Dynasty managers often find rookie draft time one of the most exciting of the year, and while the 2023 NFL Draft is many months away, getting ahead of league mates can be crucial. Cramming rookie content after the NFL season can result in success in rookie drafts, but understanding the on-the-radar players before the college football season can make for strategic viewing choices and a more critical eye. The 2022 class lacked quarterback talent at the top, but the 2023 class looks much more potent, with a handful of players vying for spots in the first round. Which prospects are nearly sure things, and which will exceed expectations?
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
RS Sophomore | 6'3, 216 lbs
Stepping into Justin Fields' shoes is no small task, but after a rocky couple of games to start 2021, C.J. Stroud did just that. The former four-star recruit put on a show in 2021. He threw for 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns, and just 6 interceptions. He has the arm and accuracy to throw to all three levels of the field. He's athletic, though he prefers to operate within the pocket. He showed an ability to progress through reads, especially down the stretch, in 2021. Stroud looks to improve upon his Heisman-vote-getting season and solidify himself as the top quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft and rookie drafts next spring. He currently projects as a top-five selection, with many projecting him as the top overall pick.
Bryce Young, Alabama
Junior | 6'0, 194 lbs
Like Stroud, Young had to step into the shoes of a first-rounder following the departure of Mac Jones. He did not disappoint. In his first full year as the starter, Young threw for 4,872 yards, 47 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions and ended up winning the Heisman. Young displayed advanced anticipation, constantly trusting his receiving corps to be open and in their spots. He throws with good touch, and while he's athletic and able to create out of structure, he, too, prefers to operate within the pocket. Young has a strong arm, albeit not an elite one, and his placement is next-level. The biggest question for Young is size; he is shorter for a quarterback prospect and has a thin frame. He projects as the second quarterback off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft (within the Top 5) and will likely be a top-five selection in Superflex league rookie drafts.
Will Levis, Kentucky
RS Senior | 6'3, 222 lbs
Outside of Stroud and Young, there are no locks for the first round of next year's draft. But of the quarterbacks that need some projection, Will Levis may have the best tools. The fifth-year senior, standing at 6-foot-3, 222 pounds, arrived at Kentucky and immediately found success. His arm talent and ability to change arm angles to get the ball out are the best in the class. He has more rushing upside than the former two, running 107 times for 376 yards and scoring nine in 2021. Levis struggles with consistent decision-making, often throwing 50-50 balls and hoping for the best. But when he's locked in, his ball placement is above average. Levis currently has the eighth-best odds to be the first overall pick, and many project him inside the first round and even the Top 10. Levis has to develop, but his fantasy ceiling exceeds that of Stroud and Young due to his willingness and effectiveness in running the ball.
Tanner McKee, Stanford
Junior | 6'6, 228 lbs
Tanner McKee, a name more familiar to college football fans that follow recruitment, has had quite the collegiate career. After graduating high school as the third-ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation, McKee went on a church mission for two years before joining Stanford. Sitting behind Davis Mills, he only played in one game. But in 2021, he threw for 2,327 yards, 15 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions. McKee possesses advanced ball placement. His command of the pro-style offense at Stanford, an experience that helped Davis Mills as a rookie, was impressive for a first-year starter. He has NFL arm talent, and another productive year in the Stanford system could place him among the best quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. His fantasy ceiling is lower, as he's a good, not great, athlete. Still, his athleticism isn't prohibitive enough to remove all interest in him in rookie drafts, provided he gets first-round capital in 2023.
Anthony Richardson, Florida
RS Sophomore | 6'4, 236 lbs
While Will Levis may have the best overall tools, Anthony Richardson has the best arm strength and athleticism combination to the point that if he develops in a few key areas, he could have QB1 overall upside. The Gator quarterback runs the football like a running back or receiver would, displaying elusiveness and power to go with his breakaway speed. When he drops back to throw, it's not outlandish to believe he'd throw the ball 70 yards with ease. His arm has juice. But Richardson's pass attempts lacked accuracy and touch, and he lacks comfort operating within the pocket. It may take more than one season, but if he can hit his ceiling, there isn't a more alluring quarterback prospect in the class.
Tyler Van Dyke, Miami (FL)
RS Sophomore | 6'4, 224 lbs
Tyler Van Dyke has received a ton of preseason NFL Draft buzz, putting him firmly in the mix to become a first-rounder in 2023. Van Dyke, the former four-star recruit, took over for an injured D'Eriq King in 2021 and never looked back, throwing for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just 6 interceptions in just ten games. Van Dyke has solid movement skills for his size, operating outside of structure well without sacrificing accuracy. He has a solid understanding of velocity, throwing with touch, and zipping the ball appropriately. His arm strength won't blow evaluators away, but his field vision and anticipation make up for that. Van Dyke projects as a first-rounder by many but, like McKee, possesses a lower ceiling due to the lack of dual-threat capability.
Under the Radar
Jaren Hall, BYU
RS Junior | 6'1, 205 lbs
Jaren Hall is another player that went on a church mission, pushing his eligibility out a year and making him 25 years old when he plays his first NFL snap. Hall has a baseball arm, changing arm angles and zipping the ball nicely to all three levels. He possesses dual-threat ability, rushing for 307 yards and three scores in 2021. His inclusion in the first round is seen now as a longshot, but another efficient, productive year could push him up draft boards. First-round capital would place Hall firmly in the mix to be a top-ten pick in rookie drafts.
Devin Leary, NC State
RS Junior | 6'1, 212 lbs
Devin Leary has a strong arm. He's also smart with the football; the tools are there. Yet, the nuance in his game needs to improve if he wants to hear his name called early in the 2023 NFL Draft. Leary holds the ball too long and misses wide-open receivers, but in his first full year as a starter, he threw for 3,433 yards, 35 touchdowns, and just 5 interceptions. The ACC is wide open, and with development in those key areas, it's reasonable to believe he could have a Kenny Pickett-like rise in 2022. And if he does, he holds more interest than even some of the above QBs.