The most impressive quarterback prospect I saw last season was Stroud, who made substantial strides with each game as a redshirt freshman. There is no question he benefits from Ryan Day's play-calling and the elite talent around him, but Stroud still needs to make the throws, and his understanding of anticipation and touch make you sit up in your seat.
The fourth Georgia Bulldog prospect in this mock, Van Pran is the least known of the group, but that should change soon. After redshirting in 2020, he started all 15 games at center last season and put himself on the NFL radar.
The Texans simply need as much overall talent as possible, regardless of position. Moore is a rangy, athletic, versatile safety who would give them another much-needed playmaker on the back end of the defense.
We'll have a full year to debate Young's size, but there's no debating how the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner plays the quarterback position. Last season, the sophomore not only earned a 92.2 overall grade in his first season as a starter, but he also earned by far the highest grade of anyone against Georgia's loaded defense -- 89.0 in the SEC Championship.
If Will Anderson was in the 2022 NFL Draft, he would've been the first player taken. Of course, a year ago, Kayvon Thibodeaux was the slam-dunk, write-it-in-Sharpie No. 1 overall player and then Travon Walker came on the scene late. Whatever happens on April 27, 2023, Anderson is a special talent and was dominant for Alabama last season.
Ricks and No. 3 overall pick Derek Stingley were former teammates at LSU and are reunited in Houston in Lovie Smith's defense. Ricks transferred to Alabama ahead of the '22 season and has the physical tools that translate to the next level, he just needs more experience.
While the 2022 NFL Draft was lacking worthy quarterback talent at the top of the board, the same will not be true in 2023. Stroud's blend of size, athleticism, arm talent, and intangibles profiles him as a potential No. 1 overall selection.
If running backs get drafted in the first round they have to be special. Gibbs has been among college football's best-kept secrets at Georgia Tech but transferred to Alabama. He won't be under the radar for much longer.
The debate between Young and Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud will likely rage for most of the 2022 college football season. Is this pick "calling my shot" that Young is the better prospect? Not in the slightest... However, when you look at Texans' Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton's offensive scheme and history of QBs he has worked with (Alex Smith, Kyle Orton, Andrew Luck, Chad Pennington, et al.), it's pretty clear this team will want to run the ball, be efficient on offense and control the field on third downs.
Both top QB prospects can do that, but--months out--and things between these two young men being relatively equal, I'm going with the Heisman Trophy winner coming off a National Championship appearance.
A transfer for Georgia Tech, there's so much talent in the Alabama backfield that there's a legitimate chance he finds himself on the back of the depth chart because even the most talented players need to fight for playing time on a roster where everyone's rocking four and five stars. Gibbs is already impressing on campus for the Crimson Tide and would step into the Houston roster as a gamebreaking athlete who can run, catch and return kicks.
The Houston Texans could very well be in the market for a quarterback here. After all, they are selecting with the first overall pick with Davis Mills at the helm. But this was always a long-haul rebuild for the franchise.
And Will Anderson Jr. is clearly the most talented player returning to college football. He's a true game-wrecker with his combination of speed and strength. What he demonstrated in 2021 gave glimpses of perhaps the best pass rusher we've ever seen in college football.
Another Ohio State offensive lineman is off the board in this NFL Mock Draft as the larger-than-life Dawand Jones heads to the Texans. As Laremy Tunsil is entrenched in the left tackle spot, Jones enters the mix to take over the right side.
At 6'8" and 360 pounds, Jones is a mountain of a man that is impossible to move as a smaller edge rusher. Additionally, he has plenty of movement skills to boot. It's a big need for an ever-improving Texans roster.
The reigning Heisman winner has another year in Tuscaloosa, but should be considered the favorite to be the top pick next year. If the Texans are bad enough under Lovie Smith to get the #1 pick, it'd be hard to justify continuing to roll with Davis Mills.