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Fans will see an unfamiliar sight in the early rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. From a middle-school-sized receiver, to his tight end with a comic-book supervillain-like physique, and prospect already on his way to earning his AARP card, his class in this year’s draft is focused on field strategy and his NFL skills. reflect a tipping point in the priorities of The NCAA is doing business.
Here are some of the trends that became apparent when Commissioner Roger Goodell started calling names at the first round in Kansas City, Missouri on April 27th.
action figure corner back
The available cornerbacks are so big, athletic and impressive that it’s a wonder anyone caught a pass last fall Saturday.
Joey Porter Jr. (The son of a former All-Pro linebacker, Pennsylvania), who stands over 6-foot-2, ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Christian Gonzales (Oregon) was 6 feet 1 tall and ran 40 meters in 4.38 seconds. Kelly Ringo (Georgia) measured 6 feet 2,207 pounds and performed a 4.36 second sprint.
Even in the lower tiers of the draft board, there are plenty of cornerbacks who are not only tall, but physical, very confident and downright graceful.
“We may be starting to see some of the Legion of Boom effect,” said Jim Nagy, executive director of the Senior Bowl, a pre-draft event for college talent. Nagy previously served as a scout for the Seahawks during the team’s Super Bowl heyday in Seattle, where he had back-to-back road trips in 2013 and 2014. Playing cornerback around PopWarner-level athletes or urged the coach to place them in the position.
Whatever the cause, the 2023 draft class is brimming with cornerback talent.
Eric Garko, Director of Operations for the East-West Shrine Bowl said: , he’s one of several pre-draft events that serve as job fairs for NFL prospects. “I don’t want to see this person off”
Every draft class has small, very fast receivers, but there are plenty of prospects at the top of the board this year that look like some breakfast buffet too light for the junior varsity team.
Open attacking styles like air raids allow lighter receivers to succeed at the college level, and NFL coaches have adopted similar tactics to help featherweight receivers get flattened by nearby hefty defenders. prevent it from being done.
“We’ve always had 175-pound, really twitchy, explosive type guys, and the NFL and college teams said they couldn’t use them,” Garko said. said. “College offenses are less likely to eliminate players who can deliver explosive play.”
Among prospective first- or second-round picks: Jarin Hyatt (Tennessee) weighing 176 pounds in a reconnaissance combine, Jordan Addison (Southern California) 173, and Josh Downes (North Carolina) 171st. Further down the draft board, Nathaniel Dellnicknamed the Tank (Houston), weighs only 165 pounds, about the same as a typical offensive line DoorDash order.
The NFL may be more willing to take a chance with a 175-pound receiver than ever before, but most teams still prefer a fast, stout 200-pound receiver. There seems to be a temporary shortage of quality college receivers in the Ja’Marr Chase mold.
“If there were bigger guys with more talent at the top, they’d be drafted,” Nagy said.
colossal tight end
georgia tight end Darnell Washingtonof highlight montage It looks like a poorly rendered computer-generated image, with Washington at 6’7″ and 264 pounds not seeming to occupy the same physical space as the defenders bouncing off him in an almost unrealistic manner.
Washington is one of many great athletes in the tight ends class this year. Luke Musgrave The (Oregon), who measures 6 feet 6 and 253 pounds, produced incredible training results with the combine. Further down the draft board, Zack Kuntz (Old Dominion) is a former high school hurdler who stands 6’7 and has a vertical jump of 40 inches.
In the past, NFL teams have sometimes tried to turn college basketball players into tight ends for height and athleticism in position. Despite this, most Moonlight power forwards could not block well enough to stay on the field.
College football programs now offer a number of NBA-sized tight ends whose blocking skills range from proper (Musgrave and Kuntz) to A defender was run over by a corn thresher (Washington).
“We’re seeing so many people that we’re numb,” said Galko. “We are losing sight of how ridiculous this is.”
The stout, growling, slightly lead-footed linebackers of the 1980s are now virtually endangered. Both collegiate and pro defenses do little for a player type likely to get dusted by a running back or tight end in pass coverage, no matter how menacingly he grunts.
However, the 2023 draft class will feature some highly regarded linebackers. Drew Sanders (Arkansas), trenton simpson (Clemson), Jack Campbell (Iowa) and Henry Tooto (Alabama). These defenders may look a bit like Mike Singletary or Harry Carson, but they’re actually the spiritual descendants of Troy Polamalu.
“The greater safety now shifts to the linebackers,” said Mike Littelmann, director of scouting for the College Gridiron Showcase. can fill gaps in the run without being washed away.”
In the past, such enhanced safety could run up to about 225 pounds. This year, Sanders and Simpson each weighed 235 pounds, while Campbell weighed 249 pounds.
With so many versatile linebackers in the draft, Nagy believes leadership and communication skills will be the ultimate breakthrough.
“There are shelves,” said Nagy. “There’s going to be a group of guys who can play all three downs, do well in interviews, and get drafted in the early rounds.
quarter life crisis
as a quarterback Bryce Young (Alabama), CJ Stroud (Ohio), Anthony Richardson (Florida) and Will Levis (Kentucky) is expected to be a first-round draft pick. Hendon hooker (Tennessee) typically relegates to the second tier.
Hooker was born in January 1998 and is 25 years old. This is seven months older than Jalen Hurts, his fourth-year quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Hooker is the most prominent of the many prospects in his class in this draft in which he played five or six seasons in college.
While some NFL teams still have age limits or flag older prospects like Levi’s, 23-year-olds, and hookers as special cases, all the factors that make a college player’s career longer. Given that, these parameters may need to be adjusted. Many took advantage of the one-year credential they received from the NCAA because of the coronavirus pandemic. College Superstars in Major Programs has become able to make good money through name, image, and caricature trades, but lesser-known prospects who may have turned pro early due to financial hardships You can earn enough money to stay in school.
But the NFL may not like it. Most teams want as much youth and advantage as possible.
“I think age will be a surprisingly big factor in the 2023 draft,” Garko said.
He added: If you get hurt, that’s also a problem. ”
Hookers in particular can be affected by all three problems. Pundits love his game footage and intangibles, but he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at the end of last season and played in an uptempo, bomb-keeping offense. in Tennessee.Hooker could still be drafted in the first round — he’s a quarterback, after all — but teams may downgrade position players like Georgia Tech’s defensive lineman k-on whitea 24-year-old who began his college career in 2017, or offensive tackle for North Dakota Cody Mauk24, made his first appearance in a college game in 2018.
Nagy disagrees. “I think the league has softened up a bit. The team mentality is if he gets two contracts from one player, that’s great. Anything beyond that is gravy.”
Littelmann’s pre-draft events correspond to late-round prospects, so he’s working with a lot of athletes and the NFL isn’t certain, and another year of education could make a big difference. There is a nature. “NIL has been great for the university community,” he said. “This gives athletes another chance to figure out what is best for them.”
After all, there are more important issues in life than the NFL Draft.