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NFL draft: Top offensive players on the board

Last year’s draft broke a streak of four straight in which a quarterback was selected first overall.

Only one went in the first round, fewest since 2013.

It’s back to normal this year, with QBs expected to go Nos. 1 and 2 and maybe as many as four in the top 10. The draft kicks off with the first round on Thursday night in Kansas City, Missouri.

Aside from the quarterbacks, this draft’s best offensive players include about as many tight ends as wide receivers and one running back who is challenging the conventional wisdom on whether teams should spend a first-round pick at that position.



Position overview: A group with question marks, but at least three of them will likely go in the top 10 and as many as five in the first round.

Bryce Young-x, 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, Alabama

Scouting report: Poised leader and creative playmaker, who excels at buying time while seeing the entire field. Elite combination of instincts and intelligence with a good arm, but, boy, is he small for an NFL quarterback.

Fact: The national high school player of the year as a senior in California went on to become the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner as a sophomore at Alabama.

Gone by: Top two.

C.J. Stroud-x, 6-3, 214, Ohio State

Scouting report: Elite accuracy and touch combined with good size and arm strength. Has shown above-average athleticism, but has seemed reluctant to use. Can linger in the pocket and lock on receivers.

Fact: Threw 85 touchdown passes to break a Big Ten record held by Drew Brees for TDs over two seasons.

Gone by: No. 2.

Anthony Richardson-x, 6-4, 244, Florida

Scouting report: The most intriguing prospect in the class, with Cam Newton-type size, athleticism and arm strength. The mechanics need work to fix accuracy issues.

Fact: Richardson had 13 career starts and only 393 pass attempts in three seasons at Florida.

Gone by: Despite all the questions, it would be surprising if Richardson drops out of the top 10.

Will Levis, 6-4, 230, Kentucky

Scouting report: Prototypical size and athleticism, with a strong arm. Accuracy and decision-making were inconsistent, especially last season.

Fact: Levis played for former Los Angeles Rams assistant Liam Coen in 2021, when he had his best season, but regressed in 2022 under new offensive coordinator.

Gone by: Top 15.

Hendon Hooker, 6-3, 217, Tennessee

Scouting report: Throws a top-notch deep ball and is an instinctive scrambler. Natural leader, but he is 25 years old, coming off a major knee injury and played in an offense that kept reads relatively simple.

Fact: Threw only five interceptions in 631 attempts at Tennessee, but did fumble 22 times.

Gone by: End of the first round.

Others to watch: Stetson Bennett, Georgia; Tanner McKee, Stanford; Jake Haener, Fresno State.


Position overview: One first-round talent and a lot of debate whether any running back should be a first-rounder.

Bijan Robinson-x, 5-11, 215, Texas

Scouting report: Vision, burst, finishing power and reliable hands make Robinson one of the best running back prospects in the past decade. Will need to be more decisive hitting holes in the NFL.

Fact: His 3,410 career yards rushing rank behind only Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson and Earl Campbell (all four-year players) in Texas history.

Gone by: Hard to predict a landing spot for Robinson, but he’s too good to slip out of the first round.

Jahmyr Gibbs-x, 5-9, 199, Alabama

Scouting report: Explosive and shifty runner, with excellent hands, but doesn’t run with tackle-breaking power.

Fact: Averaged 11.7 yards per reception over three seasons at Georgia Tech and Alabama.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

Others to watch: Devon Achane, Texas A&M; Zach Charbonnet, UCLA; Tyjae Spears, Tulane.


Position overview: This receiver class lags behind recent ones that have produced a total of 17 first-rounders in the past three years. Under five first-rounders is likely this year.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba-x, 6-1, 196, Ohio State

Scouting report: Smooth router runner. Great at tracking passes through the air and catches just about anything that hits his hands. Lacks top-end speed.

Fact: Playing in the slot most of the season with first-rounders Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, had 95 catches and 1,606 yards in 2021 but missed almost all of ’22 with a hamstring injury.

Gone by: Top 20.

Jordan Addison-x, 5-11, 173, Southern California

Scouting report: Creates separation with a combination of quickness and burst out of breaks, but he is undersized and that could limit him to the slot.

Fact: Won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver with Pitt in 2021 before transferring to USC.

Gone by: Between 20-40.

Zay Flowers, 5-9, 182, Boston College

Scouting report: Plays fast and runs aggressive after the catch for an undersized receiver. Needs to improve consistency with his hands.

Fact: Caught 78 passes for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, despite playing on an offense that had issues almost everywhere else.

Gone by: Flowers seems to be securing first-round status.

Quentin Johnston-x, 6-3, 208, TCU

Scouting report: Big, fast and strong. Looks the part, but injuries and inconsistencies held back production.

Fact: A four-star recruit who had a breakthrough season as a junior, when he caught more passes (60) than in his first two seasons combined (55).

Gone by: Middle of the second.

Jalin Hyatt-x, 6-0, 176, Tennessee

Scouting report: Blazing speed deep threat with reliable hands, but is there more to his game?

Fact: Had 11 catches of 40-plus yards, seven of 50-plus and five of 60-plus last season, all tops in major college football.

Gone by: Middle of the second.

Others to watch: Jayden Reed, Michigan State; Josh Downs, North Carolina; Tyler Scott, Cincinnati.


Position overview: The record for tight ends drafted in the first round is three, most recently done in 2017. There is a chance that gets broken and more tight ends go in the first round than wideouts.

Michael Mayer-x, 6-4, 249, Notre Dame

Scouting report: Big, reliable target — and blocker — who always seems to get open, even when he is the focus of the defense. Better before the catch than after.

Fact: Notre Dame’s career leader in catches, yards and touchdowns by a tight end.

Gone by: Best bet to be first tight end off the board.

Dalton Kincaid, 6-3 1/2, 246, Utah

Scouting report: Agile athlete with excellent body control, good hands and quick feet to avoid tacklers. Needs to refine routes and gain strength.

Fact: A zero-star recruit who started his college career at San Diego, a non-scholarship FCS school.

Gone by: Late first round.

Darnell Washington-x, 6-7, 265, Georgia

Scouting report: Massive and well-built athlete who played at over 270 pounds. Was like having an extra offensive lineman on the field who was capable of catching passes. But that part of his game will need refinement.

Fact: Had 45 career receptions in three seasons.

Gone by: End of the first round.

Luke Musgrave, 6-5, 252, Oregon State

Scouting report: Quick for his size, but needs to become a more natural receiver and sounder blocker.

Fact: Nephew of former Oregon quarterback and longtime college and NFL assistant coach Bill Musgrave.

Gone by: Could slip into the first round, too.

Others to watch: Sam LaPorta, Iowa; Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State; Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan.


Position overview: No top-10 locks, but there might be as many as five potential first-rounders in this group if teams are OK with possibly taking a player who might end up better suited for right tackle. Or guard.

Peter Skoronski-x, 6-4, 313, Northwestern

Scouting report: Explodes off the line with power and balance. Locks up defenders in the running game. Legit concerns about whether he has the length to stay at tackle at the next level.

Fact: Three-year starter at left tackle after being a blue-chip recruit.

Gone by: Even if teams are skeptical of his future at tackle, he’s a first-round guard.

Paris Johnson Jr.-x, 6-6, 313, Ohio State

Scouting report: Ideal size and athleticism, with some work to be done on technique and footwork.

Fact: Graduated with a degree in journalism and wrote for the school newspaper at Ohio State.

Gone by: Middle of the first.

Broderick Jones-x, 6-5, 311, Georgia

Scouting report: Excellent athlete (former high school basketball player) who has some questions about his build being ideal to play tackle in the NFL.

Fact: Never called for holding during his college career.

Gone by: Top 20.

Darnell Wright, 6-5, 330, Tennessee

Scouting report: Thick and feisty blocker who played more comfortably at right tackle than left.

Fact: Held up about as well as any offensive lineman in the Southeastern Conference against Alabama star pass rusher Will Anderson.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

Dawand Jones, 6-8, 370, Ohio State

Scouting report: Huge right tackle who engulfs defenders and needs to clean up footwork.

Fact: Was receiving mid-major basketball scholarship offers in high school before the big-time football offers started coming in heading into his senior year.

Gone by: Middle of the second.

Others to watch: Cody Mauch, North Dakota State; Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse; Anton Harrison, Oklahoma.


Position overview: A couple high-floor players could sneak into the first round, based on need.

John Michael Schmitz (C), 6-3, 305, Minnesota

Scouting report: Strong, tough and durable. Lacks foot quickness.

Fact: Played five seasons of college football, starting the final 35 games he played.

O’Cyrus Torrence (G), 6-5, 330, Florida

Scouting report: Long arms, strong hands and a ton of experience. Not the most athletic, which could limit him as a pulling guard.

Fact: Will be the fourth player drafted from an offensive line at Louisiana in 2019 that also had Robert Hunt (Dolphins), Max Mitchell (Jets) and Kevin Dotson (Steelers).

Gone by: Early second round.

Others to watch: Joe Tippman (C), Wisconsin; Steve Avila (G), TCU; Andrew Vorhees (G), Southern California; Luke Wypler (C), Ohio State; Emil Ekiyor Jr. (G), Alabama.


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Ralph D. Russo, The Associated Press