegiate level and establishing themselves as potential top picks in the 2023 NFL draft.

The quarterback talent promises to be rich in the 2023 draft, as McShay also gave Kentucky's Will Levis and Miami's Tyler Van Dyke first-round grades by ranking them 21st and 26th, respectively.

If those rankings hold up, the 2023 draft will be significantly different from the 2022 draft, as only one quarterback was selected in the first round this year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers took Pitt's Kenny Pickett 20th overall, and the next quarterback didn't come off the board until the Atlanta Falcons selected Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder 74th overall in the third round.

Last season also marked the first time since 2017 and only the second time since 2015 that a quarterback didn't go first overall.

Stroud and Young are strong candidates to go No. 1 overall in the 2023 draft depending on the order, but if a team that doesn't need a quarterback picks first, Anderson could be a clear choice.

Anderson finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season after racking up a spectacular 17.5 sacks and 31 tackles for loss for a Crimson Tide team that reached the National Championship Game.

The past three non-quarterbacks to go No. 1 overall in the draft were all pass-rushers in Jadeveon Clowney, Myles Garrett and Travon Walker, meaning Anderson could be the prospect to beat at this point.

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