NFL Draft 2023: Prospects Coaches, Scouts Are Pounding The Table For

Will Anderson, Jr.

Getty Images Will Anderson, Jr. Celebrates as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2022.

The futures of all 32 franchises will be decided in war rooms across the country, beginning Thursday night with the first-round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

It sounds as though teams will be looking for value more than ever, in a class that isn’t viewed as one of the stronger in recent years.

“It’s a weak overall draft,” an NFC defensive coach told Heavy. “After Round 3, it’s going to be a total crap shoot, with teams looking for three priorities; height, weight, speed.”

Much of the debate has long been done between general managers, executives, scouts, and coaches, when it comes to this year’s top prospects.

Still, in the frenzied moments between a team going on the clock and turning in their draft card, there will undoubtedly be scouts and coaches pounding the tables for their general manager to select the player they’ve had their sights set on for months.

But, who are those players?

Heavy spoke to a dozen current NFL coaches and scouts for teams across the league to find out their sleeper players and the prospects they are advocating for the hardest in this year’s draft. Here are their answers:

Will Anderson – EDGE, Alabama

“Will’s ability pops off the tape, he has ability and super-high character.” – NFC Scout

Anderson has the chance to be the first defensive player chosen, and for good reason. Pro Football Focus gives Anderson an 88.1 true pass-rush grade, and the Alabama star produced a 19.6% pass rush win-rate last season, while notching 10 sacks and 24 solo tackles.

Jack Collett0 – FB/LB/Special Teams, Oregon State

“His nickame is ‘The Jackhammer’ for good reason! He’s a tough, smart winner who can do it all. He’s a roster spot saver.” – AFC Personnel Executive 

Colletto has the opportunity to go from Oregon State folk hero to NFL Draft sleeper. The 6-foot-2 and 239 jack of all trades rushed for six touchdowns last season, as a fullback, while producing 27 tackles with one forced fumble. To the executive’s point, a team taking Colletto could preserve carrying a fullback, if they only use the position sparingly, while deploying Colletto on special teams and at linebacker.

Jeremy Banks – LB, Tennessee

“Banks is the best inside linebacker in this draft. He’d be a sure-fire first-round pick, if it weren’t for some issues.” – NFC Defensive Coach

An explosive linebacker who produced 128 tackles with 5.5 sacks with an interception in 2021 was seemingly living up to the hype as a former four-star recruit. However, Banks was dismissed from the team in 2019, in the wake of a traffic stop, and also allegedly threatened security guards who responded to an incident outside a party. During the 2021 campaign, Banks certainly looked like a top NFL linebacker, but he has yet to string multiple productive seasons together. In the right environment, with the right coaching staff, Banks has plenty of upside.

Xavier Hutchinson – WR, Iowa State

“Xavier is a guy who plays fast, is productive, has good size, and is really tough.” – AFC Offensive Coach

Hutchinson has the ideal frame at 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds, to be a warrior over the middle of the field in contested catches. According to Pro Football Focus, Hutchinson produced a 45.2 percent contested catch rate, while pulling down 107 of his 161 targets for 1,171 yards and a career-high six touchdowns last season. Hutchinson’s versatility to make plays lined up out wide, or from the slot could give him the opportunity to contribute immediately, regardless of draft position.



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