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2023 NFL Draft

(GARY MCCULLOUGH | AP)

2023 NFL Draft Stock Report: Week 1

2023 NFL Draft
Anthony Richardson was a big winner in the opening week of the college football season. Who else raised their 2023 NFL Draft Stock in Week 1? (GARY MCCULLOUGH | AP)

2023 NFL Draft Stock Report: Week 1

College football is so back. If you missed my week zero 2023 NFL Draft notes, check them out here. Week one will include reports from West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh, Penn State vs. Purdue, NC State vs. East Carolina, Rutgers vs. Boston College, Oregon vs. Georgia, Cincinnati vs. Arkansas, Utah vs. Florida, Notre Dame vs. Ohio State, Florida State vs. LSU, and Clemson vs. Georgia Tech. I know… it’s a lot.

Remember, this is the information process. We’re looking for traits – not necessarily results. Traits translate. Results do not. Use what you see and check boxes. Let’s get after it!

West Virginia

How could your eyes not revert to the battle between JT Daniels and Kedon Slovis given their history at USC? Don’t care what the box score says, Daniels won that battle. Not saying Daniels is a world beater but that guy is just a professional quarterback. Mobility is below average but makes big time throws.

Daniels finished the day 23/40 for 214 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. That yards per attempt number isn’t great but this guy was getting killed on every snap. Pittsburgh’s defensive line changed the outcome of the game.

Daniels made a gorgeous back-shoulder fade throw in end zone for a score. A difficult throw to pull off but Daniels put it in the perfect spot. Has good touch and zip when needed. Bottom line is Pittsburgh was the better football team and was the ranked opponent coming into the game. Even Daniels’ interception wasn’t his fault. You can’t possibly blame the quarterback here.

This play perfectly summarizes the night for Daniels. Pressure in his face. Makes the best throw he can. Teammate fails.

What more do you want the guy to do?

The sad part is the receiver who dropped that ball was having a really nice game until that point. Bryce Ford-Wheaton was carrying this offense to that point. Nine catches for 97 yards and two scores literally was the entire offense essentially. Obviously, have to make that catch. Does have a big body (6-foot-3) and can move a little. Did some really great things. Just cost his team in the end. It’s a long season so Ford-Wheaton will have the chance to redeem himself.

I still don’t know how this play happened.

Pittsburgh

On the flip side, Slovis failed to impress. 16/24 for 308 yards and a score looks fine I guess on paper. It doesn’t really tell the story. The lone touchdown came on a screen pass Israel Abanikanda took to the house.

Sort of looked like a mix between Josh Rosen and Cody Kessler. Doesn’t have it. Can move better than Rosen but stinks when he gets moved even slightly off his spot. Should have thrown a back pick because he didn’t have enough mustard on a throw towards the sidelines. There is no it or wow factor here. Slow knee bender. Way worse athlete than Kenny Pickett is. Fine for a college quarterback to start at Pitt but we’re not looking at anything more than a backup at the NFL level.

This Pitt defense clearly has some talent on it. There is more work to be done here but two guys really stood out to me (Bangally Kamara & John Morgan III).

Kamara looks like a safety at linebacker but I liked what I saw. Forget about leading the team in tackles. This dude has range. Pretty quick and isn’t one of those Chramin Ultra soft tacklers. He lays the wood. Add two pass deflections in coverage too. Not someone that has a lengthy college track record of collegiate production so we need to see more here.

John Morgan was shot out of a cannon. One sack, three TFL’s, and two more hurries. Someone was always in the face of Daniels but Morgan was on another level. Bit undersized but you saw real traits here and the explosion looked good. You always have to ask this question. Morgan is a 5th year senior and Pitt has one of the best defensive line coaches in the country. Is there real talent here or is it just experience and coachability? We need to see more.

Penn State

Not a ton here. I missed large chunks of the game since the previous game overlapped into this game. Joey Porter Jr. was the best player on the field. Three sexy pass deflections in this one. Below is a play that didn’t go Porter’s way but it’s everything you want to see. Didn’t come away with the pick but god that guy is good. Head on a swivel. That’s the longest corner I’ve ever see. The instincts are there. As they should be being the son of Joey Porter growing up around football. Better in press but no concerns in zone. Has real make up speed. On the rare occasion, you beat him, the makeup speed is there. Even if you do get a step, his longs are so outrageous he’s winning the battle anyway. Knows when to turn his head around and avoid those interference calls.

I love this guy. He’s going to be on my list. He’s got it. In fact, I think he’s the best corner in the country.

How bout a sleeper for you too? Tight ends are hard to find. Especially tight ends who are good athletes with breakout speed. There might be something here with this Brenton Strange. Don’t count the chickens yet but you have to be encouraged by what you see. This is Penn State’s offense we’re talking about. You’re just not going put up monster numbers with Sean Clifford throwing the rock.

However, you can flash in moments and that’s what Strange did. He’s been with the program for four years now as a redshirt junior and it’s great to see him making plays. To find a tight end that can truly create YAC is traits we’re looking for. I don’t think Penn State wins the game without this play from Strange.

Purdue:

Not much here. We’re not talking about the quarterback because he’s going to be 25 next year. If you want Brandon Weeden, knock yourself out. Against a team like Penn State, I wanted to see how some of these linebackers stood out. Purdue has produced them in the past. I’m just going to declare I’m out on this Jalen Graham. Too small. Gets swallowed unless he has free access. Probably won’t get drafted high anyway but nothing really translates here. If you’re that size, you better POP off the screen. It’s not there.

Side note: I watched a chunk of the Illinois vs. Indiana game. Just not super closely. Pretty big running back disparity that should be noted. Shaun Shivers transferred to Indiana from Auburn after losing his touches to Tank Bigsby. God, that was an awful performance (15 carries for 28 yards and one score). Tiny back with no juice. There is just nothing here.

On the flip side, I mentioned Chase Brown quickly as an older guy who had a good game but it was against Wyoming so who cares? Well, Brown popped again except against a Big 10 defense. 36 carries for 199 yards in this one. Just looks fast with some pop. Eyebrows are now starting to be raised but we’re not eating cheese yet.

NC State

We’re only doing NC State. If anyone on East Carolina’s team emerges as a draftable prospect, I will gladly do notes on them. As of right now, Jireh Wilson had a pretty nice interception we can talk about but it was gift wrapped on a bow. It’s worth mentioning. Looks pretty big at 6-foot-3. Maybe there’s a gem there but we’ll keep it moving.

Keaton Mitchell is also very fast so there’s that.

NC State should have never won that game. ECU’s kicker botched two kicks that would have sealed the win for the Pirates. Devin Leary blows. Don’t care if he won All-ACC. Congrats, you’re Ian Book, at best. If that gets you horny, be my guest.

17/33 for 211 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 pick. That ain’t it. Looked awful the whole day. Short arming throws, laying lollipops up for grabs. Can move a little but zero juice. East Carolina is terrible and that was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen. Listed at 6-foot-1 but looks smaller. There is nothing here except an old college guy that wishes he was Tebow.

It would have been a way worse day for Leary if Thayer Thomas wasn’t on the field. Was a great security blanked the entire game. It may be time to take Thomas seriously. Thomas is closing in on the all-time leader in touchdown receptions by an NC State player.

Idiotic caption but these are the kind of matchups Thomas won. Quick slant. One cut and go.

Won’t lie he looks like a Belichick pick. White slot gut that has some wiggle and can run a bit. Wouldn’t say he’s Renfrow slippery but wins his matchup more often than not. Four receptions for 58 yards and a score in this one. If Leary had any talent, Thomas would have been a bigger threat. They couldn’t cover him. Wouldn’t get too carried away but he should be on your slot radar. Could be something here even if it’s Braxton Berrios (probably not quite as fast).

Rutgers

Greg Schiano is a damn good coach. Isiah Pacheco looks like a potential hit this year for the Chiefs. Schiano is going to grind out wins with his defense and rushing attack. Don’t get your panties in a bunch yet but Kyle MONANGAI (what a name) looks tough. Some bowling ball to him. Falls forward. Good size (5-foot-9, 205). Wasn’t a world beating performance (19 carries for 78 yards and a score) but he looked much better than that on the field. One dimensional offense and the Jersey kid grinded out plenty of yards after contact.

I don’t know if this Aron Cruikshank will turn into anything but he looks like a big of a weapon. Really small but can really move. Probably a specialist only but fast.

Boston College

I think I’ve moved towards the… I’m out on Phil Jurkovec lane. We already knew he wasn’t healthy but he almost looks so slow that it can’t just be that he’s a bad athlete. Looks permanently injured all the time. Arm has something but his lower half is terrible. Slow explosion. Accuracy not there. Bad decision maker. Does not deal with pressure well.

Jurkovec finished the day 23/41 for 283 yards, 3 touchdowns, and two interceptions. It was worse than that in reality. If you can barely complete 50% against Rutgers, get real noob. Check this play below. Would have been picked off twice. I just don’t see it in the lower half. A lot of those balls that just kinda died in the air happened over and over. You will notice what happens to his back foot.

In reality, Zay Flowers was the star of the show. This dude just burns and he actually looks like a real receiver. Added two carries in the run game too. Can do multiple things. I’m starting to really buy in here. Just has another gear. 10 receptions for 117 yards and two scores. Going to be a Yac monster. Shows real receiver traits. Short area burst. Can adjust mid-air. One score came on a crosser where he just outran the defense. This second score was just a beauty.

Arkansas

Had the Georgia game on for most of this game so I’ll be brief. Two weapons shined here now. How bout the days for Jadon Haselwood and Trey Knox?

Haselwood is an Oklahoma transfer that hasn’t done much yet. Pretty nice day with three receptions on 42 yards and a score. I still don’t know what to make of him. Just never looks like he plays big enough for his size (6-foot-3). Is he quick or just does the bare minimum after the catch? More work needs to be done here.

Trey Knox, the tight end, was the real winner. We may really have something here. Six catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Knox is a senior without much production but the tools here are eye catching. 6-foot-5, 245 and can move. I mean really move. Really long too. Cincinnati’s defense isn’t what it was a year ago but how could these two plays not catch your eyes. Circus catch in the red area and speed to burn for the second score. Tell me you’re not intrigued?

Oregon

That… was… bad. We’re not going to waste our time on Bo Nix. If the NFL Draft was 14 rounds long he still wouldn’t get picked and it has nothing to do with his performance against Georgia. If you want to hear analysis of how terrible Bo Nix is, go somewhere else. His draft stock didn’t decrease he didn’t have any, to begin with.

Hey, the center wasn’t terrible. That’s all I got. Probably the only guy that didn’t get killed by Georgia.

Georgia

Replacing seven starters on the defensive side of the ball is no easy task. If you thought Georgia was going to fall off, that’s on you. They only landed one guy in the transfer portal because nobody can make their team. Their backups are better than your starters on 99% of other programs. That’s on you if you’re not smart enough to draft several players from their team.

Hard to evaluate the pass rushers in this one. Nix isn’t a real quarterback. Lot of roll outs trying to dissect half the field. Ball was out quick by design. The defense only gave up 3 all day to Oregon sooo there are real dudes here.

Two quick notes: Yes, Jalen Carter is very good. We already knew that though.

Christopher Smith with a big game. One of the few returning starters. By the way, Lewis Cine didn’t look missed as crazy as that is to say. Did anybody else see Malaki Starks?

Back to Smith because he’s actually draft eligible. Guy was all over the place. Six tackles, an interception, TFL, and pass deflection. The pick was thrown right to him but whatever. Hard not to like what you saw.

Offensively, there was no bigger winner than Kenny McIntosh. He has to skyrocket way up the board. McIntosh came in as the listed starter and put on a clinic in the passing game. He’s not James Cook talented but whatever you think Nyheim Hines is, McIntosh can be way better.

McIntosh led the team with nine receptions for 117 yards. Also added a rushing touchdown. Has been there a long time and feels very Brian Robinson. Has waited his turn but can more than play. McIntosh isn’t just one of those small gadget guys. We’re talking 6-foot-1, 210, with short area burst. Huge winner from this weekend.

Not sure I loved what I saw from Kendall Milton. Not a terrible day (eight carries for 50 yards and a score). Definitely don’t see that Nick Chubb pop or power. Might be missing a gear but is also recovering from a knee injury. There was a play that Milton should have scored but didn’t have the speed so he cut it back inside and got tripped up. I like Milton and there is real talent here but I’d be hesitant to say he’s the next Chubb or Todd Gurley.

With James Cook and Zamir White gone, this is your Georgia running back duo. Daijun Edwards got his carries too. Look this Oregon game was over two seconds in so let’s not beat up on Milton too much. Overall it wasn’t a bad game. Just thought McIntosh was the wow guy. That work in the passing game just hit different.

Really nice game for Darnell Washington too. Never going to outshine the monster Brock Bowers but he made his own little highlight reel. That big, that fast, that athletic usually is worth a look, right?

Utah

I only have interest in talking about one player on this team. Did anybody see that performance by Brant Kuithe? I have no idea what this dude is but I’m interested. Listed as a tight end but certainly not built like one. Listed at 6-foot-2, 219. That’s certainly not tight end worthy.

However, all of the things I said about Thayer Thomas, put them on steriods with Kuithe. There is real route running here. Like the slippery one where he cuts and it’s that half second that matters type stuff. Mostly lined up in the slot. Not in-line.

Nine catches in this one for 105 yards and a score. What a performance. This is against an SEC defense too. Ventrell Miller, Brenton Cox, etc. Like there are real guys on this defense and he still stood out.

Can we get this guy up to 240 while still running like this and making legit juke moves? Can we have that? Is that too much to ask?

Florida

Speaking of Brenton Cox, I do really like him. He’s starting to get older to the point where he should be dominating these games. No sacks in this one but I like his motor. Doesn’t quit on plays and chases after people. Can be nasty but isn’t all the time. I want him to start taking over. There is no time to wait.

I’m skeptical on how good this Utah defense really is. Are we forgetting what CJ Stroud did to them in the Bowl game?

Richardson is going to be the wildcard of this quarterback class. The traits are there but last year this guy didn’t play well. Before the year started if you put a gun to my head on if Richardson would become a serious franchise quarterback, I would have leaned no.

Regardless, how are you not encouraged by the things Anthony Richardson did in Week 1? He did stuff that if it happened in a video game, you would rage quit. That stuff matters.

It was certainly a step in the right direction for Richardson. Huge game running the ball but we already knew that athletic traits were there. Still missed some easy throws. Total lump of clay. If he turns into Vince Young, nobody will be surprised. If Richardson turns into a star, I don’t think that can be ruled out. Certainly, we’re talking about a real talent unlike when all of you idiots really ate the cheese on Emory Jones.

Arm has pure rocket fuel. Big Cam Newton style body. Doesn’t feel like his rushing is gimmicky. You can tell he’s taken strides in his passing game but still hasn’t totally clicked on everything.

Long way to go. What does he look like against SEC teams? Can he carry a 400 yard passing day in crisis while trailing? Can he elevate a Florida program with a first year head coach? Step one was a positive. Richardson is on the watch list for the rest of the year. It’s still early in my mind to make a definitive call.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame is a professional college football team. They will not beat themselves. They made life harder than it had to be for Ohio State. They’re still not very good or shall I rephrase by saying they’re not close to the Buckeyes in the talent department.

I’m so out on Michael Mayer. That guy is a total goof. I just don’t get it. Didn’t you people learn your lessons with Cole Kmet? I don’t think Mayer is even as good as Kmet.

Mayer is a goof. Big body and can find space as a zone eater. That’s all he is. Bad hands catcher. There was one play where Mayer made a catch and started picking up steam while somehow lost a fumble without being touched. Not a chain mover type athlete and that means something different than you think it doesn’t. Step 1 and step 2 take forever.

Might be good enough for college but again, this just isn’t a great athlete. Chase Claypool would run circles around Mayer. Don’t even try to sell me on the Jason Witten stuff. Mayer is 265 and if he runs under 4.7 I’ll slap myself. It ain’t happening. Doesn’t have any real traits the freak shows at the position have.

Like seriously… what the hell was that? Great… he was able to jump two inches off the ground to make a semi-difficult catch. Looks like one of those small school buses that has no feel for where he’s going. Slow. Uncoordinated. This was his best play too and it wasn’t worth bragging about.

Ohio State

Is there a harder quarterback evaluation than CJ Stroud? That was red flag city. That game surely can’t be viewed as a positive. If you want to chalk up the first half to debut jitters, be my guest. 24/34 for 223 yards and two scores is fine but doesn’t really tell the story.

The bottom line is at Ohio State his guy wins his one on one matchup every time. What happens when you face adversity? What happens when things go south? Not sure I saw great things. Jaxson Smith Njigba went down right away with a hamstring that appears semi-serious. What happens when Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave aren’t there anymore? Go make plays and win.

Stroud won the game but was anybody impressed? Are there any elite traits here? This is just hard, man. Can make throws but everything just has a question mark. Do you LOVE the accuracy? Do you love the pure arm talent? Certainly has athletic traits and can move but is that extra gear there?

Does he actually progress through reads cause I don’t see it. This offense is very easy to be the trigger man for. Are we sure he even played better than Tyler Buchner all things considered?

The weird part is it seems odd to criticize a guy coming off a season 44-6 TD to INT ratio completing 72 percent of his throws. If you ask me if he’s better than Justin Fields, I would tell you you’re out of your mind and everyone is ready to throw Fields aside.

Good luck, man.

Tell you what; I kinda like this Miyan Williams. Master Teague (who stinks, in reality) didn’t see the field cause Williams is just flat better. He doesn’t have the juice the other horse has in this backfield but there are some qualities.

Williams is tough. Can break tackles and keep the feet churning. Beanie Wells flash backs. 5-foot-9, 225, between the tackles guy. His one drive on the field basically won the game for Ohio State. 14 carries for 84 yards and a score against a real defensive front is eye opening. This dude can play and wants to fight. Oh, you like what you see.

Emeka Egbuka is going to have an opportunity with this Smith-Njigba injury. So far, really good start. Nine catches for 90 yards and a score. There are so many Ohio State guys that just look the exact same. We’re going to find out what tier Egbuka is in.

On the defensive side of the ball, Michael Hall Jr. was a one man wrecking crew. A sack and two TFL’s. A little wild with the hands. A bit all over the place but talk about a burst. They couldn’t block him and this is Notre Dame. Really good sign.

Florida State

Not much here. It’s a rebuilding program that’s finally taking the right step. How many of these guys are NFL dudes? Maybe some on the defensive line but more work to do there. I just want to spend some time on this Johnny Wilson because I’m so out. We can talk about 6-foot-7 all we want but what does it matter if the guy has bad hands? It’s one thing to not be a natural hands catcher. This guy has bricks. Looks lost with the ball in the air. Some projects shouldn’t be taken. I won’t bother.

LSU

Let’s start with the positives. I’m all good with BJ Ojulari. Might be a tick too small but there is speed there and he finishes his hits. I’m not sure if he’s as fast as his brother but he’s a good football player. Had a sack in this one.

The rest was a disaster. Noah Cain, the Penn State transfer, had such an opportunity to take this job and blew it. John Emery is still suspended so Cain got his looks. This LSU offensive line didn’t do him any favors but there wasn’t a single moment that took your breathe away. Seven carries for 23 yards and a score tell the story here.

Let’s just be real with each other. That was bad. I’m referencing Kayshon Boutte in the bad department. Look, some of this wasn’t his fault. The offensive line is atrocious and Jayden Daniels doesn’t have a lick of talent. Guy couldn’t make a throw further than five yards to save his life. Gun to my head, he’s still WR1 in this upcoming class.

Boutte dropped three balls including two that would have been touchdowns. Finished the day with two receptions for 20 yards. Only had a total of six targets which would have been his lowest total since his true freshman year.

The good news is the traits that we all love were there to see. High points the ball beautifully. Second one gets wide open on a slant pattern. The receiver stuff I’m all good on. I know he’s a stud. This game seemed to stem from frustration. Boutte scrubbed LSU from all of his social media accounts clearly being frustrated by the QB play and he let it bother him on the field.

There was talk about Boutte transferring after Ed Orgeron got let go. Now he’s stuck and or could just declare for the draft. I hope for our sake he doesn’t shut it down after that performance. It’s certainly something to monitor.

Clemson

Clemson’s defense is sick but that was something by Bryan Bresee and KJ Henry. Bresee looked like a bull in a china shop. Sick hands. Super strong. Was as advertised. Henry was basically unblocked the entire night. Big time recruit with no real prior production but I think everyone saw that juice that was on display.

Look, that wasn’t great for DJ Uiagalelei. His lower half looks zapped from the guy we saw as a freshman. Looks skinnier but doesn’t look explosive with the lost weight. Bit goofy on those designed quarterback runs. Had some really nice throws but those were few and far between. Let Georgia Tech stay in it longer than it should have been. Jeff Simms had a higher QBR by a wide margin. Imagine if they swapped teams? Not great. Raw talent is somewhere in there but god did he look lost. I think I’ve hopped off the bandwagon and I’m not sure he has anyone left. This is why the draft isn’t held after freshman seasons.

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