Another month passes and with that comes another month of evaluating college prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft. Back in August, the TDN Scouting Staff released our first edition of the TDN100 for this year’s class. This is something we plan on updating every month as more football gets played and we as evaluators receive more information about these prospects.
After the first three weeks or so of football, we have been able to update our latest TDN100 rankings and there were quite a few players who moved up and down our board.
While the TDN100 is built upon the consensus of the scouting staff’s grades, that doesn’t mean I agree with where some players are placed. As a matter of fact, there are five players who I feel are placed a bit too high for my liking.
Here are five players who are ranked too high on the updated TDN100.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, Ohio State (No. 10)
This is a tad unfair to Jaxon Smith-Njigba as he has been out essentially this entire season dealing with a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 1. That being said, availability is your best ability, and the fact of the matter is that Smith-Njigba has been unavailable. In his absence, other Ohio State receivers have stepped up. Marvin Harrison Jr. has been on a tear this season serving as the Buckeyes’ de facto No. 1 receiver and it bears the question, when healthy, is Smith-Njigba even the most talented receiver on his own team?
Now, even if he isn’t, Smith-Njigba is still an outstanding player, a surefire first-rounder, and just so happens to be teammates with the potential best receiver in college football in Harrison. But having Smith-Njigba at No. 10 overall just feels too rich right now. He already had speed questions and projects as a big slot receiver at the next level. I love Smith-Njigba, but I think he should be knocked down a few spots until he comes back healthy and strings some strong games together.
Kyu Blu Kelly CB, Stanford (No. 29)
Kyu Blu Kelly entered the year as one of the more intriguing names in a very talented cornerback draft class. He is an athletic corner who flashes top-end explosiveness and competitiveness. Kelly recently finished a battle with our new WR1 in Jordan Addison from USC and unfortunately for Kelly, Addison won the battle in a big way. Addison ran by Kelly for a deep touchdown and routed him up on numerous other plays.
Now, it’s unfair to crush Kelly for losing against Addison, who has been dominant this season, but I do think it’s fair to bring him down a spot or two—especially when you see the other corners who are right below him in Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez and Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. At the very least, he should move below those two.
Parker Washington WR, Penn State (No. 36)
This is a player I really liked coming into the summer and I still do. I just have a hard time putting him this high right now as he simply lacks the production this season.
Parker Washington is off to a rough start to his season, only securing 10 receptions through three games and failing to reach the end zone. Washington is still a very talented player, but the production just simply isn’t there. To Washington’s credit, the quarterback play at Penn State has been terrible and that’s certainly hurt him, but for a receiver to be ranked in the top 40, I need much more production.
Jermaine Burton WR, Alabama (No. 50)
So, this is a player I have been proven right about so far this season. I personally don’t see Jermaine Burton as a top player in this draft class and had him out of my top 50 when he was initially ranked No. 38 on our TDN100. He has since fallen to No. 50 but he should fall even farther.
I just don’t know what Burton does that’s special. I think he has above-average speed, hands, body control, and separation quickness but lacks an elite skill or trait to hang his hat on. He is undersized as is and isn’t overly fast and doesn’t win consistently at the catch point. Burton projects as a solid No. 3 option with the upside to be a mid-tier No. 2 at the next level. That does not equate to him being a top-50 player in this class.
Zach Harrison EDGE, Ohio State (No. 64)
I’ll admit, I have never been the biggest Zach Harrison guy. I appreciate the length, the linear explosiveness, and the effort he plays with, but he simply hasn’t turned those traits into production. Through three games, he has yet to record a sack and simply hasn’t played at the level of a player with his traits and experience.
He elected to come back to college this season to prove he can produce at a high level and work his way to raise his NFL draft stock. Unfortunately, it’s just been more of the same—all potential, no production. There’s still time for Harrison to turn it around, but No. 64 overall is too high for me at this time.
- Sep 26, 2022
- Sep 26, 2022