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2023 NFL Draft Stock Report: New Year’s Eve

2023 NFL Draft
TCU pulled off a shocker but how good are their players? All that in more for the New Year’s Eve edition of the 2023 NFL Draft Stock Report. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

2023 NFL Draft Stock Report: New Year’s Eve

I would generally title this as the college football semi-final but I’m also adding the Sugar Bowl too. Bryce Young is playing in his last collegiate game, so it gets added to the list. We have a lot to go over because that was an EPIC set of games. What does it all mean for the 2023 NFL Draft?

The 2023 NFL Draft Stock report will give you full in-depth player analysis from the Sugar, Fiesta, and Peach Bowl. Let’s get right to it!

Sugar Bowl

Alabama won 45-20 and Bama took the starters out of the game with like eight minutes to go. It was over by halftime. People can hate on the SEC all they want but the NFL guys come from here for a reason. This is usually what happens when punk teams play big dogs and Alabama wasn’t even close to the best version of themselves.

Kansas State

Let’s start with Deuce Vaughn because I’m going to be a party pooper and you’re going to have to be okay with it. Going against Bama, you’re going against NFL level athletes. Here is what I saw. A small running back that’s an overrated weapon in the passing game that creates zero yards after contact.

Yes, this home run carry was awesome but what did he do outside of that? Here, let me tell you exactly what he did. 22 carries for 133 yards and this score. You can’t take the long run away but that means he basically ran for 45 yards on all of his other carries. Not great.

In a clip below, you will also see a pass get intercepted on a ball intended for him. He’s going to go way higher than I’d take him. I see a lot of Boston Scott. He’s going to get overdrafted and the next team that gets him after will find the right gadget package to use. I’d take him in the 6th round knowing he will be gone before I get a chance at him.

Alabama

Do we think the Texans saw enough to the point where they will turn the card in for Bryce Young? If not, I’m not sure what they’re looking for. At this point, I think we should all feel pretty confident in what Young will be at the NFL level. If Tua Tagovailoa and Aaron Rodgers had a baby, it would be Bryce Young.

I think people should also keep in mind this receiver core that Bama has is probably the worst it’s been in 10 years. Nobody is running wide open like in the past when Jaylen Waddle was a 5th stringer. What Young did should be commendable. He could have skipped out on this Bowl game. He didn’t and put his best foot forward.

Yes, Young is small but do you ever see him take big shots? There is an underrated awareness to watching him play quarterback. At that same token, he really might be 5-foot-9 at the combine and it’s going to be talked about. It should make everyone at least a little nervous.

How about some of those deep throws? We didn’t always see Young hit bombs at Bama but these were some darts. I mean rockets down the field with precision accuracy. Five touchdowns and 321 yards passing on 21 attempts. He had one incompletion the entire game after the first possession.

What more do you need to see? I don’t feel like the Texans have a choice. Turn the card in.

I’m lower on both running backs than the consensus so now it’s time to talk about Jahmyr Gibbs. I do think Gibbs is better than Vaughn so let that be known. I think he has talent, don’t get me wrong. However, I don’t believe he will be the best between the tackles runner. It’s one cut and go. A lot of the teams, he’s actually too hesitant to hit the hole because the first move juke is just engrained in his brain.

76 yards rushing and 66 yards receiving. I do see some flashes of Alvin Kamara but I’m not sure he’s quite that good. I’d pick him in the third or fourth round but again, I think he may go higher than I’m willing to. Do I see generational back to make me pull the trigger in the early rounds? No. I’m not sure he’s even better than James Cook. Having said that, Gibbs is a real threat in the passing game and I do think there is value in that.

Really important game for Jordan Battle. Has real starting strong safety potential in the league. Can tackle and play the run no problem. How good is he with the ball in the air? Check out this interception. Yes, it was over a midget but he still did what was asked. If Battle can cover backs like this, his stock goes way up. This was Battle’s first interception of the year.

The crazy thing is teammate Brian Branch probably outshined him. Guy was lining up everywhere making TFL’s and when he hit you, they went down. Also made a really great interception breaking to someone he wasn’t even covering to make the pick. Maybe it’s coaching. Maybe it’s ability. Either way. What a performance. Guy was EVERYWHERE.

How about Will Anderson? Well, he didn’t really do much. Can’t recall him making a single impactful play. Does it matter? Probably not.

TCU

Are we SURE Quentin Johnston is an elite prospect? This Michigan game is the biggest game for Johnston and he finished the day with HUGE numbers Six receptions for 163 yards and a score.

Johnston is intriguing but he was never going to ragdoll these Michigan defensive backs the way he was in the Big 12. Johnston has also struggled to stay healthy during the year but had plenty of time off to recover with the break between the Bowl game.

Again, I kinda like the skillset but not everything in there. 6-foot-4, 215, herky-jerky, can run, and plus strength. I don’t see the route running arsenal. I don’t see separation. One of his biggest catches during the game was on a corner blitz where the safety forget to get to his side of the field. I see Kevin White flashbacks and that gives me nightmares.

We saw the breakaway speed. He’s a big body that doesn’t go down right away. I’m still terrified. I will be locked into his combine.

I am a HUGE fan of Trevius Hodges-Tomlinson. Did you see any big completions against him? I didn’t. One PI but he was going for the ball and nobody is going to be perfect on those every game. He’s got physical traits, can play everywhere, and has no problem tackling. Actually looks like he likes to do it. I’m a fan. Flips his hips and turns really well.

Dee Winters. What more do you have to say? That was insane. Three tackles for loss. A pass deflection. Second on the team in tackles. Oh, and this pick six. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a super expert on Winters yet but that was insane and looks like the way linebackers are trending. 230 and can run. Good for him. That was something.

Might actually be the most underrated running back in the country. I think it might be time to just say Kendre Miller is good. Maybe it’s on me for just thinking TCU didn’t have a good back after Zach Evans left. Shame on me. Guy runs hard. Unlike Vaughn, he’s trucking forward after getting hit. I don’t think he’s running a bad time. Getting – yards on this Michigan front is an accomplishment. It’s not like TCU has a line full of NFL guys. It’s maybe Steve Avila and two other guys.

Miller suffered an ankle injury during the game and finished the game with eight carries for 57 yards. The backup Emari Demarcado rushed for 150 yards so maybe I should give their line more credit. Maybe Miller isn’t all that? It’s late, okay? It’s been a long day.

I can’t believe I’m this far into the post and haven’t talked Max Duggan yet. Such a gamer. I don’t think that it can be ruled out that he turns into a much more mobile version of Andy Dalton. Andy Dalton 2.0 with more upside?

One of the – interceptions Duggan threw was dropped by the receiver so don’t put that one on him. Having said that I never felt like he made plays to make sure his team won the game. I thought his supporting cast did their job. Especially that defense. Finished the day 14/29 for 225 yards and two picks / touchdowns each. Thought he did his job. Continues to be an underrated athlete. There is something here.

Michigan

Can we have a chat about this Junior Colson? Did anybody see this linebacker coverage that led to an interception. Hard to find linebackers that can cover like that. Nevermind. Just a sophomore. I’m not deleting the words now. Keep watch for 2024 I guess.

Ronnie Bell actually showed up. That was cool. One was a flea flicker but I just don’t think he’s that good. But hey, glad to see him actually on the stat sheet. Couldn’t say that every week. I just don’t think these Michigan receivers are NFL caliber good. Who’s panned out other than Donovan Peoples-Jones? And he was actually a huge recruit. These guys aren’t. If I have to pick one, I think Roman Wilson probably has the best chance to make it.

Mike Sainristil actually got his first interception. Former wide receiver that apparently couldn’t catch anything on defense. Well, he got this one. It was the receivers fault but he’ll take it. I actually think there is a good corner here. Just really positive to finally see some actual ball production.

One sack for Michigan. ONE. Where where these fercoius defensive linemen I’ve been bragging up all year? In fairness, it felt like Michigan were in catch up mode but still. I couldn’t find any of them.

Ohio State

What kind of athlete is CJ Stroud? That’s what I want to know. His weapons are too good. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t have some passing yards. What I want to know is what is he going to look like when them Georgia boys are running after him? I think we saw positive things. I don’t know what kind of 40 time you people think you’re getting here but maybe it won’t be as bad of a time as I thought. Ends the day with 34 rushing yards which is way more than I thought. I don’t think he’s a super athlete but he showed enough.

Marvin Harrison Jr. is generational good. Stroud won’t have open guys like that at the next level. His weapons are THE best in college football. To Stroud’s credit, he moved well within the pocket itself and did enough to get the ball to Harrison. I still don’t think his accuracy is an A and never will be. BUT he did way better than I thought avoiding pressure and making throws down the field.

Am I being unfair? Maybe. After a 348 yard and four touchdown performance, I can choose to only be positive. I think he played well but let’s please put everything into context. The offensive line held up well and Ryan Day had a month to prepare. When you have those weapons, you’re going to scheme guys open. I saw a lot of open guys.

At the end of the day, I just don’t think he’s better than Justin Fields. I know he’s not close as an athlete and if Fields is going to struggle throwing the ball then what is Stroud going to do when it’s his time? What’s the real track record for these Ohio State quarterbacks? What I will say is that Stroud’s pure arm strength might be underrated. Not a pure A but closer to a B+ and he deserves credit for making certain throws.

I don’t care about the result of the game. Field goals were missed on both sides which could have changed the outcome on either side. Can we talk about what happened when super Marvin left the game? Didn’t score a touchdown last nine minutes of the game and didn’t move the ball nearly the same. I just think Harrison is that good to the point where he’s the actual best player on the field.

Georgia

Keele Ringo being matched up against Marvin Harrison Jr.? Fireworks city! What a matchup that was to watch. Ringo did force a fumble on him. That counts for something even if it wasn’t recovered, right? Ringo spent most of the time on Emeka Egbuka so we really didn’t get what we all wanted. How about we just put it like this. Nobody could cover Harrison. Ringo was lost knowing what to deal with him. Now it’s about asking yourself what it means. He’s a playmaker but is he a real pure cover guy? I think that’s a real question.

Jalen Carter isn’t 100% and it’s pretty obvious to see. Spent a lot of the game rotating in and out. At this point, I think I have a pretty good idea who he is so I don’t care. He’s number one in terms of overall players regardless of position for this upcoming draft. That’s what I think.

When it comes to Stetson Bennett, I think you saw the reality. One guy is an NFL quarterback and it isn’t him. I don’t think I need to go into much detail. If you’re not blind then you saw what I did. He’s an old guy that’s maxed out every ounce of ability he has. It’s good enough to maybe get him a try on as a Taysom Hill type of guy. Bennett has went above and beyond any possible expectations he could have had. Bennett should be praised at Georgia. He’s just not NFL good and that’s okay.

Do I have to rank these Georgia running backs? I like all of them. I’m not ready to do it so don’t ask. Just know I like all three. Fine, I’ll do it.

McIntosh, Edwards, Milton. If you asked me six months ago, they would be totally flipped. That’s why we play the games, right? It still might be wrong. We still have time.

Kendall Milton rushed for 26 yards and a score on three carries. What do I do with that? Is he really the third guy? Probably has the most potential in reality. Also the lowest floor.

Kenny McIntosh continues to be a factor in the passing game. It’s something we’ve been tracking for a long time now. Kenny doesn’t have the super wiggle but he’s damn good at it. Had a huge run between the tackles too and that’s the biggest thing. He’s proven he can be more than a gadget guy. 136 yards of all purpose yards in this one.

Daijun Edwards = Tazz. Just such a spazz. Legs keep churning and churning and churning. I fear that he won’t have the necessary precision to make it. Definitely not a great receiver.

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