• Arkansas QBKG Jefferson: he He had a 90.8 overall grade last season with a passing score of 86.5 and a rushing score of 79.9.
• Oregon Edge Jordan Porsche: he A solid player with the size and versatility to be a defensive end in a 4-3 or 3-4 formation. He just hasn’t got it all together yet.
• North Carolina TE Bryson Nesbitt: The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder hulk is expected to take over the majority of Josh Downs Target’s vacated stake in 2023.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
We also compiled the initial Top 150 great paintings For the 2024 NFL Draft, it’s becoming more and more difficult to squeeze players with good prospects into the top 100 – it’s already becoming a deep, talented class. That means there is a surplus of players who just missed out on the top 100 who we believe could really move up the rankings with a good 2023 season.
Here are eight potential 2024 NFL Draft candidates that we’ve highlighted outside of the top 100 players with a chance of making the leaps this college football season.
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QB KJ Jefferson, Arkansas
Current Grand Council rank: 101
At 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds, Jefferson stands tall and strong for his pocketbook. He had an overall grade of 90.8 last season with an passing grade of 86.5 and a rushing grade of 79.9.
Although his average accuracy rate of 74.6% is good, his positioning of the ball, specifically on out-of-pocket passes, needs improvement. You should be able to hit those lateral passes in an NFL game. Whether it’s the timing and placement of his return runs, long pulls and pulls, or classic hole exits, Jefferson has got to get better. If he does, there’s already a lot to like about him as a powerful, dual-threat midfielder.
OT Patrick Paul, Houston
Current rating at board level: 108
Paul adds attractive bulk to the offensive tackle position. His 6-foot-7 frame would rank the 83rd percentile for offensive tackles in the NFL. It made for a fun game when he lined up against former Texas Tech forward and now Las Vegas Raider Tyree Wilson last season.
Anyone with that kind of size and height at an offensive tackle would get a chance in the NFL. Paul is a well-rated pass guard with a 91.1 pass-blocking rating in 2022 thanks to good use of his height and some noble moves by a big guy. But he struggled with the strengths of the position, earning a grade of 60.4 as a run blocker. A passive run block rate of 16.2% is placed in the third percentage of only FBS offensive tackles. A more comprehensive profile would help him move up the draft boards.
IOL Donovan Jackson, Ohio State
Current rating at board level: 109
The former five-star inside offensive line recruit was the No. 19 player in the country and the No. 1 inside offensive line recruit in the class of 2021.
Jackson is a very smooth drive for his size. It thrives as a space attractor or when implementing out-of-area blocking concepts. But for now, his game depends a lot on finesse. He lacks the strength to be consistent in holding offensive point or really move defensemen off the line of scrimmage. It also shows in pass protection, where his pass-blocking score on real pass combinations was just 57.6 last year.
He was a first-time starter as a sophomore in 2022, so it’s reasonable to expect another move from the talented inside offensive lineman in 2023.
Edge Jordan Burch, Oregon
Current rank on the board: 116
Porsche is another former five-star recruit who has the athletic talents to be a big rookie. He just hasn’t got it all together yet.
Burch spent his first three seasons in college ball with the South Carolina Gamecocks. He is a solid player with the size and versatility to be a defensive end in a 4-3 or 3-4 formation. The problem is, he doesn’t have much when it comes to impulsive plans. He also needs to play at a better level to win the power in the next level. He led the team in pressures (43) and pass winning percentage (13.2%) in 2022, but that success has come only intermittently. More consistency and an intentional passing approach could lead to a great upcoming season.
CB Denzel Burke, Ohio State
Current rating at board level: 122
Burke was a four-star recruit athlete who played both sides of the ball as a wide receiver and defensive back in high school. Since joining the Buckeyes, he has solidified himself as a cornerback.
Burke is a growing player at the moment. As a junior in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, he showed a good baseline athleticism to play the position at the NFL level one day. When he plays freely and from a position of confidence, he can be a powerful covering-back. but at times he lost his confidence and began to hesitate a little; That’s when he gets into trouble. He only had a coverage score of 69.1 in single coverage last season. His bar got a lot better—and his confidence soared—as the campaign went on. More repetition could result in a huge jump in consistency and increased ball production from Burke, something he needs to improve in 2023.
Jaden Hicks, Washington State
Current Grand Council rank: 124
Hicks played sparingly in his redshirt season, and struggled when he did. He later admitted that during that season he wondered if he was good enough to play at the Pac-12 level. His play and confidence in the following year were night and day. Now we’re not just talking about a good Pac-12 player, but a potential NFL player.
At 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, Hicks is in the 80th percentile for both height and weight among NFL safeties. He has improved dramatically in his redshirt freshman season thanks to the dedication evident in the movie room. He played cornerback in high school, but it was a lack of flexibility that likely landed him to the role of safety at Washington State. Since moving to a safe place, he has developed a pleasant sense of covering areas and really only expects a high level from a redshirt sophomore.
DeTaylec Williams, Ohio State
Current Grand Council rank: 130
A former four-star recruit for the Buckeyes, Williams has a lot of potential, and there’s reason to believe this upcoming season will be his best yet.
Williams did not play his senior year of high school due to the season being canceled due to COVID-19. At the time, he was listed as a 320-pound defensive recruit. But by his own admission, he gained the off-season and weighed about 360 pounds when he arrived at Ohio State.
Williams wins with a good shot off the ball. But as heavy as it was, he’s not as big of an impact as he could have been in 2021. After his senior season, he’s down to 320 pounds. Now it’s even lighter, and is said to weigh 290-295 lbs. And that makes for a very different kind of player that we’re excited to see this coming year.
T Bryson Nesbitt, North Carolina
Current rating at board level: 138
Former North Carolina wide receiver and now Indianapolis Colt Josh Downs has seen more than 250 goals for the Tar Heels offense over the past two seasons, including 118 last year. So who will be on the receiving end of all those Drake May bumps into this year? Well, Bryson Nesbitt has to be the current beneficiary.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder had his best season so far in 2022, with seven contested catches (50% contested catch percentage) and 17 explosive plays of 15 yards or more. He also had a healthy yards-per-track average of 2.13. He doesn’t have much production yet. He’s a wide-opening receiver, and the type of vertical threat whose bread and butter will be seam balls out of second par and fade balls into the end zone. When May needs a powerful shot down the middle, he has to look in Nesbitt’s direction.