4. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Every single week, Jalen Carter does something that’s just absolutely silly. He is the most “this shouldn’t be possible” player in the 2023 NFL Draft, and right now, it’s not even a conversation. This week, he showed up in the stat sheet with one tackle and one sack against a South Carolina team that got efficiently and terrifyingly dominated by Georgia, with a final score of 48-7. I don’t think South Carolina is that bad! The Bulldogs look like the best team in the country right now, and like Jalen Carter’s lead in the “freakish athleticism” department, it’s not even close.
We have to dissect the potential of Carter being taken No. 1 overall for a moment here. It doesn’t compute in my mind as a draft analyst to be taking anything other than a quarterback, defensive end, or left tackle (and even that’s a stretch) at the top of the draft. But Carter deserves it, and then some.
The last time a defensive tackle taken No. 1 overall was Ohio State’s Dan Wilkinson in 1994 by the Bengals, before that was Russell Maryland out of Miami in 1991, going to Dallas. That’s it. Think about how much the game has changed since then, and how much “less important” defensive tackle has become due to most teams getting away from a power running-heavy offensive system. The fact that Carter even has a chance at this, to be the third defensive tackle ever taken No. 1 overall, shows just how special he is.
5. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
I want to believe in Anthony Richardson so badly right now, and part of me absolutely still does. The potential is there. But right now, he’s skidding hard right now. If he can pull back up out of this nose dive, he’ll get back on this list, but until then, I’ve got Kentucky’s Will Levis at No. 5 in the rankings. Levis is up and down and has been quite a bit like Richardson this season, but with his win over Florida and an accurate, high-volume performance this week over Youngstown State, I have some faith in him.
I don’t believe Levis has the time to make up the gulf between himself and Young or Stroud, but there’s no reason he can’t be QB3 behind those two right now. He can move up even further if something goes disastrously wrong with either of the top two. I wasn’t a huge fan of his coming into this season, and I still have my doubts, but he’s shut me up quite well through three games. I’m interested to see what he’ll do against stiffer SEC competition, with matchups against Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Georgia coming later this year. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on.