With the February release of the TDN100, our next step toward final 2023 NFL Draft rankings takes a critical leap thanks to the all-star circuit. While we’ve had finalized tape on these prospects for weeks (or in some cases months), getting to collect new information in a football setting offers a fresh perspective on many players. These settings are critical for the equal footing they provide all NFL draft prospects and the opportunities to show fresh skills that didn’t necessarily fall in line with what their college team asked them to do.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that more than half of the newcomers to the February TDN100 update are all-star game participants.
As we do each month, our scouting department was polled for their respective top-100 ballots for the best prospects that the 2023 NFL Draft process has to offer. Those ballots are tallied and averaged to provide a consensus top-100 score, a la the TDN100. Here are the new arrivals in this month’s update and how they came to move the needle for our staff in our evaluations.
Alex Austin CB, Oregon State (No. 98)
Austin is the “other” Beavers cornerback along with Rezjohn Wright. But despite being a generally under-the-radar NFL draft prospect, Austin gathered love from our resident Pac-12 scouts (Brentley Weissman and Damian Parson). Both gave Austin a top-75 vote and pushed him into the top 100 (CB15).
Tyjae Spears RB, Tulane (No. 97)
Spears rocked out at the Senior Bowl as the consensus top running back in attendance in the eyes of our team. With an impressive college resume, a hallmark showcase against the USC Trojans, a bigger-than-expected weigh-in, and a strong week in Mobile, Spears has jettisoned up our positional rankings and checks in currently as RB6.
DeMarvion Overshown LB, Texas (No. 95)
The journey to the pros has been an up-and-down one for Overshown. This was a player who was very popular back in 2021 but there’s been plenty of questions to go along with his range and length—largely with his frame and physicality. Overshown’s projection still isn’t a super clean one to play traditional linebacker, but he looked the part in Mobile and you know he’s going to showcase well at the NFL Combine based on his tape. He’s TDN’s LB7.
Byron Young IDL, Alabama (No. 91)
Young can credit Joe Marino for his debut in the TDN100; Marino tabbed Young as the No. 44 overall player on his individual ballot to help lock in a top-100 position. The ceiling here is the question, but we’ve seen plenty of other high-floor Alabama defenders who can control the line of scrimmage go in the first two days of the NFL draft. Young is trending to be the next. He’s TDN’s IDL8.
Tyrique Stevenson CB, Miami (No. 90)
Another Senior Bowl standout staked fresh real estate in the top 100 as Stevenson jumped 36 spots and into the CB14 position. He’s No. 90 overall after showcasing his length and physicality in press coverage all week in Mobile.
Jayden Reed WR, Michigan State (No. 82)
Speaking of Senior Bowl standouts, Reed played in a largely punchless Michigan State offense in 2022 after an explosive 2021 breakout campaign. His arrival and performance in Mobile certainly recaptured the energy that many had for Reed after a 10-touchdown season in 2021. Reed shined not just as a route-runner, but also for his ability on special teams. He’s pushed himself up to WR12 after his showcase at the Senior Bowl, which was much less dependent on quarterback play to shine than his game tape.
Deonte Banks CB, Maryland (No. 79)
Banks was a player that our staff got around to a little later than the consensus on account of prioritizing the all-star game prospects first in our regional scouting efforts. But Banks logged quite an impression now that eyes have started to shift this way; he garnered two top-50 votes on individual ballots. In a crowded cornerback class, he’s still got room to rise—he’s CB13 but still a top-80 player. I’d guess he chases down several names in this NFL draft class, including TCU’s Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Syracuse’s Garrett Williams, in our next update in March.
Tyler Scott WR, Cincinnati (No. 76)
Our very own Joe Marino wasn’t the first NFL draft analyst to get eyes on Scott but he certainly fell in love on his own accord. Maybe Scott should have arrived in the December or January updates but our process was dedicated to attacking Senior Bowl participants first and foremost, which means this underclassman wide receiver didn’t get a full write-up until recently.
Marino promptly graded Scott out as a top 50 player on his February ballot, more than enough to lock him into the TDN100 this month. He’s currently WR11 with room to rise once we get to his film in our cross-check process in March.
Steve Avila IOL, TCU (No. 71)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Senior Bowl really helped Avila’s case. He had a chance to showcase himself at both guard and center, showcasing quick hands, a heavy anchor, and pleasant mobility. He certainly looked more dynamic than the heavy hitter he was at right guard for the Horned Frogs on film—offering more energy and enthusiasm for a more scheme-diverse role in the NFL. As our current IOL6, Avila is a firm middle-of-day-two projection for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Sydney Brown SAF, Illinois (No. 69)
Brown was a player who I watched on tape in the build-up to Mobile and immediately appreciated his versatility. I tabbed him as a “discount Antoine Winfield Jr.” but simultaneously voiced some hesitancy on his translatability in the slot. Not anymore.
Brown told me so himself in the aftermath of the Thursday practice in Mobile, crediting this event for showing that he can cover wide receivers in the same way he was charged with covering tight ends so often at Illinois.
With more comfort in his coverage ability, I bumped Brown into nearly the top 50. One other ballot slotted him 46th. He’s currently SAF5—a very nice bump for one of the biggest winners of this year’s Senior Bowl.
Calijah Kancey IDL, Pittsburgh (No. 63)
We knew all about Kancey’s quickness on tape, but negotiating his stature versus his disruptive nature was something that continues to be a fluid process. Our scouting team is buying in now more than ever as we continue to comb through the interior defensive line class for the 2023 NFL Draft, with Kancey checking in as a top-60 player in three of the five collected ballots. He’s currently polling at IDL5.
Keeanu Benton IDL, Wisconsin (No. 62)
Benton has been renowned as a nose tackle for several seasons at Wisconsin, offering terrific agility and lateral mobility “for a big guy.” Nope. There were no qualifying statements to his movement skills up close and personal at the 2023 Senior Bowl; this dude simply has the juice.
Benton has risen all the way up to IDL4 (or higher, depending on your classification for Georgia Tech’s Keion White) and set a new high-water mark of 62nd overall after a breakout cameo appearance in the TDN100 in the final five players back in November.
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