The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team unless specified by a direct quote and should not be interpreted as the team's intentions for the NFL Draft.
As we inch closer to the 2023 NFL Draft in April, prospects are still trying to improve their stock and make the case to all 32 teams that they are worthy of joining the professional ranks.
That started in earnest with events like the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine, but with those events now over and done with, the next opportunity for prospects to show their on-field talents will be at their pro days. You can find the full schedule for each Division I school HERE, but here are the schools that hosted their pro days last week:
- South Alabama
- Virginia Tech
- Iowa State
- Ohio State
- Boston College
- Notre Dame
- Old Dominion
- Penn State
- San Jose State
Commanders.com will be breaking down who stood out during their pro days from now until late April. This week, most of the top quarterbacks on the board showed off their skill set.
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Although it depends on who you ask, many draft analysts seem confident that Bryce Young will be the first overall pick. They may be right, but it does not sound like the Carolina Panthers are ruling out any option. After putting together a strong pro day, C.J. Stroud took some time to meet with the Panthers for a private dinner. Stroud flaunted many of his abilities last week, as he threw from the pocket and on the move. Based on the footage from Twitter, it doesn't look like he has a problem stretching the field with his arm strength, either.
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Stroud may still be in the running for the No. 1 overall pick, but there's a reason Young is considered by many to be the best quarterback available this year. Young declined to weigh himself at Alabama's pro day (he came in at 204 pounds at the combine), and impressed the scouts in attendance with him arm strength. The highlight of the day came when Young flicked a pass downfield with impressive accuracy on an off-balance throw. Teams don't seem to be concerned about his size when he can pull off passes like that.
Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
There has never been a doubt about Will Levis' physical traits. His 6-foot-4, 229-pound frame is more than adequate for the NFL. His mechanics, however, are where the concerns start to pop up. It seems like things have improved for him since the combine, though, as he looked more fluid and accurate with his passes. There were still some head-scratching moments, so he still isn't finished fine tuning his footwork or other parts of his throwing motion, but he is still a project with serious upside that analysts seem excited about.
Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn
This year's running back class is particularly deep in Day 2 and Day 3, and Auburn's Tank Bigsby is considered to be one of the better options with CBS Sports ranking him as the fifth best prospect for his position. Bigsby, who had 1,150 scrimmage yards in 2022 with 10 touchdowns, put up some one of the slowest 40 times in Indianapolis with a 4.56, but he managed the cut one-tenth off his time last week with a 4.45. Overall, Bigsby was much more pleased with his numbers compared to what he put up at the combine because he was able to "focus on myself."
Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Joey Porter Jr., a popular pick for the Commanders in mock drafts, is expected to be one of the first cornerbacks taken of the draft board because of his length and physicality in man coverage. He also put up decent numbers at the combine with a 4.46 40 time and a 10-foot-9 broad jump. His footwork could use some improvement, and he had another shot to impress scouts on Friday as he went through defensive back drills. Porter also improved his broad jump by two inches at Penn State's pro day.
Brian Branch, S, Alabama
Branch ran with the cornerbacks at the combine and recorded one of the slowest times, but he makes up for that with impressive athleticism. He posted a vertical jump of 37.5 inches at Alabama's pro day, which is a three-inch increase from his number in Indianapolis. Branch is known for being an intelligent player who can run step-for-step with receivers. That led to him getting four interceptions and 23 pass breakups in three seasons with the Crimson Tide. Considering he can pair those instincts with impressive physical traits, it is no wonder ESPN's Mel Kiper has him as the best safety in the draft.