CJ Stroud, other QBs to watch

The 2023 NFL draft is 359 days away. We must be ready.

If you look back at our early peek at 25 prospects for the 2022 NFL draft from roughly one year ago today, you’ll see we nailed a lot of eventual first-round picks — nine of them, in fact, including Derek Stingley Jr., Kayvon Thibodeaux, Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal and Chris Olave.

We also added some eventual undrafted players, such as Jalen Wydermyer and Bubba Bolden (yikes), plus several players who returned to school, on our list. We fully admit that a lot can happen in the next 51 or so weeks.

It’s a good launching point until we get to August, when the helmets and pads return. Here are 10 quarterbacks and 15 non-QBs whom we think could be players to watch and early contenders for lofty draft positions.

Quarterbacks

CJ Stroud, Ohio State

Perhaps the early favorite for QB1 honors, Stroud has a nearly perfect environment in Columbus: an elite offensive designer in head coach Ryan Day, a true go-to receiver (see below), a possible stud at left tackle and a vibrant run game.

Plus, Stroud has the arm talent teams seek in a franchise passer. I love the way he layers passes over the second level of the defense and puts it where his receiver has the best chance to catch it and maximize YAC.

Bryce Young, Alabama

There will be questions about his height — he’s listed at 6-foot, but we tend to doubt that number — and Young isn’t a scrambler. But his anticipation, smarts and toughness all appear to be top notch. Plus, Bama once more is fairly loaded at the skill positions and will have continuity on the offensive coaching staff.

Young is the ultimate point guard at QB. Expect some Drew Brees comparisons for his ability to distribute the ball all over the field and make unexpected things happen on the fly.

Alabama QB Bryce Young is one of the best point-guard passers in…

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