2023 NFL Draft: Quarterbacks
QB Survivor, Week 3: Projecting draft pick range for each cast member
I know that there is an eagerness among Seahawks fans to declare what Seattle’s plan at quarterback should be or will be when the next offseason comes to pass. I feel it to but now is not the time to say what should be or will be, because “now” is October 20, 2022. Nothing is satisfied by saying what “should be” next year right now, because so much can change over the next four months.
Just consider how much has changed in the conversation about the Seahawks quarterback situation over the last three weeks!
Instead, I will only focus on what could be. And the Seahawks could go a number of different routes with regards to the quarterback position in 2023. They could give Geno Smith a new contract. They could draft somebody in the first round. They could draft somebody in the fifth round. They could give Drew Lock a new contract. They could make a trade.
“What if Geno Smith’s price keeps going up?!” Don’t worry about it.
“What if the Seahawks can’t get (the QB you love) in the draft?!” Don’t worry about it.
“What if the Seahawks do extend Smith and he turns out to be a flash in the pan???” My advice is to not worry about it.
Every article ranking quarterbacks in the NFL today has Geno Smith in the top-10 and that wasn’t even something that fans thought could happen when the season started, let alone something that would happen.
So as far as whether they Seahawks should or will draft a quarterback with their first pick in 2023, I say that it is not worth even exhausting your energy over until we have more information. Information that can’t exist until the season is over. But is it okay discuss what could happen? Or what you would do under certain circumstances? I think so.
I also think it is fair to say that any team without a quarterback signed to the roster next year, like the Seahawks, should be doing all of their due diligence on the incoming class of signal callers. Drafting a quarterback makes sense for a lot of reasons and Seattle is in a position to make the decision with their first pick… Or their sixth pick. That’s mostly how Pete Carroll has approached the quarterback position so far and it seems like if given the right draft board, the Seahawks could still buck that trend when they’re on the clock for the first time in April.
The Seahawks could end up with at least one top-10 pick, and as we get closer to the end of the season and the start of the draft process, it will be easier to diagnose Pete and John’s intentions to explore a quarterback with their first choice. The wide range of possibilities is also what makes QB Survivor ‘23 a worthy endeavor for any Seahawks fan who is curious about the direction that the franchise could go in the draft next year:
The QB who wins QB Survivor will not necessarily be the QB who gets his named called first. He might not even be a QB who goes in the first round or even on day two. He will be the QB who is right for the Seattle Seahawks.
That means that the QB who wins Survivor could be Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. It could also be one of the many names who won’t be in the green room.
There won’t be anybody voted out of QB Survivor this week, as Devin Leary was pulled by the medical team last week and is into the transfer portal. (The QB Survivor transfer portal, not the real one.) That leaves 21 quarterbacks on the cast headed into the eighth week of college football and the third week of QB Survivor. Leary, Jake Haener, and Taulia Tagovailoa are out of the game.
This is a list of the 21 QBs who remain and a brief summary of my thoughts on each of them. If you want to share YOUR thoughts on one or some of them, which would help the game immensely, please drop them in the comments. I know we have some personal fans here of Cameron Rising, Grayson McCall, Michael Penix, etc., and your comments will do even more to help their cases than anything that I could say!
Seasider Doug has been helping keep track of all the stats and you can check those out here.
I’m trying to keep these thoughts BRIEF so forgive me if I’m glossing over anything important… it is not intentional and you should drop a comment if I do get anything wrong or leave out anything critical!
NAMES IN NO ORDER. NO ORDER!
K.J. Jefferson, Arkansas
Dominant stats as a starter (67% completions, 35 TD, 5 INT, 1,000 rushing yards and 10 TDs since start of 2021), big arm. But something so slow and statuesque about Jefferson despite his rushing prowess. I could see Jefferson getting a bit of Carson Strong treatment: Everybody liked the arm but Strong went undrafted. He had a medical history that Jefferson doesn’t have but could Jefferson be a day three pick or undrafted? I think so.
Will Levis, Kentucky
He’s got the traits du jour and it has felt impossible to escape his name over the last nine months as draft fans went searching for “the next Josh Allen.” I just wonder how many of those people actually watched Josh Allen in college, let alone how many actually watch Levis. He has yet to play consistently good football and at age 23, that’s concerning to me. Reminds me of Malik Willis in that regard, but Willis is a better runner. However, I don’t want to confuse my disinclination for Will Levis fans for a dislike of Levis… I’m totally fine with it if he ends up becoming a great quarterback. Maybe it could happen! People see Levis as a top-10 pick, I wonder if he’ll go in the third round.
Garrett Shrader, Syracuse
I think Shrader (12 TD, 3 INT, 300 rushing yards, 5 TDs) could end up being the prospect that people thought Levis would be. He’s 6’4, 230 lbs, he can run, and he’s got Syracuse off to their best start in years. His draft range is wide because he’s still pretty new to the scene.
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest
Former Ken Walker III teammate, I think Hartman has always played really well and shows good leadership. His stats are no surprise (11 adjusted Y/A, 16 TD, 2 INT) and he threw 39 touchdowns last season, but will it translate to the NFL? I assume Hartman is a mid-round pick.
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
There are other quarterbacks surrounded with great talent (like Bryce Young for example) who still manage to stand out on their own. Does Stroud do that? I think people felt that Justin Fields did that at Ohio State, but I never saw it. I still don’t have a great read on Stroud, which I think is something that could follow him until the draft, but I’d be surprised if he’s not one of the first players picked. Stroud leads the nation in Y/A and TDs.
Will Rogers, Mississippi State
Rogers is third in TD passes behind Stroud and sophomore Drake Maye (2024 class, but if he was eligible next year, he’s probably the number one pick over Young and Stroud) but that comes on 320 pass attempts. Stroud has 160 pass attempts. Rogers, a former Charles Cross teammate, is adept at the air raid offense and while that could be a factor in his next team, does it have to be? Bailey Zappe seemed to thrive with the Patriots over the last two weeks.
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
The fastest riser in the draft this year. Hooker is second in adjusted Y/A behind Stroud and he has 15 TD, 1 INT, with 287 rushing yards. He has 46 touchdowns and only four interceptions since the start of 2021. The former Virginia Tech recruit is going to be in the running for the number one pick now after beating Bryce Young and Alabama last week. That could change between now and the end of the year, but Hooker is in the conversation now.
Tyler Van Dyke, Miami
Former four-star recruit who seemed to be nipping at the heels of Young and Stroud, but not adjusting well to a new coaching staff at Miami. Nearly voted out after a loss to Middle Tennessee State, TVD has rebounded with over 800 yards passing and five touchdowns in the last two games. I can’t even think about his draft status yet—TVD may be best served with a return to school. But a strong finish could have him back in the first round.
Anthony Richardson, Florida
If Richardson was a freshman, his current season would be acceptable. But this is his third year in college and Richardson’s numbers are absolutely terrible: 6 TD, 7 INT, 56% completions. Yes, he’s run for 395 yards and six touchdowns, but can he beat a pass defense? Some still believe that Richardson should be considered a top-three pick… I just can’t understand that. At some point a player needs to show aptitude for being a quarterback. It took Joe Burrow five college seasons to get there. Will Richardson declare for the draft anyway?
Michael Penix, Washington
I couldn’t care less what college a quarterback prospect went to, at least as far as feeling any sort of attachment or unattachment to that program. I went to Washington State, but I don’t feel any ill will towards Penix. Nor do I feel any connection to Cameron Ward. The only thing I care about is if I feel the guy can play quarterback well in the NFL. Penix has shown positive traits… he has consistently shown a few red flags, not just injury related. But those matter too. The best news of all: Penix has played in a career-high seven games. If he finishes the season out without an injury, Penix could be in the day two conversation maybe. I’m not saying he couldn’t go higher, I think that day two is MORE THAN FAIR given his entire resume.
Cameron Ward, Washington State
He would be the youngest quarterback in the class next year if he declared. I think that the Washington State coaching staff may convince him that if he returns to school (his current season is good, not great), Ward has a real shot to be a high pick in 2024. Though that is probably an even stronger class than 2023. I think Ward has been impressive, but he hasn’t been good.
Jaren Hall, BYU
From the youngest prospect in the class to the oldest, but Hall seems to have a lot of untapped potential. He’s played great (37 TD, 8 INT, good rushing prowess since the start of 2021) and his biggest knock is a lack of playing time brought on by a Mormon mission and sitting behind Zach Wilson. I like him and I think he could go earlier than people expect. Maybe late first round or early second round?
Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
One of a few lefties in the class, I believe Gabriel’s been underrated for a long time. Strong arm, great stats, he could be in that third-fourth round range, I think. He might also decide to give Oklahoma another shot to see if he can compete for a Heisman in 2023.
Jalon Daniels, Kansas
Late addition to QB Survivor, Daniels missed the most recent game with injury. Fantastic stats and like Shrader, had a non-football college off to a great start this year. Dual threat and maybe a sleeper pick for a “Jalen Hurts” type of prospect on day two. He could also make sense as a player who returns to school to raise his stock even more. But a strong finish could have Daniels in the first round conversation.
Stetson Bennett, Georgia
Even if he wins back-to-back national championships, Bennett might still be the longest long shot in this whole game! Which gives him a little more fan rooting power, probably. But is he sort of just an unexciting player in a Bryce Young body? Maybe. A win is a win, and Bennett’s won 20 of his last 21 games. He’s probably an undrafted free agent.
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
It’s hard to describe how bad the team around McCall is because Coastal is 6-1. But the team around McCall is kind of terrible. Bad defense, bad offensive line, dropped passes by receivers. McCall is the reason for all six wins. People who don’t watch McCall (as they probably didn’t watch Josh Allen or Trey Lance or Malik Willis but “heard stories”) will probably cite competition as a reason for him not being a serious prospect. That’s a stupid reason. My reason for concern is that his arm strength is not great. On two occasions this season, Coastal has put in the backup QB to throw a hail mary. However, I think a team will put McCall in the position to succeed because he could also be the smartest QB in college, the most accurate QB in college, and he’s a 6’3 dual threat. The question I probably get the most is “When will McCall be drafted?” and my gut says the fourth round.
D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson
Has put a bad 2021 behind him to post 17 TD, 2 INT, and 337 rushing yards in seven games this season. Former five-star recruit is 6’4, 250 lbs, and he might get back into top-10 talk when it’s all said and done.
Tanner McKee, Stanford
Once the number three recruit behind Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Took a long break, like Jaren Hall. Has shown promise but just not that impressive, so maybe he’s more like a day three pick than a first rounder, even though I’ve seen him mocked in the first round recently.
Bryce Young, Alabama
Still my number one prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Never seen anyone like him before. If he falls out of the top-three for any reason, that would be shocking to me.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
Maybe like “Hendon Hooker West” but not getting as much attention because he didn’t just beat Alabama. DTR is eighth in adjusted Y/A, has 15 TD, 2 INT, 231 rushing yards, and four touchdowns. This is really his fifth year as the starter and he might have finally worked himself into being considered in the top-50 picks.
Cameron Rising, Utah
I could have seen Hooker and DTR increasing their stock to this degree, even Penix, but Rising??? I had no idea. He was okay, but not great, when I watched him in 2021. He has reached another level this year and just beat USC’s Caleb Williams, potentially the top pick in 2024. (Williams, Maye, and Quinn Ewers seem like early favorites to go 1-2-3.) A month ago, I don’t even think Rising had a draftable grade. He might be one of the best QBs in college football now. Maybe Rising is in the fifth round “Sam Howell” type of range now.
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