Will Levis has been a controversial NFL draft prospect for fans who have seen his inconsistent play for Kentucky, but ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. is undeterred because of the senior quarterback's tantalizing physical traits.
In his latest big board update, Kiper has Levis ranked as the No. 2 quarterback prospect and No. 4 overall player in the 2023 class, one spot ahead of Alabama's Bryce Young.
When 2023 draft rankings began rolling out, Levis' name being included among the top-10 players caught many off guard.
ESPN's Todd McShay projected Levis to go No. 8 overall in his way-too-early mock draft released in May.
"Levis needs to find more consistency, but he has a live arm and a big 6'3", 232-pound frame," McShay wrote. "He has thrived in the quick game at Kentucky, with a lot of run-pass options and screen-type stuff, but there are some Josh Allen-like traits here for new Giants coach Brian Daboll.
Even though McShay threw out the Josh Allen comparison, Kiper actually cited Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford as a projection for Levis.
The main difference in evaluation between Levis and Young appears to be size. Levis is listed at 6'3" and 232 pounds on Kentucky's athletic website. Young comes in at 6'0" and 194 pounds, according to RollTide.com.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic noted NFL scouts expect Young's measurements will be closer to 5'10" and 190 pounds, and only two quarterbacks drafted in the past 25 years have been under six feet tall and 200 pounds (Seneca Wallace and Joe Hamilton).
Kiper wrote Young's arm strength is "more than good enough for him to be a great signal-caller at the next level."
Young is easier for casual draft observers to get a feel for because Alabama is on national television every week. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner also plays with a higher level of talent than Levis ever has in his college career.
Levis had a chance to elevate himself last week when Kentucky took on Tennessee in Knoxville. He turned in his worst performance of the season with just 98 yards passing, no touchdowns and three interceptions in a 44-6 loss.
No one will argue the Wildcats are on the same level as Tennessee as far as talent, but it would be nice to see a prospect who has a lot of questions about his ability to lead an NFL offense at least put up a strong fight under the national spotlight.