Eric Edholm’s top 100: Ranking prospects in 2023 NFL Draft class

The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine offered us some much-needed perspective on several prospects’ value for the April 27-29 draft in Kansas City, Missouri. There is still plenty of time for rankings to shift, with pro days upcoming and teams in information-gathering mode. But with college all-star games and the combine in the books this offseason, we have a pretty good feel for how the top of the 2023 NFL Draft can be tiered.

Here are my top 100 players in this year’s draft class.

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Anderson has the length, power and tenacity to be a DeMarcus Ware type of rusher. 

Robinson isn’t likely to be a top-five pick, just given positional value, but he’s as close to a perfect back as we’ve seen enter the league in years. He reminds me so much of LaDainian Tomlinson. Really. 

There are durability concerns due to Young’s slight frame, but the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner’s mature, poised approach and rare anticipation should make him ready from the get-go. 

Teams will need to do their due diligence on Carter’s off-field issues. On the field, Carter projects to be a highly disruptive interior presence in the NFL.

Stroud might lack some wow qualities, but ultra-clean mechanics and untapped movement skills complement his steady approach, touch and ball placement.

If he could fire off the ball a tad better and add just a little more nastiness to his game, Wilson could be an absolute game-wrecker.

I’d like to see him be a little more consistent as a run defender, but the 20-year-old is the most fluid cover corner in this year’s draft. 

Teams interested in landing Richardson might need to move up higher than they initially expected after his big NFL Scouting Combine showing.

Johnson had a few rough moments in the College Football Playoff loss to Georgia, but he’s fluid, toolsy and has starting experience at multiple spots. 

Porter made two huge steps last season, cutting down on penalties and making more plays on the ball. Then he backed it up with a really good combine performance.

Some remain worried about his speed. Others view him as someone who has to play exclusively in the slot. I disagree on both fronts and believe Smith-Njigba has the highest ceiling of the WR bunch.

Long and athletic, Jones is teeming with upside. He might eventually surpass Paris Johnson Jr. as a player, but right now, I like the Ohio State tackle just a touch better.

I’m just a tiny bit more bearish on Skoronski as a left tackle than others seem to be right now. I wonder if he’s not best suited as a left guard in the Joe Thuney mold. 

Witherspoon might be the Trent McDuffie of this class, coming up just a bit short in the measurements department but checking almost every other box. 

He possesses rare athletic traits for a big edge rusher but still lacks a little refinement in his play. With further development, Murphy could start earning comparisons to the Jaguars’ Josh Allen.

Branch could play a role similar to the one Jimmie Ward has filled for the 49ers: a hybrid defender capable of manning the slot or the post safety spot.

Ascending, Cam Jordan-style of power rusher whose game remains just a bit incomplete. Van Ness easily could end up being viewed as one of the top 10 players from this class.

Teams will have to monitor Kincaid’s recovery from a small fracture in his back. When healthy, he looks like he can become a Zach Ertz-like weapon as a move tight end.

This might seem low, but it’s not meant as a big knock on Levis. I felt similarly about Josh Allen as a prospect when he was coming out of Wyoming in 2018. Levis just needs a few years’ growth, I suspect, until we see him unleash his full potential.

The number of inaccurate throws from Boston College QBs to Flowers over the last few years makes for a frustrating watch, but the wideout has some Antonio Brown-like flourishes in his game. 

I’m not sure he’ll ever be a high-volume WR1 in the league, but Johnston’s explosive ability and YAC skill should add a big-play dimension to almost any type of offense.

Some might be unenthused about his lukewarm combine numbers, but I’m not dwelling much on those. Mayer could be this generation’s Jason Witten — as dependable as it gets for a two-way tight end.

I’ve definitely warmed to the long, bendy edge the more I’ve watched him. McDonald might never be a total-package defender, but he possesses disruptive traits.

It’s surprising more people were not buzzing about his combine performance. (Credit to my colleague Chad Reuter, though.) Even in a deeper CB class, Banks’ athleticism stood out — as does his toughness on tape.

This class’ chess piece, Gibbs has exceptional gear-shifting ability, thrives in space and can run hard in traffic when needed, even with a small frame.

Washington is a matchup nightmare and the perfect addition to an offense with an athletic passer and a bedrock run game. He can thrive as a run blocker and red-zone receiving threat.

His slight measurements and merely solid workout numbers cloud his projection just a bit, and his play strength doesn’t measure up, but Addison can be a nightmare to cover in space.

Thick-framed guard who can anchor a run game almost immediately and won’t be a liability in pass protection as long as he has some help against quicker interior rushers. 

It’s a little surprising there isn’t more buzz on Tuipulotu, who’s a hybrid rusher with interesting inside-outside versatility and a fairly high floor as an all-around defender.

Like his brother, Azeez, BJ is a bendy, twitchy edge who can run the arc in a hurry and affect the timing of an opponent’s passing game.

Tight end is a notoriously slow-developing position, and Musgrave isn’t a finished product. But if someone travels back from the future and tells me the Oregon State product eventually becomes a Darren Waller type, I won’t be shocked. (Well, besides the time travel part.)

Smith has top-10 athletic skills, strong character, toughness and high energy. But other than the Michigan game in 2021, I haven’t seen him take over much as a pass rusher.

He’s a wide-bodied blocker who had a really solid all-around combine workout and possesses guard-center potential. A possible 10-year starter at either spot.

People might be sleeping on this hard-charging, well-built QB hunter with surprising pass-rush development. Anudike-Uzomah seemed to find his way into the backfield in nearly every game this past season.

Long, athletic center who doesn’t let his height work against him. Sort of a Mitch Morse clone.

He was better in 2021 than last season for understandable reasons, but if healthy, Bresee projects to be a Zach Sieler type of penetrator.

Those expecting an Aaron Donald clone will be disappointed, but the small-package Kancey is a pretty darned good likeness with his gap-shooting quickness.

A fearless, undersized, big-play weapon, Downs’ hands are a bit shaky at times. He’s sort of a smaller-framed Jahan Dotson — though not quite as explosive.

A total outlier dimensions-wise at 166 pounds, Forbes won’t be for everyone with his incredibly lean frame. But INTs (14 in his college career, including an NCAA-record six pick-sixes) matter.

White is a converted tight end who is still learning to harness his raw, natural ability. The key will be finding the right position for White to thrive in, but he’s one to watch in a year or two.

Not yet the sum of his parts, Ringo sort of strikes me as a more athletically gifted Rasul Douglas, which means he’ll give you big plays and also some negative ones.

Dynamic speed demon who is a bit of a one-tricky pony right now. Could he be this generation’s Will Fuller?

“Dancing bear” nose tackle with surprising lateral-movement skills and strong roots against the run. To this point, though, Smith has been more flash than production.

His inspired performance vs. Will Anderson Jr. last October really put him on the map as a prospect. He’s likely to go higher than this ranking, but the first-round chatter is too rich for me, given that he’s a right tackle with average athleticism.

He’s not as athletic as Chiefs Pro Bowler Creed Humphrey, but they are cut from the same cloth. Day 1 starter with medium upside.

Mass-of-humanity right tackle with generational length who took big strides in 2022, but questions remain about his athleticism and stamina.

Johnson looks like more of a box safety than a deep-halves guy. But he can blitz, help your run defense and also offer some QB-spy potential.

Sort of a poor man’s George Kittle in terms of play style and temperament, although Kraft isn’t as athletic a receiver or dominant a blocker.

Sanders is a tricky evaluation for me. He’s rangy, can rush the passer and is just starting to round into form as a player … but he’s not there yet. Sanders might have a Kyle Van Noy-like career arc.

Campbell’s instincts and toughness show up on tape, and surprising athletic testing at the combine forced me to reconsider his ceiling as an ILB prospect.

Harrison has adequate enough length to be tried at left tackle, but I am not sure he is as athletically gifted as his sub-5.0 40-yard dash suggests.

LaPorta gets a little forgotten in this strong tight end class, but he’s a more athletic version of the Titans’ Chigoziem Okonkwo. 

Smith plays with overflowing confidence, a steely edge and aggressive, ball-hunting tendencies, but he can be grabby, too.

Thickly built plugger inside who has just enough athleticism to flash now and then, but his stat-sheet contributions will be limited.

More athletic wonder than refined player at this point, Simpson nevertheless has tools worth investing in at a certain price.

Achane has game-breaking speed as a runner, receiver and returner, but this model of playmaker hasn’t always thrived in the league.

Phillips’ lack of length could relegate him to mostly slot duty, but he’s a highly instinctive football player who should be able to shift fully to that role.

The small-framed combine 40 champ likely will be forced inside, where he hasn’t played much, but Turner has great quickness and speed.

An ascending OT prospect with left-right versatility, Bergeron also could factor in at guard. Right now, his run blocking is ahead of his pass pro.

Like a rolling ball of knives, Hall’s game lacks subtlety, but he makes up for it with his assertive, aggressive, attacking style.

Mauch profiles as a very solid guard (or center) who occasionally will have his hands full against longer, stronger and more gifted rushers.

Foskey is a body-beautiful, traits-heavy prospect with impressive length. He just stalls out too much as a pass rusher and could use more development, enabling him to harness his quality skill set.

Stevenson is a nicely built man corner who can get physical off the line with receivers, but he appears to struggle with short-area quickness.

Scott was an outside threat in college who might be asked to move to the slot in the NFL, but his big-play ability should serve him well there as a quality third option.

Of all the standout performances at the NFL Scouting Combine, Adebawore’s fine showing has me second-guessing my initial evaluation of his game the most. It will be fascinating to see how he’s used in the league.

The question now is whether Brown’s subpar athletic testing numbers will hurt him, because his intangibles are really strong.

Charbonnet is a light-footed bigger back with nice slashing ability as a first- and second-down runner, but with little third-down utility.

Injuries derailed his final college season, but Tillman has an intriguing skill set, NFL bloodlines and big-game production going for him. 

A strong showing in Senior Bowl one-on-ones appeared to raise his profile as a heavy-handed interior rusher. 

The former Nevada wideout has rewritten his narrative as an active, athletic, three-down linebacker whose positional instincts are growing.

Brents is a long-levered zone corner who had a solid Senior Bowl and showed surprising quickness in the three-cone drill (6.63 seconds) at the combine.

I see boom-or-bust potential in Ricks, who hasn’t played much or reprised the playmaking knack he displayed as a freshman at LSU in 2020.

Multiple offensive linemen at the NFL Scouting Combine singled out Harrison as one of their tougher college matchups. This ranking might be too low, frankly.

Had some eye-opening reps at the Senior Bowl, but you’d like to see more consistency and fire from a four-year starter.

His stock has been soaring since the middle of last season through the Senior Bowl. Spears projects to be a complement to a bigger back.

Not sure where he’ll be drafted after disappointing testing at the combine, but Morris’ high points suggest he has good rotational potential.

Experienced defender with nice size, versatility and production. But the sum of Battle’s parts doesn’t always add up, marred by tackling and coverage inconsistency.

Dell is an absolute gas to watch, but like with the Rams and Tutu Atwell, he could require patience and some schemed-up touches in a specialist role. 

Herbig has a pass-rush specialist profile with a high rate of disruptive plays on tape, but he also has clear positional and role limitations.

My pick for the highest-drafted non-combine player. Brooks likely fits best inside, where he held his own at the Senior Bowl. 

Long, lean playmaker with vertical ability and some circus catches to his name. Perry would be higher on this list if he made the easy grabs more consistently.

Carter has exciting potential, but he needs a good year, at minimum, in an NFL strength program — as well as a team with a clear vision of how to utilize him. 

Likely a center-only prospect, Wypler will give ground versus stronger opponents but has the athleticism to be a solid starter.

Able, willing and athletic run blocker who might have some untapped potential as a pass catcher. Turns 25 in September.

Robinson is a smaller-framed nickel defender with some versatility and a tenacious play style, but his size (5-11, 191) and athletic limitations could hold him back some.

A hard-charging back with some highlight-reel runs, Bigsby offers little on passing downs and tested below-average at the combine.

He could end up going well before the 87th overall pick in April given the shallow DT class and the potential for Dexter to put it all together at the next level.

Length (6-2 with 33 3/8-inch arms) and speed (4.36 40) combo likely gets Rush drafted higher than this, but he’s still raw as a converted receiver. 

Size (5-11, 192) will likely be a limiting factor for Smith over his career, but he runs the alley extremely well and always seems to find the ball. There’s a place in the NFL for players like that.

Evans has NFL-starter ability, but a lengthy injury history and penchant for fumbling knock him down to this area.

To’oTo’o has the diagnostic skills of a coach, but a lack of bulk and athleticism could hold him back from being a green-dot player.

He’s a player I’ve been wanting to revisit after a nice week at the Senior Bowl. Likely a big-slot candidate capable of starting, but his hands need to be more consistent.

The son of former Bucs CB Brian Kelly has a man-cover profile but has been bested at times by good vertical speed.

Later-developing prospect who showed out at right tackle last season. Morris fits an offense where he can get out on the move.

A jack-of-all-trades with good speed (4.45 40), Reed can be used as a receiver, runner and returner. Likely a WR3, but a useful one.

Wooden is a technique-versatile lineman who figures to bring energy, effort, heavy hands and surprising interior quickness to a DL rotation.

Following a lost 2021 campaign at Oklahoma, where he provided backup duties after transferring from Tennessee, Gray put his best foot forward last season. He’s a change-of-pace back with really good vision to find hidden creases.

High-character defender with surprising bend and quickness to rush inside or out, although he could do a better job shedding blocks and dealing with power.

Age, injury and system questions will hurt his chances in the draft. But Hooker’s Geno Smith-like skill set could make him a respectable starter in time.

Powerful, reliable runner who could become a fan favorite for his toughness, strong special-teams value and locker-room likability. 

Follow Eric Edholm on Twitter.

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