First-Round Quarterbacks in the NFL Draft


Zoey Holmstrom | Wikimedia Commons

Elijah Blain

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will occur on April 28, and many draft analysts are focusing on the top available quarterbacks. Bryce Young from the University of Alabama is projected to be the first quarterback taken off of the board in the draft.

Young is a short quarterback, measuring at 5 foot, 10 inches tall. Other than his height, there are very few questions about Young’s talent. The Heisman-winning quarterback had an outstanding individual collegiate career at Alabama, and he won a National Championship with the Crimson Tide in 2020.

According to mock drafts by analysts like Mel Kiper and Daniel Jeremiah, he’s projected to get drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the first overall pick.

NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has CJ Stroud as his second-best. The Ohio State quarterback had an outstanding season in 2022 and impressed scouts with his performance at the Scouting Combine.

Stroud has drawn comparisons to quarterbacks like Dak Prescott, Jared Goff and Matt Ryan.

“He is quite simply a fantastic thrower of the football,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said. “He has smooth mechanics and good, not great, arm strength, and he can throw with touch to all levels of the field.”

Ohio State has a history of quarterbacks performing well in college and failing in the NFL. However, this trend might have ended with former Buckeye Justin Fields becoming the franchise quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

Anthony Richardson, a 20-year-old quarterback from the University of Florida, has had the most volatile draft stock out of any quarterback in this class. Richardson didn’t have a good season at Florida, finishing the year with 17 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a 6-6 record.

He has an overall 54.7 completion percentage in his collegiate career. For reference, Stroud and Young have career competition percentages of 69.3 and 65.8 respectively.

Despite these weaknesses, Richardson is a gifted athlete and that’s something that would be valued by any team that drafts him. He ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and set the vertical jumping record for a quarterback at the Scouting Combine. Richardson has drawn comparisons to other freakishly athletic quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Cam Newton.

Another quarterback prospect may also get drafted in the first round due to their athleticism. Kentucky quarterback Will Levis also had a mediocre 2022 season, but he may be the third or second quarterback taken in the draft because he has elite arm strength and a large body that can run over defenders. He was placed as high as the Houston Texans with the second overall pick and as low as the beginning of the second round of the draft.

Finding a franchise quarterback is crucial for rebuilding NFL teams. This is a passing league, and a young signal-caller is valuable. If they develop into All-Pro quarterbacks, it would set up the franchises for success for years to come.