FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 20th, 2023
OHIO STATE QB C.J. STROUD IS NO. 1 PROSPECT ON CHRIS SIMMS’ 2023 NFL DRAFT QUARTERBACK RANKINGS, AVAILABLE NOW ON “CHRIS SIMMS UNBUTTONED” PODCAST
“I am beyond blown away…this is as close to Joe Burrow as I’ve seen coming out in the draft.” – Simms on ranking Stroud No. 1
“He’s as natural at playing the position as you’re going to see. He makes so many great quarterback plays…He’s No. 2 because of his size and his arm is good but it’s not on the same level as C.J. Stroud.” – Simms on Alabama QB Bryce Young
“Why is this guy not getting more buzz? What is there not to like? … If you’re going off film, I don’t know how he’s not in the top quarterback conversation.” – Simms on Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker
“The only guy who we’ve seen somewhat built like this is Cam Newton…His ceiling is probably the highest in the draft. His floor, though, it might be the lowest.” – Simms on Florida QB Anthony Richardson
STAMFORD, Conn. – March 20, 2023 – NBC Sports’ Chris Simms discusses this year’s top QB prospects heading into the 2023 NFL Draft and unveiled his quarterback draft rankings on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, listing Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud No. 1. In the episode, Simms ranks and breaks down Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and Kentucky’s Will Levis.
Simms, a third-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2003 NFL Draft who played eight NFL seasons, is joined by NBC Sports’ Ahmed Fareed on the podcast. The two offer in-depth breakdowns, rankings, and NFL comparisons for this year’s top quarterback prospects.
“It’s an interesting class,” Simms said of this year’s quarterback prospects. “It’s a good class. I will say that, overall, it is a better class than last year, and I think that there’s a little bit of everything in the class, too, as far as flavors and styles of play… I think there’s less questions overall about these top guys than what we had last year.”
Fareed to Simms on his rankings: “This is all about the tape. This is film rankings. So, you didn’t have a guy No. 1 that you kind of thought from a year ago and now you’re trying to defend that No. 1 ranking and it’s hard to get off of it. You didn’t rank these guys until basically a week ago, so now you’ve looked at the film and this is what your rankings are based off of.”
Simms has had recent success in projecting college quarterbacks – including naming Patrick Mahomes as his most exciting prospect in 2017, listing Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen as his top-two QBs in 2018, and having Justin Herbert as his No. 2 QB in 2020.
In the lead up to April’s NFL Draft, Simms will rank and break down every position group, provide a list of sleeper prospects, and issue a final mock draft.
Simms’ Top Five QB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft:
|1 C.J. Stroud, Ohio State|
|2. Bryce Young, Alabama|
|3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee|
|4. Anthony Richardson, Florida|
|T5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA|
|T5. Will Levis, Kentucky|
The following are highlights from Simms’ QB draft rankings:
No. 1: C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
“I am beyond blown away from what I saw…this is as close to Joe Burrow as I’ve seen coming out in the draft. When you just talk about great decision-making, quickness, I mean that was Joe Burrow…C.J. Stroud’s ability to make high-level throws and just drop the ball in the receiver’s pockets, hit them in the chest, wherever, is off-the-charts good…He’s a pure pocket passing quarterback, but that’s not to say he can’t move and be mobile too…When you really break him down, his incompletions are off-the-charts good …Decision-making, top-notch. The ability to make power, game-changing type throws, top-notch. And then go on to accuracy with the short game, it’s all off the charts. But what separates him is the amount of 15- to 30-yard throws that are on the money that change field position or the game on a consistent basis. Like I said, Joe Burrow is the only guy I can remember where I just kept going, ‘Whoa, another strike. Whoa, another strike.’ … This is not one where I’m going out on a limb and I’m splitting hairs. For (me), definite No. 1 pick.”
No. 2: Bryce Young, Alabama
“The natural, that’s what he is. He’s as natural at playing the position as you’re going to see. He makes so many great quarterback plays. Just like C.J. Stroud, the brain is on another level. The ability to read defenses, see the field, throw the appropriate throw…For a guy that’s a college quarterback, he’s as slick as you’re going to see. What I mean by that, you might not see a ton of wow, oh my gosh throws from Bryce Young, but you see a lot of wow, oh my gosh releases and stuff like that…His ability to throw slants and screens, he can be like (Patrick) Mahomes where he can just flick it out or Aaron Rodgers where you’re just like, ‘Woah, was that out quick.’ The ability to move in the pocket and buy time, bounce around, make people miss, and then have this incredible patience…There’s really so many good things to talk about. He’s a very good athlete, he’s a great decision-maker, he’s aggressive – but not as aggressive as C.J. Stroud – and he can make some wow, highlight-type plays. But he’s No. 2 because of his size and his arm is good but it’s not on the same level as C.J. Stroud.”
No. 3: Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
“Why is this guy not getting more buzz? What is there not to like? … All I know is I saw a really good-looking, on the money, pocket passing quarterback who makes great decisions, and like C.J. Stroud, is way more athletic than people are giving him credit for. And where he might be even better than C.J. Stroud, and definitely better than Bryce Young, is his ability to see over the line and throw over the line…Totally unaffected by the pass rush. That’s where I give him tons of credit. Decision-making, that’s another one where I go it’s really off-the-charts good. The amount of NFL, high-level throws. I just mean in the pocket, 12-yard out route. In the pocket, trash around you, 15-yard in-cut…he does all of that. That’s where I loved Hendon Hooker. His motion is not my favorite. He’s a natural thrower of the football, but his motion is a little too vertical…There’s the ACL and the age thing, that’s the concern with Hendon Hooker. If you’re going off film, I don’t know how he’s not in the top quarterback conversation.”
No. 4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
“He’s Micah Parsons playing quarterback. He’s a beast of beasts when it comes to the quarterback position. The only guy who we’ve seen somewhat built like this is Cam Newton…He’s one of one in that department. This is a quarterback who’s a great athlete who’s still just learning how to play quarterback. He’s less raw than Malik Willis last year. This guy’s arm is off-the-charts good. Is there a little boom or bust here? Of course. His ceiling is probably the highest in the draft. His floor, though, it might be the lowest…You’re not going to want to rely on him like you would Hendon Hooker or Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud…He needs to be taught a few things in how to use his body the right way in throwing the football… The quarterback-designed run game is going to be a real thing with him…From what I’ve seen, he’s a natural thrower.”
No. 5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
“What’s not to like about DTR? He’s taller than Bryce Young, he’s faster than Bryce Young, and I think his arm might be stronger than Bryce Young. He plays the position of quarterback right up there with the top guys. He can do everything. He has a little bit of a long wind-up. Maybe he doesn’t see the field as well as C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young. He plays smaller than 6’2”. But after that, I don’t know what else to say. I would argue that going through reads and reading the field, other than Stroud and Young, he’s the next best one in the group…His mechanics are great, his feet are great…This kid’s got starting NFL quarterback traits. I don’t understand why the guy isn’t getting more hype.”
No. 5. Will Levis, Kentucky
“He’s got a little bit of the boom or bust factor here. His size and toughness are off the charts. He is a good athlete. You take his 10 best throws, they’re up there with anybody. He can throw in lasers like C.J. Stroud or Richardson. The problem is, it’s too few and far between. His decision-making is towards the bottom of the list, too…He’s too flicky, the motion is a little all over the place…The ability to play and get it done is not as good as those top guys in that department. His potential is greater than (Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s)…His ceiling is high…Would I be shocked if he’s a starting NFL quarterback in three years? I would not be…The power isn’t the problem, but he can be a little all over the place with his location of the ball. He feels a little ‘all potential’-based.”