2023 Pre-Combine Rookie Rankings

As we stand on the edge of the hype cliff for incoming rookies we are taking a look out into the abyss to get a lay of the landscape as we view it from this vantage point. With the combine having started we, as well as the collective fantasy football community, will dive headfirst into the hype. Reveling in the feeling of the information as it rushes past us and our viewpoint consistently changes as we hurdle towards our 2023 season drafts.

Rankings

2023 Rookie QB Rankings

AndrewSamBenConsensus
Bryce YoungAnthony RichardsonAnthony RichardsonAnthony Richardson
Anthony RichardsonBryce YoungBryce YoungBryce Young
C.J. StroudC.J. StroudCJ StroudCJ Stroud
Will LevisWill LevisWill LevisWill Levis
Tanner McKeeStetson BennettTanner McKeeTanner McKee
Hendon HookerJaren HallJaren HallJaren Hall
Jaren HallHendon HookerHendon HookerHendon Hooker
Max DugganTanner McKeeJake HaenerStetson Bennett
Jake HaenerMax DugganDorian Thompson-RobinsonT-Max Duggan
Stetson BennettJake HaenerMax DugganT-Jake Haener

2023 Rookie RB Rankings

AndrewSamBenConsensus
Bijan RobinsonBijan RobinsonBijan RobinsonBijan Robinson
Zach CharbonnetZach CharbonnetJahmyr GibbsZach Charbonnet
Jahmyr GibbsJahmyr GibbsZach CharbonnetJahmyr Gibbs
Zach EvansSean TuckerZach EvansSean Tucker
Sean TuckerRoschon JohnsonTank BigsbyTank Bigsby
Tank BigsbyTank BigsbySean TuckerZach Evans
Devon AchaneKendre MillerKendre MillerKendre Miller
Tyjae SpearsTyjae SpearsTyjae SpearsTyjae Spears
Kendre MillerChase BrownDevon AchaneDevon Achane
Israel AbanikandaDevon AchaneKenny McIntoshRoschon Johnson
Kenny McIntoshKenny McIntoshRoschon JohnsonKenny McIntosh
Roschon JohnsonZach EvansEric GrayIsrael Abanikanda
DeWayne McBrideIsrael AbanikandaDeuce VaughnChase Brown
Deuce VaughnEric GrayDeWayne McBrideDeuce Vaughn
Chase BrownDeuce VaughnIsrael AbanikandaDeWayne McBride
Keaton MitchellDeWayne McBrideChase BrownEric Gray
Eric GrayEvan HullMo IbrahimMo Ibrahim
Mo IbrahimMo IbrahimChris RodriguezKeaton Mitchell
Chris RodriguezKeaton MitchellEvan HullEvan Hull
Evan HullChris RodriguezKeaton MitchellChris Rodriguez

2023 Rookie WR Rankings

AndrewSamBenConsensus
Jaxon Smith-NjigbaJaxon Smith-NjigbaJaxon Smith-NjigbaJaxon Smith-Njigba
Jordan AddisonJordan AddisonJordan AddisonJordan Addison
Quentin JohnstonQuentin JohnstonJosh DownsQuentin Johnston
Zay FlowersJosh DownsZay FlowersJosh Downs
Josh DownsZay FlowersQuentin JohnstonZay Flowers
Kayshon BoutteCedric TillmanCedric TillmanCedric Tillman
Rashee RiceXavier HutchinsonKayshon BoutteKayshon Boutte
Cedric TillmanJalin HyattParker WashingtonRashee Rice
Nathaniel DellRashee RiceRashee RiceMarvin Mims
Marvin MimsKayshon BoutteMarvin MimsT-Jalin Hyatt
Jalin HyattMarvin MimsXavier HutchinsonT-Xavier Hutchinson
Parker WashingtonNathaniel DellNathaniel DellNathaniel Dell
Rakim JarrettRakim JarrettJalin HyattParker Washington
Xavier HutchinsonTrey PalmerJayden ReedRakim Jarrett
A.T. PerryParker WashintonRakim JarrettTrey Palmer
Jonathan MingoA.T. PerryMichael WilsonT-Jayden Reed
Deontay DemusAndrei IosivaisTrey PalmerT-A.T. Perry
Jayden ReedJonathan MingoTyler ScottJonathan Mingo
Dontayvion WicksDontayvion wicksDeontay DemusDeontay Demus
Ronnie BellDeontay DemusAndrei IosivaisMichael Wilson

2023 Rookie TE Rankings

AndrewSamBenConsensus
Dalton KincaidMichael MayerMichael MayerT1-Dalton Kincaid
Luke MusgraveDalton KincaidDalton KincaidT1-Michael Mayer
Michael MayerSam LaPortaSam LaPortaT3-Luke Musgrave
Darnell WashingtonTucker KraftLuke MusgraveT3-Sam LaPorta
Sam LaPortaLuke MusgraveTucker KraftTucker Kraft
Tucker KraftDarnell WashingtonDarnell WashingtonDarnell Washington
Davis AllenPayne DurhamWill MalloryPayne Durham
Cameron LatuDavis AllenPayne DurhamDavis Allen
Payne DurhamCameron LatuZack KuntzWill Mallory
Will MalloryWill MalloryJosh WhyleCameron Latu

Who is your QB1 and why?

Andrew

Bryce Young is my QB1. A few weeks back, I challenged Twitter to “make a compelling case against Young without mentioning his size.” There were zero serious responses. His size is a legitimate cause for pause, but ultimately, Young was big enough to win the Heisman Trophy playing in the SEC, and the NFL will protect him from consistently taking big hits. This kid is easily the QB1 in this class in terms of real life quarterbacking skills, and that will lead to longevity, which equals long term value in dynasty.

Sam

Anthony Richardson is my fantasy football QB1. Running quarterbacks are a cheat code in fantasy football. The floor for Richardson is much higher than the other quarterbacks in this draft. With his combination of size, running ability, and arm strength he has all the tools to be a top five fantasy quarterback. The running ability will allow Richardson to be a successful fantasy quarterback while he develops the rest of his game.

Ben

While Bryce is unquestionably the IRL QB1 in my eyes, it’s Richardson who has a significantly higher ceiling – and arguably floor – due to his rushing potential. Further, Richardson has shown greater ability as a passer than he gets credit for, further pushing him into the throne. Even if we assume AR only gets a clipboard and tablet for a year or two – knowing we lose out on production for those years – I believe he will MORE than make up for it once he’s in the driver’s seat.

Who is your WR1 and why?

Andrew

If you would’ve asked people this time last year who the WR1 in 2023 would be, everyone would have laughed because Smith-Njigba would have been the unanimous choice after the ridiculous 2021 season he had (95/1606/9). 

Well, what did Smith-Njigba really do wrong to deserve to fall down in the rankings since his electrifying sophomore campaign? Ja’Marr Chase maintained his value despite skipping his junior season entirely, so why is Smith-Njigba not given the same treatment after his injury-riddled 2022? The kid is a playmaker and a route-running technician who will constantly create separation all over the field despite not having elite measurables.

Sam

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is my WR1. In 2022 the two best rookie wide receivers, Garret Wilson and Chris Olave, came out of Ohio State. They both played with Jaxon in 2021 and Smith-Njigba outplayed both of them. Wilson and Olave have both said he is better than they are. 

Jaxon’s route running is elite.  Despite the expectation that he lacks elite speed Smith-Njigba gets separation and has great hands. Receivers who are great route runners, utilize leverage, and understand how to find soft spots in the defense have shown to be the best in the league. Jefferson and Kupp have been the top fantasy receivers over the last three years and neither is blessed with elite speed. Smith-Njigba is in the mold of these two and I expect for him to step in the league and be a threat from day one.

Ben

Jaxon Smith-Njigba showed highly advanced route running against NFL-level competition as a 19 year old. Yes, he effectively took a year off, but that doesn’t diminish the ability he’s already shown to possess. He should have no problem creating separation at the next level, and will assuredly look to produce immediately.

Which player do you feel you are higher than consensus on, and why?

Andrew

Probably Zach Evans who has seen his stock take a bit of a dip after freshman Quinshon Judkins established himself as Ole Miss’ lead back this past season. This comes after Evans transferred away from TCU who was happy with RB Kendre Miller as their workhorse. 

I still love the talent. Despite “losing” the “starting” role, Evans still averaged nearly seven yards per carry for his career, which spanned 290 carries. Lack of workload is a positive thing for his long term future in my opinion. The pedigree is still there (Evans is a former five-star recruit), and if he does well at his workouts, I think an NFL team will still invest highly. He brings the skill set of a heavy-volume, early-down workhorse in the mold of Josh Jacobs or Kenneth Walker.

Sam

Roschon Johnson. In any other situation Johnson would have been the lead back. Unfortunately for him a generational talent in Bijan Robinson was also on the Longhorns. Despite playing second fiddle Roschon still put up solid numbers when called upon.

Johnson is a big bodied back who has the ability to run between the tackles and catch the ball. He has the skill set to be a three down back at the next level. I expect to see Johnson move up draft boards after the combine.

Ben

I have liked Eric Gray’s ability between the 20s since I started watching him last year. He’s a great runner who has a bit of everything you like to see, only lacking the power you hope for with guys his size. I don’t expect he’ll be drafted to be a workhorse on day 1, but I do think he’ll get some quality touches wherever he lands and earn the right for more opportunities in/after ’23/’24.

Which player do you feel like you are lower than consensus on, and why?

Andrew

I think people are way higher on Michael Mayer than I am for fantasy. I think people are blurring the line between real life football and fantasy there. Mayer is a much better real-life player due to his well-rounded game as an in-line tight end, but I think Dalton Kincaid or Luke Musgrave represent higher ceilings as strictly pass-catchers in the right offense.

Sam

Zach Evans is a guy who has been set up for success all throughout his college career and done nothing but disappoint. The results are that he was beat out at both TCU and Ole Miss by supposedly inferior competition. I don’t believe he can win a job at the NFL level based on athletic ability alone when he couldn’t do it in college.

He has shown flashes of ability but that is one of the issues. He lacks consistency and did not get enough opportunities to perform because there were other players better than him at the position on both TCU and Ole Miss. Evans took a backseat to Kendre Miller at TCU and ultimately transferred because of it but somehow Evans is going higher in fantasy drafts. Make it make sense.

Ben

I’m going to pass on Jalin Hyatt early and often in fantasy drafts. He’s got speed and solid hands, but other than that he leaves a lot to be desired in my eyes. Considering how much of his production came from ultra-wide split stacked formations – when combined with only middling route running and almost no ability to release against press – I don’t have faith he will produce.

Which player do you feel like could move up or down the most in your rankings based on their combine performance this week?

Andrew

Both Will Levis and Anthony Richardson will likely help themselves during workouts because both of their draft stocks will hinge more on their arm talent and athleticism than the other quarterbacks. 

Aside from the quarterbacks, I like WR Kayshon Boutte. I think he will put together a “Don’t forget about me” type of performance at his workouts. If he stands out at the combine and/or his pro day workout, I believe his hype will grow because people will be reminded that he was once one of the highest ranked wideouts in his class for his immense talent. 

Conversely, I think all of the “speed” guys (RBs Sean Tucker, Devon Achane, Deuce Vaughn and WR Quentin Johnston) need to meet or exceed expectations in the 40 to maintain their draft stock. If any of them run disappointing times — fair or unfair — their stock will tumble further than other prospects for the same infraction.

Sam

Anthony Richardson has a huge opportunity to show out at the combine and push to be the first player off the board. His height and weight are not under question. Where he could greatly improve his stock is in the athletic testing portion.

Bryce Young could fall to the third or fourth quarterback drafted if he measures under 5’ 10” tall and under 200 pounds. Historically teams have shied away from quarterbacks that small.

Jahmyr Gibbs and Devon Achane have questions on their respective size. It would go a long way for both if they weigh in above the 200 pound mark.

Zach Charbonnet could see a boost in his stock if he runs anything in the 4.5s or lower in the 40-yard-dash. He is a big back but their are some questions on his athleticism.

Ben

Andrew and Sam covered most of it already. I can only add a few more to the list.

Tyler Scott is just one of many Day 2/Day3-type WRs who could push themselves into a bigger payday with a strong showing. Jayden Reed, Trey Palmer, and Andrei Iosivas are a few others to look out for.

Who is lesser known player who you are excited to see workout this week? What has you interested?

Andrew

I like Kenny McIntosh out of Georgia. He is a skilled pass catcher in a big package (6-1, 210). If he can put up good times and look good catching passes, I think he helps himself. He reminds me of Rachaad White from last year. 

Sam

Andrei Iosivas played at Princeton and is an athletic freak. His measurements and measurables could have him flying up draft boards. He is expected to measure at 6’ 3” and 200 pounds.

Andrei is an All-American track star who currently holds the collegiate record in the 60-meter-dash for the heptathlon. He also finished 4th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the heptathlon. A 40 time in the 4.2s is expected, as well as a vertical near 40 inches.

Iosivas has a rare blend of size, speed, and athleticism. I fully expect some teams to fall in love with his profile. A team spending a late second round or early third round pick on him would not shock me. When you start to hear his name all over during the combine now you know why.

Ben

Zack Kuntz from Old Dominion (formerly of Penn State) was a 5-star recruit who currently stands 6’8″+, and in the 250lb range. He’s got a massive wingspan, solid hands, and legitimate athletic ability. He could certainly earn himself some money with a solid workout, even in this really high quality TE draft class. Once teams see his size and athletic ability, he could become a coaches dream project prospect.

Additional Information

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