Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings: C.J. Stroud leads the way, and a tie at No. 5
The 2023 NFL Draft is right around the corner, and there are six quarterback prospects that appear to stand out from the rest.
Chris Simms unveiled his 2023 NFL Draft QB rankings earlier this week on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and had his fair share to say about this year’s crop of signal-callers, listing Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud as the top quarterback prospect in this class.
However, Stroud’s No. 1 ranking does not discount the rest of the class, which is full of talent.
Along with Stroud, Simms ranked Alabama’s Bryce Young at No. 2, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker at No. 3, Florida’s Anthony Richardson at No. 4 and a tie at No.5 between UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Kentucky’s Will Levis.
The 2023 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 27, and end on Saturday, April 29. The first round will take place on Thursday with rounds two and three airing on Friday and rounds four through seven on Saturday.
RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order
Simms’ Top Six QB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft
1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
2. Bryce Young, Alabama
3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
T-5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
T-5. Will Levis, Kentucky
RELATED: 2023 NFL Draft order: Complete list of every pick from Round 1 through Round 7
Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft QB Rankings
The following are highlights from Simms’ QB draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.
No. 1: C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
What Simms Said: “This is as close to Joe Burrow as I’ve seen coming out in the draft here. I mean, when you just talk about great decision-making, quickness…when you talk about hitting the bullseye on a consistent basis, C.J. Stroud’s ability to make high-level throws and just drop the ball in receiver’s pockets, hit them in the chest, wherever, it’s off the charts good…his arm is better than Burrow’s was coming out…his throwing, especially with the ability to power throw and put the ball into tight windows time after time after time, I’d actually give him the advantage over Joe Burrow in that department.”
What Simms Said: “He’s as natural at playing the position as you’re going to see, he makes so many great quarterback plays. He, just like C.J. Stroud, the brain is on another level, their ability to read defenses, see the field, throw the appropriate throw, knowing when to stop a guy… he’s about as slick as you’re going to see. He’s a natural throwing the football… he’s smart, he understands defenses… the pocket is getting tight like it does in the NFL… he might throw it, but it’s never real accurate or he throws it just to get it out of his hand so he doesn’t get hit or sacked… he the smaller quarterback, when he gets hit sometimes, it looks super aggressive cause his body flies… those are the concerns, that’s why he’s not number one, but man there’s a lot to like.”
No. 3: Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
What Simms Said: “Why is this guy not getting more buzz? What is there not to like?… All I know is I saw a really good looking, on the money, pocket-passing quarterback who makes great decisions and like C.J. Stroud is way more athletic than people are giving him credit for. And, where he might be even better than C.J. Stroud and definitely better than Bryce Young, his ability to see over the line and throw over the line… totally unaffected by the pass-rush…he’s consistently on the money throwing in to tight coverage…if you’re going off film, I don’t know how he’s not in the top quarterback conversation.”
No. 4: Anthony Richardson, Florida
What Simms Said: “This guy’s arm is off the charts good…is there a little boom or bust here with Anthony Richardson? Of course. His ceiling is probably the highest ceiling in the draft. His floor, though, out of the guys we are going to talk through today it might be the lowest floor too. It could be that…there’s some games and some plays where you go man his eyes are all over the place and I’m not sure what he’s looking at… but then there’s other games where you go I mean he’s on the money and his eyes are right in the perfect spots… you’re not going to want to rely on him like you would Hendon Hooker or Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud to go hey we’re looking to throw it 38 times today…this is the kind of guy where you get him on your team you go we’re looking to throw it 24 times today and we want maybe 8 rushes from you.”
T-No. 5: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
What Simms Said: “Taller than Bryce Young, faster than Bryce Young, think his arm might be stronger than Bryce Young. He plays the position of quarterback right up there with the top guys in the sport. I mean he can do everything…he has a little bit of a long wind-up, maybe doesn’t see the field as well as C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young…I would argue that going through reads and seeing the field other than Stroud and Young he’s the next best one in the group, even maybe better than Hendon Hooker in that department… his mechanics are great, his feet is great, he’s got a really natural, fluid motion… so I’m just shocked I look at lists and there’s fifteen quarterbacks and this kid’s thirteen…this kid’s got starting quarterback NFL traits.”
What Simms Said: “I like Will Levis, and I’m totally in the reality of like Will Levis could certainly go in the top ten, twelve picks in the draft… he’s got a little bit of the boom, bust factor here. He does, and maybe even less of a bust…first off, the positives, his size, his toughness, it’s off the charts… laser show. He can throw in lasers like C.J. Stroud or Richardson. The problem is, it’s too few and far between… it’s just a little too all over the place, the ball itself and the mechanics. Both of it. And, out of the decision-making, he’s kind of toward the bottom of the list in that department too.”
For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms Unbuttoned, ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.
Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings: C.J. Stroud leads the way, and a tie at No. 5 originally appeared on NBCSports.com