theScore's prospect rankings series takes a position-by-position look at the top players available in the 2023 NFL Draft.
QB | RB | WR | TE | OL
EDGE | DL | LB | CB | S
Mayer is a violent football player. Whether it's as a blocker, high-pointing a catch, or burying a defender with a stiff arm, the 21-year-old is a force to be reckoned with. Despite his lack of elite speed, Mayer routinely picked up extra yardage with his strength, and he regularly cast aside arm tacklers and defensive backs. Stronger, more athletic linebackers and safeties could give Mayer more issues in the NFL. However, his route running and understanding of coverages should keep him alive on most snaps and allow him to produce consistently at the next level. Mayer also showed good body control as a receiver, shielding defenders with his frame to help come down with contested catches when the route didn't generate significant separation. The former Notre Dame star should immediately start and contribute on every down for whichever team takes him on Day 1.
Kincaid is the 1B to Mayer's 1A. Who gets picked first will come down to whether a team wants the all-around versatility Mayer offers or the athletic upside you get with Kincaid. The Utah product has some of the best hands in the draft, regularly coming down with balls requiring full extension to snag. Kincaid showed he can also come down with passes thrown into traffic, using the combination of his frame and confidence in his hands to catch difficult receptions. Kincaid is far from the best blocker in the class, but he's willing to mix it up and explodes through defenders when given space to pick up speed before engaging in blocks. That explosion translated as a ball carrier, as Kincaid opted to power through defenders more often than trying to avoid them. Improving technique and strength when playing in-line will dramatically elevate his ability to contribute and could see him become a superstar.
LaPorta is one of the smaller tight ends in the class, but he's also among the shiftiest. He routinely made defenders miss with various moves, both as a ball carrier and a route-runner. Iowa's offense did LaPorta no favors, frequently forcing him to attempt difficult catches. Still, it would've been nice to see him come down with more of his targets. He had a 10.2% drop rate in 2022, per PFF. But when LaPorta secured the ball, he showcased an excellent burst. Improving his average run-blocking technique and power will keep the former Hawkeye on the field and give him more opportunities to contribute, as will unlocking a wider route tree. He ran a pretty shallow selection of routes last season, but that had more to do with Iowa's offensive limitations than LaPorta's capabilities.
Musgrave has some of the most tantalizing tools in the class, but he has yet to put it all together. He's at his best when he stresses defenses vertically, leveraging his length and athleticism to make impressive catches regardless of where defenders are. If Musgrave pairs up with a coach who can round out his game and increase his versatility, he could wind up as the best tight end in the class. Improving the crispness of his routes and expanding his route tree beyond seams and crossers will go a long way in unlocking his potential. Musgrave also needs to move with more control to prevent stumbling as a blocker and receiver. He was reportedly medically cleared at the combine, but he played in only 20 games over four seasons with Oregon State, including just two in 2022 after sustaining a knee injury.
Washington might've been TE1 if this were the 2003 draft. He made big people look small at Georgia, whether blocking them at the point of attack or reaching above them for receptions in the intermediate area of the field. Washington doesn't offer a ton of finesse, but the behemoth displayed a decent hurdle move that he pulled out to pick up some extra yardage when defensive backs dove at his ankles. He also showcased a solid understanding of zone coverages that allowed him to find open spaces for easy catches. However, Washington's at his best when he's road grading defenders in the ground game. To truly blossom as a blocker, he'll want to form a stronger base that remedies his tendency to bend at the waist and lean into his targets. Run and play-action heavy teams should be all over the 21-year-old.
Schoonmaker is a faster-than-quick offensive weapon who will be right at home in a spread or vertical scheme that provides space for him to show off his burst. A lot of the former Wolverine's routes weren't very fluid, but his ability to reach top speed quickly helped alleviate some of those issues. Schoonmaker is a boom-or-bust threat after the catch, relying on raw athleticism rather than any ball-carrier moves like jukes or stiff arms. He's comfortable working the middle of the field on seams and crossers and should be a good contested catch target early. It would serve Schoonmaker well to find some more consistency as a blocker. But he has the frame to blossom into an above-average contributor with good coaching, and he's already among the better blockers in the draft class.
Kraft is a bit of a poor man's Mayer, and I mean that as a compliment. He moves really well and has a frame that seems tailor-made to play tight end in the modern era. His size and strength popped as a runner, allowing him to overpower defenders and pick up extra yardage frequently. This was important for the former Jackrabbit as his routes were far from pristine, and he's not very sudden or twitchy. Kraft showed he's already a very solid blocker, but he tended to stand up too early, which cost him leverage. He'll need to learn to stay low to prevent being blown up by NFL defensive ends. There weren't many "wow" plays on tape, but the 22-year-old was a versatile contributor in college. Kraft should be a good backup as a pro with starter potential.
Allen was a bit of a one-trick pony at Clemson, but he was pretty good at that trick. Seam and flat routes made up a lot of Allen's film and will likely be most of his workload in the NFL due to his less-than-stellar change of direction and speed. His 4.84-second 40-yard dash was the second slowest at this year's combine. The former Tiger can still contribute thanks to his ability to adjust to the ball when it's in the air and his impressive size. Allen's ability to pluck the ball out of the air while shielding the defender with his frame will be his biggest strength. As a blocker, Allen is just fine. He can wall off defenders and willingly engages, but he won't gain ground on most defenders at the next level.
Despite playing tight end for the Hurricanes, Mallory may be better suited as a receiver in the NFL. He's got the speed (4.54 40-yard dash), leaping ability (36.5-inch vertical), and catch-and-run skills to be a big slot, occasionally lining up at tight end to be a mismatch on interior linebackers. Mallory ran a lot of underneath routes that relied on him making defenders miss or breaking tackles to pick up yardage and did so to great effect. There's room for improvement at the top of his routes, as he lacks some of the speed adjustments and hesitations that elite route-runners show off to gain extra separation. Mallory is also susceptible to being knocked off his desired path and taking big hits after the catch, but that concern would be alleviated, at least partially, if he moved to receiver. Putting on extra muscle and getting more creative with his routes will benefit Mallory regardless of where he lines up.
Kuntz is a better athlete than a football player right now, but he oozes potential. He tested off the charts at the combine and is still learning how to use his length and athleticism to win against defenses consistently. As a blocker, Kuntz often throws his body at defenders rather than engage with his hands. He'll need to improve significantly in that area to play in-line at the next level. The 23-year-old needs to put on more muscle to make better use of his length and frame, as he's too easily dislodged from the ball right now. Kuntz also needs to improve as a route-runner to take advantage of his athletic profile. Too often, he runs rounded corners or telegraphs the direction of his break. The team selecting Kuntz has to be patient, but he has Pro Bowl potential.
Other notable prospects
Cameron Latu, Alabama
Brenton Strange, Penn State
Josh Whyle, Cincinnati
Payne Durham, Purdue
Marshon Ford, Louisville
The big four at tight end in the 2023 draft class appears mostly set in stone: Utah's Dalton Kincaid, Notre Dame's Michael Mayer, Oregon State's Luke Musgrave and Georgia's Darnell Washington.Who are the best tight ends in the 2023 draft? ›
The big four at tight end in the 2023 draft class appears mostly set in stone: Utah's Dalton Kincaid, Notre Dame's Michael Mayer, Oregon State's Luke Musgrave and Georgia's Darnell Washington.Who is the top NFL prospect for 2023? ›
- Bryce Young, QB, Alabama, 5-10, 204, Junior. ...
- C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State, 6-3, 218, Redshirt Sophomore. ...
- Will Anderson Jr., Edge Rusher, Alabama, 6-4, 243, Junior. ...
- Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech, 6-6, 275, Redshirt Senior.
- QB Bryce Young, Alabama.
- DL Jalen Carter, Georgia.
- EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama.
- QB Will Levis, Kentucky.
- QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State.
- QB Anthony Richardson, Florida.
- CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois.
- Dalton KincaidUtah. TE.
- Michael MayerNotre Dame. TE.
- Darnell WashingtonGeorgia. TE.
- Luke MusgraveOregon State. TE.
- Sam LaPortaIowa. TE.
- Brenton StrangePenn State. TE.
- Tucker KraftSouth Dakota State. TE.
- Luke SchoonmakerMichigan. TE.
Notre Dame's Michael Mayer takes top spot: Even without blazing speed, Mayer still led the draft class with 20 receptions on targets 10-plus yards downfield.Who is the best DT in 2023 draft? ›
1. Jalen Carter, Georgia: 6-3, 314.Who is the best 2023 fantasy football draft? ›
|1||Christian McCaffrey (RB - SF)||1|
|2||Austin Ekeler (RB - LAC)||2|
|3||Jonathan Taylor (RB - IND)||2|
|4||Saquon Barkley (RB - NYG)||3|
C.J. Stroud comes in as the highest rated QB prospect according to NFL.com's Bucky Brooks and the second highest prospect according to ESPN behind Bryce Young of Alabama.Who is the number 1 prospect football 2024? ›
The Middle and Later Rounds
After drafting most of your primary RBs and WRs, the focus then shifts to filling out the rest of the skill position starting slots. Those who pass on one of the top three tight ends should plan to take a top 10 TE by the seventh to eighth rounds.
Travis Kelce -- 69
Kelce also averages the highest receiving yards per game by a tight end (71.9). George Kittle is second (65.0) while Rob Gronkowski is third (64.9).
1 RB in 2025, impressed by USC visit, 'starstruck' by LeBron James at Ohio State. Mater Dei (California) running back Jordon Davison is already one of the most heavily-recruited high school athletes in America.Who has the top recruiting classes for 2023? ›
The top of the class of 2023 college football recruiting rankings have been set for two months. The Alabama Crimson Tide beat out the Georgia Bulldogs for the top spot in the team rankings, according to 247Sports. The Texas Longhorns completed the top three.Who is the number 1 QB in the class of 2025? ›
247Sports unveiled its initial Top100 for the 2025 class on Wednesday and the No. 1 quarterback is Bryce Underwood.What positions are strong in 2023 NFL Draft? ›
- Related Links. ...
- 1) Cornerback. ...
- 2) Tight end. ...
- 3) Edge defender. ...
- 4) Wide receiver. ...
- 5) Quarterback. ...
- 6) Interior defensive line. ...
- 7) Interior offensive line.
- Daiyan Henley, Washington State.
- Jack Campbell, Iowa.
- Drew Sanders, Arkansas.
- Nick Herbig, Wisconsin.
- Trenton Simpson, Clemson.
- Dorian Williams, Tulane.
- DeMarvion Overshown, Texas.
- Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati.
Brendan Donahue, the #1 most accurate mock drafter over the past five NFL seasons according to The Huddle Report, gives you his 2023 NFL Mock Draft — making predictions for every team and every pick in the first round.Who are the running back prospects for 2023? ›
Bijan Robinson headlines this year's rookie RBs and is a popular name in 2023 NFL mock drafts. We also have intriguing prospects like Jahmyr Gibbs, Zach Charbonnet, and Devon Achane who may rise up fantasy football rankings as rookies.
- Josh Allen.
- Patrick Mahomes.
- Jalen Hurts.
- Joe Burrow.
- Lamar Jackson.
- Justin Fields.
- Justin Herbert.
- Trevor Lawrence.
Between the 2022 and 2023 seasons, Dak Prescott and Davis Mills were tied for the most interceptions by a quarterback, with 15 interceptions.What qb has the most rushing yards 2023? ›
Between the 2022 and 2023 seasons, Justin Fields had the most rushing yards by a quarterback, with 1,143 yards.Who has the most interceptions in the NFL 2023? ›
Between the 2022 and 2023 seasons, 4 players were tied for the most interceptions, with 6 interceptions. The first three are Justin Simmons, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.Who was the best NFL prospect ever? ›
1. Malachi Nelson, USC Trojans.What college football team has the most NFL prospects? ›
In 2022, defending national champion Georgia produced 15 total NFL Draft selections, establishing a new all-time record and breaking the former mark held by Ohio State in 2004 and LSU in 2020, with 14 players taken those years.Who should I pick for tight end for fantasy? ›
If you don't draft one of those players, you should be drafting two tight ends. And you should be using our late-round tight-end pairing strategy, Yin & Yang Tight End, to do so.When should you pick a tight end in fantasy? ›
Fantasy Football TE Strategy
If you do draft one early, make sure you're confident in their ability to challenge for TE1. Solid starters are available in the middle rounds if you want to focus on other positions. Don't waste a bench spot on a backup tight end.
NFL RECORD: Travis Kelce Becomes Fastest TE to 10,000-Yard Mark on 38-Yard Catch and Run. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce becomes the fastest tight end to reach the 10,000-yard receiving mark on a 38-yard catch in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos.Who is the fastest tight end of all time? ›
Fastest 40-time for a TE at the NFL Combine
Vernon Davis holds the record for fastest 40-time recorded by a tight end at 4.38 seconds in 2006. The Maryland Terrapin was selected with the sixth-overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers.
- Justin Fields, Bears (25.9%): A tight end can oftentimes be a rookie quarterback's best friend, and that was the case with Fields last season. ...
- Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos.
- Jalen Hurts, Eagles.
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs.
- Tom Brady, Buccaneers.
- Mac Jones, Patriots.
Thirty-six tight ends have tallied at least 100 pass-blocking snaps over the past three seasons, and Njoku ranks first among them with a 77.9 pass-blocking grade.Which NFL team gives up the most touchdowns to tight ends? ›
|Los Angeles Chargers||942||56,238|
During the game, Kelce caught seven passes for 25 yards and four touchdowns, which is notable, because it allowed the Chiefs tight end to set the record for fewest receiving yards in a game where the player also had four touchdown catches, according to Pro Football Reference.Who is the best tight end in this year's NFL draft? ›
2023 NFL Draft TE rankings: Dalton Kincaid leads "unique" top 10 | FOX Sports.Who is the tight end for Iowa 2023? ›
Iowa tight end prospect Sam LaPorta joins 'NFL Now' ahead of the 2023 draft.What running back has the 40-yard dash in 2023? ›
Devon Achane, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Keaton Mitchell all made history at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Each had one of the eight fastest 40-yard dash times ever recorded by a running back at the combine, with Achane running the fourth-fastest time ever for a running back and the fastest time since 2014.What is Travis Kelce 40 time? ›
It was there that Kelce put up a very solid 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
C.J. Stroud comes in as the highest rated QB prospect according to NFL.com's Bucky Brooks and the second highest prospect according to ESPN behind Bryce Young of Alabama.Who is the best NFL draft analyst? ›
One of the most recognized names in the industry, Rob Rang is an NFL Draft analyst for FOX Sports. Rob has been covering the NFL Draft for more than 20 years, with work at FOX, Sports Illustrated, CBSSports.com, USA Today, Yahoo, NFL.com and NFLDraftScout.com, among others.Who will get first round draft pick 2023? ›
About the 2023 NFL Draft
The Carolina Panthers hold the first pick in the draft after trading with the Chicago Bears . They are followed by the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals.
The Texans, Seahawks, Lions, and Eagles are all tied for the most picks in Round 1. They each have two, and each will make their first selection in the top 10 overall.Which Thompson twin is better? ›
Ausar is more willing and able, shooting more 3s and hitting 30% of them compared to 23% for Amen. He's slightly more accurate from the free-throw line as well, 67% to 65%. Ausar has a quicker release, and Amen's form definitely needs a bit more work.