2023 NFL Draft Stock – Week 2

This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2023 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

2023 NFL Draft Stock Up

Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
As we reported in the Hot Press last week, Johnston is a hot name in the scouting community. Sources from five different NFL teams all really like Johnston and think he could be a top receiver for the 2023 NFL Draft.

“Johnston is a freak who will be one of the best talents at the position evaluated in a long time. The physical skill and makeup are in the Julio [Jones], A.J. [Green] realm,” texted an AFC area scout. “He’s 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and can win on all three levels. He puts up 20 yards per catch, runs great routes, is super smart, an alpha, and the hardest worker on the team.”

Johnston flashed in 2021, catching 33 passes for 612 yards and six touchdowns. While he has a good combination of talent, in speaking to directors at four other teams they weren’t ready to put him in the same category as Jones and Green.

“We like him; I like him, not enough to throw those names out there for me,” said an AFC director of player personnel. “But I do like his skill set. Size, length, tough, good speed, but not, great speed. His hands are reliable, but I don’t think his overall ball skills are top shelf. We will see how he plays this year.”

While Johnston still has more to prove with pro evaluators, they are high on him across the board, and he could end up being the top receiver prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Texas almost upset the Crimson Tide, with Longhorns defensive coordinator Gary Patterson completely out-coaching Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Young though put his team on his back to produce 10 fourth-quarter points to lead a road comeback.

Alabama was down 16-10 in the fourth quarter and the offense was struggling. Young put the Crimson Tide on his shoulders, using his legs to make some plays, including a 17-yard run that converted a critical third down, and making a superb pass for a fourth-down conversion to get inside the 30. To put Alabama in the lead, Young scrambled and found running back Jahmyr Gibbs open in the end zone to take the lead.

Late in the fourth quarter, Young made a great play to dodge a sack and then run for 19 yards to get inside the Texas 20, which set up the game-winning field goal. Young completed 27-of-39 his passes against Texas for for 214 yards and a touchdown.

Young possesses special ability for the NFL. While he is short, he sees the field extremely well and does a phenomenal job of working through his progressions. Young is a shifty runner with adequate arm strength. He looks like he could be a Kyler Murray- or Russell Wilson-type quarterback in the NFL.

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Aside from Bryce Young, Alabama’s best offensive weapon against the Longhorns was running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs did not find a lot of running lanes against the fierce Texas defense, but he put together a superb game as a receiver. In the first half, Gibbs helped get Alabama the lead by using back-to-back plays to notch 33 yards on two receptions, using his speed to get downfield and his strength to break tackles. Multiple times, Gibbs came through with clutch third-down catches that moved the chains. However, Gibbs also had a misdiagnosis on blitz protection to go for the wrong defender, and that allowed a third-down sack which forced a punt.

Gibbs came back to make a huge reception late in the fourth quarter to help get Alabama across midfield for a gain of about 20 yards. Gibbs totalled 22 yards on nine carries, but he lead the Crimson Tide in receiving with 74 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions.

For the NFL, Gibbs looks like a starter who is worthy of consideration late in the first round or in the second round. He was very impressive as a receiver against Texas, showing that he runs fluid routes, has soft hands, and does a nice job of adjusting to the ball. His performance against the Longhorns is going to help his draft stock in the months to come.

Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Last year for Pittsburgh, Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison was one of the nation’s best wideouts. Following Kenny Pickett’s departure for the 2022 NFL Draft, Addison transferred to USC to play with star head coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams. Addison had his way with Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly, who figured to be a quality test for Addison, but Addison had his way with the Cardinal defense.

In the second quarter, Addison took a wide receiver screen into the end zone, easilyy darting through the Cardinal defense from 22 yards out. Later in the second quarter, Addison got the better of Kelly for a 75-yard touchdown. On the play, Addison ran a deep post and got separation. After hauling in the deep ball, Addison broke a tackle from Kelly at the 15-yard line, and he coasted into the end zone. To start the third quarter, Addison got open running another deep post for a 48-yard gain.

Addison amassed seven catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns against Stanford. His performance showed off his deep speed, ability to create separation, route running, downfield tracking of the ball, and soft hands. Provided Addison can stay healthy, he should turn end up getting selected in the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Gervon Dexter Sr., DT, Florida
Dexter could be an early-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and his performance versus Kentucky will help his draft grade. In the first quarter, Dexter notched a tackle for a loss on a quarterback draw after Wildcats signal-caller Will Levis was bumped by the right tackle thanks to a great play by Brenton Cox. Shortly later, Dexter recorded another run stuff at the line of scrimmage. At the start of the second quarter, he had a good pressure, working off his block and chasing Levis out of the pocket.

Dexter made a very athletic play in the second quarter by diving for an interception after Cox hit Levis’ arm as he threw. After halftime, Dexter showed his rare speed for a defensive tackle by getting to the sideline to push a scrambling Levis out of bounds. A few plays later, he picked up another tackle in run support, pushing the tailback into the turf.

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Dexter is strong and tough at the point of attack while possessing surprising quickness and athleticism. He could be a nose tackle in the NFL similar to Daron Payne. Dexter’s outing against the Wildcats could help him to end up as a first- or second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

2023 NFL Draft Stock Down

Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Versus Kentucky, Richardson played horribly. He did not look like a functional starting quarterback for the next level and completed just 14-of-35 passes for 143 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Richardson was extremely raw versus the Wildcats and does not seem close to being ready to play in the NFL.

Richardson flat out lost the game for the Gators. The Florida defense played well, and both of Kentucky’s touchdowns were the direct result of Richardson interceptions. His accuracy, footwork, and field vision all need a lot of work. Richardson also has a bad tendency to throw passes with too much velocity and not help his receiver by making the ball more catchable or taking speed off the throw to let his target get turned toward the ball. Richardson will probably enter the 2023 NFL Draft, but if plays the entire season hot and cold like he has through two games, he definitely should return to school to improve better before going pro.

Justin Shorter, WR, Florida
Justin Shorter is supposed to be a project for the next, but he did not look draft-able against Kentucky. Shorter made just two catches for 26 yards and was a non-factor. Shorter is a big receiver, but he is finesse and does not use his size. He is slow, stiff, and incapable of getting separation. Shorter won’t get drafted if he keeps playing like he did against the Wildcats.

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