Another week has handed, and the 2023 NFL Draft is one other week nearer. Each week of study main as much as the occasion offers new takeaways to debate in our weekly PFN Scouting Notebook. NFL Draft analyst Oli Hodgkinson is off this week, however Ian Cummings is right here to replace the pocket book with a few new entries.
Favorite 2023 NFL Draft under-the-radar prospects within the Big 12
As the season inches nearer, our draft analysts at PFN have been scouring every convention, looking for draft-eligible expertise to doc. Last week, Oli wrapped up his ideas on the SEC after reviewing that star-studded convention. This previous week, I’ve had the pleasure of researching the Big 12 intimately. And it’s been an enlightening course of.
Oli’s takeaway from his SEC analysis nonetheless stands: The SEC reigns supreme relating to 2023 NFL Draft expertise. But in any of the Power Five conferences, in the event you actually dig deep, you will discover underrated and unearthed expertise wherever you look. That reality was solely strengthened by my analysis of the Big 12. I nonetheless have a few groups left to have a look at, however up to now, listed below are 5 of my favourite under-the-radar prospects that the Big 12 has to supply for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
After his jaw-dropping NFL Combine efficiency, everybody shall be on the lookout for the subsequent Travon Walker for the foreseeable future. The end result of his profession doesn’t essentially matter on this context. No matter what occurs, Walker is a moldable ball of clay with absurd athleticism, power, and energy capability. Any defensive coordinator would need that sort of expertise to work with and develop.
I gained’t inform you there’s one other Walker within the 2023 NFL Draft class. But I additionally gained’t dismiss the chance. Clemson’s Myles Murphy already attracts parallels to that mould, however one other monstrous edge rusher very a lot price mentioning is Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson.
Wilson — who logged 13.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks in 2021 — has an absurd body, standing at 6’6″, 270 kilos with arms close to 36″ lengthy. With his size, Wilson brings elite energy capability, however he additionally has good burst, pursuit velocity, and sufficient hip flexibility to redirect rushes.
Fire up the tape on Wilson, as a result of odds are, you’re too low on him.
Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
Looking for a cornerback with the athleticism and explosiveness to match receivers upfield, and arms that make some offensive linemen jealous? Allow me to current to you Julius Brents, a cornerback out of Kansas State. Brents is a former Iowa commit, however he’s discovered a house at Kansas State, the place he’ll look to finish his profession on a excessive notice in 2022.
Brents is round 6’3″, 204 kilos, with arms nearly 34″ lengthy. That’s absurd size for a cornerback, however Brents carries it pretty effectively. He’s capable of play low in his stance and transition. He’s additionally an explosive, long-striding athlete who can shut rapidly in run help and shut passing home windows in protection. Brents has room to enhance his ball abilities and monitoring capability, however the bodily instruments are there for him to develop right into a playmaking position.
Jared Bartlett, LB, West Virginia
Watch West Virginia’s protection from the 2021 season, and also you’ll see a whole lot of ups and downs. But by way of all of it, you’ll additionally see a linebacker who’s flying across the discipline, dropping into protection, standing up tackles, and speeding the sting on passing downs. This linebacker is Jared Bartlett — a 6’2″, 234-pound motor monster with a really thrilling NFL projection.
Bartlett performs the BANDIT position for West Virginia. It’s primarily an on-ball linebacker position that permits him to hurry the sting, surge by way of gaps, and assault contained in the field. He’s additionally typically requested to drop into protection, however his work within the field is what’s most spectacular.
Bartlett is visibly undersized and battles frequent mismatches, however he combats that with explosive athleticism and attention-grabbing bend capability. For defensive coordinators that like versatility and pass-rushing capability from their LBs, Bartlett must be on the radar.
Steve Avila, C, TCU
Quentin Johnston is one among my favourite prospects early on within the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, however he’s not the one one on TCU’s offense price circling. There’s additionally one very stable prospect at a place that may get missed — first-team All-Big 12 middle Steve Avila.
Even after a stellar 2021 marketing campaign, Avila can nonetheless try for extra consistency. But his brightest moments are enthralling, and it makes it simple to undertaking what a best-case profession might convey for Avila on the NFL degree.
Avila is listed at 6’4″, 334 kilos, with an enormous, boxy body and wonderful proportional size. He retains a large base, and with that size, he can slab and blast defenders again with energy, and his grip power makes it tough for smaller gamers to disengage.
Avila may not be an elite athlete, however he has sufficient straight-line burst within the tank to shut gaps and transfer in house. And in shut quarters, he can use impartial arms with pressure. At occasions, he brings shades of Ryan Jensen — who’s maybe a illustration of the ceiling.
Isaiah Neyor, WR, Texas
Texas’ offense in 2022 is a star-studded group of future NFL standouts. The first names that come to thoughts are Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy. Jordan Whittington and Jahleel Billingsley are others whose breakouts are awaiting. Quinn Ewers is already penciled in for an NFL draft slot farther down the highway, however yet another identify price mentioning is Isaiah Neyor — a switch from Wyoming.
Neyor is a redshirt sophomore, so it’s not a certainty that he’ll declare within the 2023 NFL Draft cycle. But on the very least, circle Neyor and maintain your eyes on him.
The 6’3″, 210-pound receiver is as dynamic a risk as there may be on the collegiate degree. He averaged 20 yards per catch with the Cowboys in 2021, utilizing his long-strider athleticism, explosiveness, and unreal physique management to generate large performs downfield. With all of Texas’ weapons creating house and battle for defenses, Neyor is perhaps a participant who significantly advantages.
Explore the entire 2023 NFL Draft panorama earlier than discovering a hill to face on
With it being a slower week within the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, I wished to offer some extra scouting recommendation for individuals who are actively diving into evaluations. It’s broad-scale recommendation, nevertheless it might function a helpful reminder because the noise begins to construct again up.
As an increasing number of folks watch an increasing number of prospects, rankings begin to materialize from these experiences. And from these rankings, sure prospects are anointed the most effective at their positions. You’ve in all probability seen posts like “C.J. Stroud QB1” or “Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR1” by now.
I wish to preface by saying this: There’s nothing mistaken with making these posts, particularly in the event you’ve studied a big sufficient pattern and consider with conviction. But on this context, I wish to supply a phrase of warning. Make positive these declarations are a product of diligent study, and that your perspective is fluid by way of that study. Don’t establish with and choose a participant to anoint early on as a result of that solely restricts very important re-evaluation down the highway.
In communities of subjective evaluation like this one, a repetitive human tendency is to discover a hill to die on and defend that hill. This was one thing I did typically just a few years in the past, as a youthful evaluator. But I’d encourage you to first discover the entire panorama and see the way it lays out for you.
Trusting what you see is essential. But don’t rush to have a assured, convicted take. Do the work, do it effectively, do it at your individual tempo, and it’ll come to you.