NFL Hot Press: Teams Feel 2023 NFL Draft Lacks Elite Talent

Teams Feel 2023 NFL Draft Lacks Elite Talent

Updated Jan. 16, 2023
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Every NFL draft has its positions of strength, and even while some years are said to be bad, there are always some good players found. All NFL franchises are looking for elite talents who can be game-changers and carry a team to competing for a championship. Two years ago, pro teams felt there were some elite prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, like tight end Kyle Pitts, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and offensive tackle Penei Sewell. For the 2022 NFL Draft, teams thought Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson were the cusp of that status, but a notch below. This year, teams feel the 2023 NFL Draft lacks elite talent overall. Sources from seven different NFL teams told the only player who had received an elite grade was Texas running back Bijan Robinson.

“Of these players that you think you could say is among the best at their position in the league in their first couple of seasons, you would only say Bijan,” said an AFC scouting director.

Robinson is viewed across the scouting community as being a complete package with size, speed, athleticism, rare instincts, rare receiving ability and excellent character.

The consensus top-two prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft have been Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson and Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. All seven team sources, however, said their organizations do not have an elite grade on either of them. As previously noted in the Hot Press, Anderson carries skill-set concerns, while teams don’t like parts of Carter’s make up namely they question his work ethic and if he really loves football. Multiple sources also question why Carter did not produce more when he was so much more talented than the blockers he was facing.

“Anderson is a heck of a player,” said the AFC scouting director. “Just not in the special category in terms of physical traits and upside that the great ones typically have. Nothing about his size, speed, or length is special. It’s all above average to good honestly.

“Carter is gifted no doubt, but I don’t see a Ndamukong Such- or Quinnen Williams-caliber of player. He may have similar size, power, and quickness to those two, but they were way more polished and productive with rushing the passer at this point. Carter is not Darrell Russell, Richard Seymour or Albert Haynesworth caliber like some of the talking heads have compared him to.”

While Robinson is the only player who has a consensus elite grade for the 2023 NFL Draft, teams feel this year’s draft has really good depth. They like the talent and depth of talent available in the middle of the first round, late in the first round, and in the second and third round. They feel the 2023 NFL Draft consists more of a quantity of solid prospects over having a number of special and elite players at the top.