Reid’s NFL draft QB Hot Board: Ranking the top 15 passers, plus potential team fits

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The college football season is officially past the midway point, and we have six months until the 2023 NFL draft. Nothing is set in stone, but we’re beginning to get a better understanding of this upcoming class.

After an underwhelming 2022 quarterback group that included only one first-round selection, this year’s class promises to be much more interesting. The race for QB1 is heating up, and there still isn’t a consensus top option. But the QB class is deep, too.

So how do the quarterbacks stack up? I ranked every draftable passer in my first edition of the QB Hot Board, an in-depth list that provides an early look at 15 signal-callers. We’ll hit brief breakdowns of strengths and weaknesses, current draft stock and even potential team fits. Each player still has multiple regular-season games and bowl season remaining, so a lot could change. But here’s how top draft-eligible options rank right now.

HT: 6-foot | WT: 194 pounds | Class: Junior
Projected range: Round 1

Young is a poised dual-threat thrower who plays the game with the same heartbeat no matter the magnitude of the situation. His sufficient arm strength is coupled with great accuracy to all parts of the field. Young is slippery in the pocket and can maneuver outside of structure to create throwing windows.

At 6-foot, his height will be talked about leading up to the draft. We’ve seen shorter passers like Kyler Murray get drafted early in recent years, but Young’s frame — he’s under 200 pounds — makes for a unique evaluation. But he entered the season as my QB1, and that hasn’t changed to this point. In six games, Young has 1,657 passing yards, 16 touchdown throws and three interceptions.

Potential team fit: Houston Texans. The inconsistency of Davis Mills likely places the Texans in the hunt for another quarterback. They have plenty of draft capital, and Young would give Houston a young passer with loads of potential to build around.


HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 218 | Class: Junior
Projected range: Round 1

Stroud is a smooth distributor with a clean and fluid throwing motion, and his feet are routinely tied to his eyes. I love the way he dissects and attacks any type of coverage, as he always seems to have a plan. And Stroud isn’t afraid to trust his targets in one-on-one situations.

Through six games, he has thrown for 1,737 passing yards 24 touchdowns and three interceptions. His 94.4 QBR leads the nation, too. Stroud is a true pocket passer who only uses his running ability when necessary, but scouts would like to see him outside of structure a bit more, when plays don’t operate as planned.

Potential team fit: Carolina Panthers. The Panthers — who just fired coach Matt Rhule and have a strong chance to land the No. 1 pick in April’s draft — have poured resources into the QB position with minimal return on investment. Stroud would give them hope and a potential franchise player to build around on offense. With an improved line and playmakers like Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore, Carolina might be an ideal situation for the Ohio State product.


HT: 6-foot-4 | WT: 232 | Class: Redshirt sophomore
Projected range: Round 1

We’ll hear the word “traits” a lot regarding Richardson. He has a strong build and a massive arm, and he releases the ball with an easy flick of the wrist. But Richardson’s game is still raw in every sense of the word. He still has only eight career starts, and his game tape features a rollercoaster of peaks and valleys.

Through seven games, Richardson has more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns passes (six), and he is completing only 56.5% of his throws. Plus, he has recorded a turnover in all but two starts this season, which describes his inconsistent decision-making and spurts of inaccurate passes. He is a competitive runner, though, and he has accumulated six rushing touchdowns this season and seems to be at his best when he’s incorporated into the team’s rushing attack.

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Anthony Richardson’s long run sets up Montrell Johnson TD

Potential team fit: New York Giants. The key to Richardson’s success at the next level will be patience, belief in the prospect and consistency with coaching staff holdover. The Giants now have an experienced offensive mind proven to be a quarterback developer in Brian Daboll, and New York GM Joe Schoen isn’t foreign to taking risks on a still-developing QB. With the franchise in the early stages of a roster retooling, a high-upside project could be a savvy move because of the infrastructure in place.


HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 232 | Class: Redshirt senior
Projected range: Round 1

A well-built and powerful thrower, Levis is already doing a lot of the things inside of the Wildcats’ offense that will be asked of him on the next level. He operates often from both under-center and out of the shotgun, and he seems to be at his best when the offense centers around play-action. In six games, he has 1,635 passing yards, 13 touchdown passes and five interceptions.

Coming into the season, turnovers sat atop the negatives column on his scouting report. That hasn’t changed; Levis has recorded a fumble or interception in all but one start (Northern Illinois) this year. Avoiding turnovers and improving his ball security will be something to watch.

Potential team fit: Detroit Lions. Offense has been the least of concerns in Detroit, but questions about the long-term answer under center still remain. Jared Goff is under contract through the 2024 season — though with much less dead cap in 2023 than this season — but the Lions could look to get a jump start on the heir apparent. It’s easy to envision the Lions gravitating towards his toughness and upside.


HT: 6-foot-4 | WT: 218 | Class: Redshirt senior
Projected range: Rounds 1-2

The pilot of a high-flying offense, Hooker is one of the biggest risers of the season, and an argument could be made that he is in the driver’s seat for the Heisman Trophy. He has above-average arm strength and accuracy, and he’s a poised passer who can decipher and deliver with speed. He has managed to record 1,817 passing yards, 15 touchdown throws and only one interception. But Hooker is also an underrated runner (287 rushing yards, three more scores), showcasing timely scrambles outside of the pocket that help him take advantage of voids in defenses.

Hooker has experienced a career resurgence since transferring from Virginia Tech following the 2020 season, but considering he will be a 25-year-old rookie in the NFL, age will be a constant talking point here. According to ESPN Stats and Information, only eight quarterbacks have been drafted at 25 years old or older, and only three were selected prior to the sixth round.

Potential team fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Tom Brady carrying year-to-year status, it would be wise for the Bucs to have some form of a heir apparent. Former second-round pick Kyle Trask hasn’t been what the team envisioned, and this fit makes a lot of sense for Hooker because of his maturity. As an older prospect, it would be ideal for him to step into an environment with a roster built to contend. The Tampa Bay offense is known to attack vertically, which mirrors Tennessee’s current scheme.


HT: 6-foot-1 | WT: 205 | Class: Redshirt junior
Projected range: Early Day 3

The second-year starter has been in full control of the BYU offense, displaying plenty of arm strength and improved accuracy. Hall plays with a quiet lower-half and distributes the football around the offense. He has 1,914 passing yards, 17 TD passes and three interceptions through seven games, and he carries a 72.9 QBR. And his completion percentage is up from 63.9% in 2021 to 67.7% this season.

Eye manipulation is the one area Hall must continue to improve. He tends to lock onto his targets, hoping they come open rather than manipulating defenders with his eyes and moving them where he wants them to go.

Potential team fit: New Orleans Saints. Since the retirement of Drew Brees, the Saints haven’t been very aggressive with finding a quarterback of the future. Jameis Winston hasn’t been healthy enough to prove that he’s the long-term solution. Hall is another prospect who will be 25 years old during the pre-draft process, and the Saints need a young signal-caller to eventually build around.


HT: 6-foot-1 | WT: 205 | Class: Redshirt senior
Projected range: Early Day 3

Thompson-Robinson is playing like a completely different player this season and is in better control of Chip Kelly’s offense. The biggest difference? He is playing within the scheme and not trying to do too much. DTR often found himself playing hero ball in the past, but he’s now operating one of the most efficient attacks in the country. Through six games, he has 1,510 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

The ball comes off the senior signal-caller’s hand with purpose behind it, and Thompson-Robinson is a much more accurate thrower this season — his completion percentage has jumped from 62.2% to 74.8% since last year. He also does a good job using his legs on designed runs, picking up 231 yards and four scores on the ground.

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Dorian Thompson-Robinson takes the play-action to the house to give the Bruins a 33-10 lead in the third quarter.

Potential team fit: Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles’ diverse run game and play-action concepts heavily involving the tight ends fits with Thompson-Robinson. Jalen Hurts could be the answer moving forward, but with Gardner Minshew becoming a free agent after the season, the franchise could look to draft a developmental player here.


HT: 6-foot-6 | WT: 230 | Class: Junior
Projected range: Early Day 3

A polished passer who has experience from a multitude of pre-snap platforms, McKee displays great patience in the pocket. He is efficient and exhausts his progressions. In an offense that’s a bit of a mixed bag with its scheme, he has been exposed to a lot of different concepts, and he appears very comfortable in all of them. McKee’s greatest asset, though, is his touch. McKee has thrown for 1,537 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

Potential team fit: Indianapolis Colts. I’m looking at McKee’s ability off play-action and comfort with it from multiple pre-snap platforms here. He’d be a great fit for Frank Reich’s offense.


HT: 6-foot-1 | WT: 210 | Class: Redshirt junior
Projected range: Late Day 3

Hartman missed the season-opener due to a medical condition but has piled up 1,442 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and two interceptions over the five games since returning. He operates an unconventional offense that involves many elongated mechanics at the mesh point, and getting away from those principles will be a bit of a learning curve for Hartman.

But while the Demon Deacons’ signal-caller has an average arm, his accuracy has improved — and most notably to the deeper portions of the field. Outside the confines of that Wake Forest offense, he’s still very much a projection, but he could be popular late-round possibility.

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Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman avoids pressure and finds A.T. Perry for a touchdown.

Potential team fit: Los Angeles Chargers. This offense is predicated on hitting short routes and getting the ball out quickly. A timing-based scheme that enables Hartman to thrive in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field could help him become a steady No. 2 option.


HT: 6-foot-4 | WT: 235 | Class: Junior
Projected range: Late Day 3

Uiagalelei struggled through his first season as a starter, but he has rebounded in Year 2. He has a big frame with plenty of arm strength, but he’s still working through the nuances of the position. With 1,665 passing yards and 21 total touchdowns (17 passing, four rushing) through seven games, he’s already well on track to surpass his 2021 numbers.

Pocket presence and processing speed have to improve, as he’s often a tick late when working through progressions. But the talent is there.

Potential team fit: Philadelphia Eagles. This offense mixes QB designed-runs with passing concepts that revolve around the run-game creativity. And Uiagalelei averages 12 carries per game and is at his best when he can be an extension of the run game. It allows him to get into the rhythm of the game, similar to how the Eagles use Hurts.


HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 232 | Class: Redshirt senior
Projected range: Late Day 3

With a snappy release, Sanders is an easy thrower who can put power behind the ball while also displaying adequate touch. He has a sudden lower-half and puts his body in position to get the ball out quickly. Through six games, he has recorded 1,639 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes to go along with three interceptions.

Inconsistency has plagued Sanders throughout his career. While stretches of highlight-worthy throws are intriguing, his decision-making still needs work.

Potential team fit: Arizona Cardinals. Sanders fits with an up-tempo offense that gets his arm in rhythm. Murray is the franchise QB, but Sanders could work in Arizona as a late-round option to develop.


HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 210 | Class: Senior
Projected range: Late Day 3

The Harlon Hill Trophy winner last season as Division II’s most valuable player, Bagent is already getting some buzz as a potential late-round sleeper. He has a polished, over-the-top delivery, he’s decisive, and he displays efficient footwork. Bagent has thrown for 2,267 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions while helping the Rams to a 7-0 record. But because of his level of competition, scouts will want to see how he adjusts a a postseason all-star event.

Potential team fit: Washington Commanders. Bagent’s throwing profile translates well to Scott Turner’s scheme, which features plenty of wide-open sets. The Commanders spent a fifth-round pick on Sam Howell in 2022, and they currently have Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke, making for a crowded quarterback room. But if Washington wants to make another late-round dart throw at the position, Bagent could be an option.


HT: 6-foot-2 | WT: 220 | Class: Redshirt sophomore
Projected range: Late Day 3/UDFA

After lighting up the FCS ranks at Incarnate Word, Ward transferred to Washington State, hoping to thrive in the Cougars’ Air Raid offense. He has found his comfort zone there, but there are still questionable moments on tape (eight interceptions). Ward has a quick sidearm throwing release and picks apart defenses in the short-to-intermediate areas. But he can also push the ball down the field.

In seven games this season, Ward has 1,962 passing yards and 16 touchdown throws. His ball placement and decision-making will need to improve drastically, though. He has spurts of inaccuracy, most notably over the middle of the field.

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Washington State QB Cameron Ward shows out in the first half with four passing touchdowns vs. Colorado State.

Potential team fit: San Francisco 49ers. The Niners’ offense is predicated on rhythm with a heavy mixture of play-action and run-game concepts, and San Francisco hasn’t been shy about drafting late-round QBs in hopes of getting something out of them as down-the-line options on its depth chart.


14. Will Rogers, Mississippi State

HT: 6-foot-2 | WT: 210 | Class: Junior
Projected range: Late Day 3/UDFA

Rogers is steady distributor with an average arm, but he is very decisive with his throws. Because of his efficiency, quick release and assertiveness in finding the early options on his progressions, he has managed to throw for 2,324 yards and 23 touchdowns — both top-three numbers in the country. But his 5.5 air yards per passing attempt ranks 125th, a testament to how he takes advantage of the underneath areas.

Potential team fit: New York Jets. Since returning from injury, Zach Wilson is slowly returning to form and might just be the long-term answer. But Roger makes a lot of sense as a No. 2 or No. 3 option because of his dependable decision-making in the shorter areas of the field.


HT: 6-foot-2 | WT: 218 | Class: Junior
Projected range: Late Day 3/UDFA

Rising is the definition of a gamer. He never panics when plays don’t pan out how they’re drawn up, as he routinely makes something out of nothing. With experience under center and from the shotgun, there aren’t many concepts foreign to Rising. But he has limited arm strength, and he leans on his solid anticipation and instincts. In seven games this season, he has thrown for 1,855 yards, 15 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Potential team fit: Los Angeles Chargers. He’s an ideal third option here who could eventually turn into a backup. His instincts and quick-game timing match well in the Chargers’ scheme.

Source: ESPN


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