Scouts split on top QB prospect of 2023, while unanimous on three other positions

Anthony Richardson has at least some huge fans among the scouts we spoke to at the NFL combine. (Required credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

INDIANAPOLIS – The draft season is now in full swing with practices kicking off at the NFL combine, and it’s a good time to take in the outlook by asking the people who will actually play a part in making the choices .

Yahoo Sports overtook seven NFL scouts who gave their favorite prospects at each position. It’s important to remember that these aren’t necessarily rankings and certainly don’t reflect official draft boards; this is just a poll of favorite prospects at each position.

Quarterback

Bryce Young (2 votes), CJ Stroud (2), Anthony Richardson (2), Will Levis (1)

The quarterback discussion this year will produce many different favorites, and the top four consensus quarterbacks all featured in the poll. Florida’s Anthony Richardson isn’t considered as raw by this group of NFL scouts as he is by some other analysts. His rushing skills should give him a higher floor to be a prolific passer early on as he adjusts to the speed of the NFL passing games. Alabama’s Bryce Young has his fans, too, but there are more legitimate concerns about his weight than his height. Young was an escape artist for the Crimson Tide at times, but there’s a bit of a “wait and see” approach as he progresses from running from college defensive linemen to NFL defensive linemen.

Run back

Bijan Robinson (7)

Tight end

Michael Mayer (7)

Defensive tackle

Jalen Carter (7)

The polls returned three consensus prospects to their positions: Texas running back Bijan Robinson, Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer and Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Even in the wake of Carter’s arrest, trip back to Athens, Georgia, and subsequent return to Indianapolis on two misdemeanor charges, he’s still seen as the clear best defensive tackle.

Wide receiver

Quentin Johnston (2), Zay Flowers (2), Jordan Addison (2), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (1)

offensive line

Anton Harrison (3), Peter Skoronski (2), O’Cyrus Torrence (2)

Judging by the responses, Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison could be a man to finish closer to the top of the first round after this weekend. Harrison is a younger player, playing his entire rookie season at 21 and already has fans from his base game with plenty of room for improvement as he ages and matures with an NFL strength and conditioning program. He is expected to be one of the most athletic offensive tackles in the class.

Linebacker

Drew Sanders (5), Trenton Simpson (2)

The top of the linebacker class doesn’t get rave reviews, but Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders is seen as a potential long-term starter who may never become a superstar. Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson is seen more as a swing on athleticism and positives, but there hasn’t been too much excitement in the past about where this linebacker class stacks up against draft classes.

Edge defender

Will Anderson Jr. (4), Tyree Wilson (3)

Corner back

Christian Gonzalez (2), Kelee Ringo (2), Devon Witherspoon (2), Joey Porter Jr. (1)

Safety

Brian Tak (6), Chris Smith (1)

Alabama defensive back Brian Branch was grouped here with safeties because he’s not a cornerback type, but he’ll play a handful of snaps in the slot in the NFL. He’s more of a hybrid type of defensive backup prospect.

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