Don’t Sleep on Top Seniors
Young players who left college early typically headline draft boards in most sports, especially in the NFL and NBA. Some question if senior prospects are too old and if they have a future in professional leagues. Oftentimes, this is over-speculating as many senior prospects go on to have long, successful careers. Some talent is simply too good to pass on.
In the 2022 NFL Draft, more than 10 seniors were selected in the first round. The 2023 class could follow suit with several NFL expert picks predicting as many as 12 seniors in the first round.
Senior prospects are clearly worth the attention in this year’s draft, especially in your online NFL betting. Here are the top seniors in the 2023 NFL Draft.
1. EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Defensive end Tyree Wilson has been on track for a top-eight pick since the end of the 2022 season. Wilson remains firmly in that mix. In fact, his stock has risen after defensive tackle Jalen Carter’s off-field troubles. According to NFL odds, Wilson is the second favorite to be the first defensive player selected (+650). The Texas Tech product’s physical style of play in his lengthy 6-foot-6 frame creates an exciting prospect.
2. CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
Devon Witherspoon is the sportsbook’s favorite to be the first cornerback off of the board (-140). He flourishes in man coverage with impressive physicality and excellent ball skills. Plus, Witherspoon is solid in run support and built a reputation for delivering massive hits. Some question his size and aggressiveness. However, Witherspoon is still tracking to be the first CB selected.
Reminder: Devon Witherspoon is capable of making plays like this😳
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 10, 2023
3. QB Will Levis, Kentucky
At one point, quarterback Will Levis was the top senior in the 2023 class by a mile. He was in the conversation for the No. 1 pick thanks to his impressive physical traits, drawing comparisons to Josh Allen. However, Levis’ stock has dropped over the last month. He now sits at +5000 to be the top pick. The former Wildcat will surely go in the first round, but how far will he slip?
4. TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
Dalton Kincaid is one of the biggest risers in NFL picks. Many have labeled Kincaid as the best receiving tight end in the class due to his body control and elite hands. He could be a liability when it comes to blocking, but Kincaid’s ceiling as a receiver outweighs the negatives. Don’t be surprised if he is selected within the top 15 picks. Per NFL lines, Kincaid is the favorite to be the first tight end drafted (-150).
5. OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee
If you keep up with mock drafts, it’s hard to miss Darnell Wright’s name. He is another senior prospect that has skyrocketed up draft boards. Wright has outstanding grip strength paired with a mean streak. Throughout his college career, the former five-star recruit obliterated opposing defenders with eye-popping strength. Wright is yet another senior that could crack the top 15 picks.
6. WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
Zay Flowers is another rising senior prospect. The 5-foot-9 wide receiver could be limited to the slot. However, his versatility and ability after the catch are drawing rave reviews. Flowers can also be used in the backfield thanks to his elite lateral quickness. NFL betting odds expect the Boston College product to be selected within the top 24 picks (-250).
7. OG, O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
The interior offensive line class is underwhelming, especially at guard. O’Cyrus Torrence has the best shot among interior offensive linemen to be selected in the first round. He is considered the top guard in the class by a wide margin. Torrence could struggle against speedy pass rushers at the next level, but his exceptional run-blocking would bring a massive boost to most teams.
8. EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia
Nolan Smith put up some of the best numbers at the combine with a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, 41.5-inch vertical jump and 10’8” broad jump. Smith lacked consistency at Georgia, but his elite athleticism could yield a first-round pick. Plus, his playing time was limited due to Georgia’s ridiculous depth in the front seven. Smith could take off in the NFL as a pass-rushing specialist.
9. QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
Despite a devastating knee injury to end the 2022 season, quarterback Hendon Hooker is still in the first-round conversation. He seems to be well-liked across the league due to his leadership qualities and traits. Hooker has solid mobility and showcased impressive accuracy with a beautiful deep ball at Tennessee. However, he is one of the oldest prospects at 25. Hooker is one of the most intriguing prospects to keep tabs on.
2 biggest throws of Hendon Hooker’s career vs Alabama.
Big time throws in crunch time, scans the field, and delivers these passes with precise accuracy and timing. pic.twitter.com/r3at2GF6Hx
— Vikings Central (@VikesCentral) April 4, 2023
10. OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
Like Hooker, Dawand Jones is a borderline first-round prospect. The combine and Senior Bowl could potentially vault Jones into the first round. His mobility at 6-foot-8, 374 pounds turned many heads. Of course, he has impressive strength in his massive frame. Jones is a punisher in the run game and does surprisingly well against speed off of the edge. If Jones is selected in the first round, over 8½ Big Ten players drafted in the first round is likely (-250).
The 2023 senior prospects are worth watching. Several should be big factors in NFL predictions. Wilson will likely be one of the first defensive players selected, while Witherspoon and Kincaid are the top players at their positions. Plus, some borderline first-round seniors could help the over in several sport bets.
Some seniors may not be the most flashy prospects, but they bring invaluable experience and production. Several seniors in the 2023 NFL Draft should develop into impressive players at the next level.