Folks, we’ve reached the home stretch. With April comes the NFL draft, and while many of the top prospects have become household names already, if there’s one thing to expect each and every year, it’s the unexpected. Here are a few athletes that are generating more buzz within league circles than advertised, and concurrently, I expect to go higher than expected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Luke Musgrave TE, Oregon State
A flex weapon that fits what teams want at tight end, although we saw Musgrave in just two games this fall, he dominated the Senior Bowl and will immediately become the focal point of an offense. A big man that stretches the seam, takes it the distance on a crossing route, and sticks his face in the mud in the ground game, don’t be surprised if you hear Musgrave’s name on night one of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Ricky Stromberg IOL, Arkansas
Stromberg is the second-ranked center for a handful of teams I’ve spoken to—get to know his name. An immovable force that didn’t allow a single sack in 398 snaps in pass pro this fall, his name is rising on draft boards. His strength coupled with an advanced ability to pick up stunts and blitzers showcases an athlete that could anchor a front five for a long time.
Tyler Scott WR, Cincinnati
A gifted route-runner that can threaten every level of the defense, throwing him back on special teams is another wrinkle to his game that separates him from projected day-two pass-catchers. His explosiveness and ball skills pop off the page and he’s still relatively new to the position. He’ll only get better with snaps and will thrive in an offense that utilizes his skill set at every depth.
BJ Ojulari EDGE, LSU
A twitched-up edge talent that won primarily off of athleticism in the SEC, his ceiling is truly immense. He’ll be just 21 years old for the entirety of his rookie campaign, and if he’s able to fine-tune the details of his pass-rush approach, look out. He’s got the burst, length, power, and flexibility to become an elite sack artist.
Isaiah Foskey EDGE, Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s all-time sack leader, Foskey isn’t the sexiest of draft prospects, but his mature frame and physical brand of football showcase a player that’s ready for Sundays. A leader both within the hashes and in a locker room, he won’t be for everyone, but I think he goes higher than we expect to a team in need of depth at the position where he doesn’t have to play on all three downs.
Israel Abanikanda RB, Pitt
A home-run hitter that rushed for more than 1,400 yards and totaled 20 trips to paydirt in 2022, Abanikanda has a unique blend of beef to run inside and the juice to press it east-west and kick into fifth gear before the secondary can clip his ankles on the way by. The most points wins, and Abanikanda is an athlete that understands how to reach the endzone no matter what yard line the ball is snapped at. He also won’t turn 21 until October.
10’8” broad for Izzy Abanikanda after jumping 41” in the Vert.
Both would have finished 1st among RBs in Indy. He’s making himself some $.
— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) March 29, 2023
Tanner McKee QB, Stanford
A pocket passer that has tied scouts’ hands behind their backs as far as how to project him, McKee is “extremely well liked” within league circles despite limitations outside of structure. While he didn’t have the best surroundings at Stanford, McKee has many of the traits you look for in a Sunday starter with a big arm, touch, accuracy, and ability to make full-field reads with bodies around his feet. He won’t be for everyone, but all it takes is one team to fall in love with his game on draft night.
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