The 2023 NFL Draft is fast approaching! From April 28th, the teams will be looking for luck again for the future. In addition to the annual quarterback debate, there are, of course, a few players to watch out for off the king position on offense.
sport.de shares five offense prospects to keep an eye on in the first round of the draft:
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Bijan Robinson is one of the players that stands out in this draft class. The Texas Longhorns running back not only has huge potential, but already has so much quality that he can help any NFL team immediately.
He combines agility, speed, vision as a runner with solid route running and qualities as a pass receiver. Robinson simply offers the complete package and is interesting for almost every offense.
He is considered the best prospect at his position overall since Saquon Barkley, who left the board in second place in 2018. With the 21-year-old, teams know exactly what they’re going to get. And with the floor that Robinson has, picking him early shouldn’t pose much of a risk.
In terms of sport, Robinson could certainly be classified as a top ten pick in the second half of the first round, since the position value on running back has decreased more and more in recent years.
Peter Skoronski OT/OG, Northwestern
Another very exciting personality is Peter Skoronski. And not even because of his (undoubtedly existing) quality, but because of the still unanswered question as to which position the NFL teams see him in.
Most pundits agree that while the 21-year-old is the best tackle in this class, it doesn’t necessarily translate to the NFL. Skoronski lacks span, and span is a sought-after commodity in the NFL. That’s why some teams probably see him as a guard. Skoronski had also held this position before and was also convincing.
He is equipped with an extremely good technique and has a lot of control in his movements. This always helps him to compensate for the lack of span. However, it remains to be seen whether that will be enough for the job as an NFL tackle or whether the teams will classify him as a guard. This will also determine when he will leave the board.
Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
Should teams see Skoronski as a guard, Paris Johnson is sure to be one of the contenders to start a potential first-round tackle run.
The Ohio State tackle has exactly what Peter Skoronski lacks, which is the physical ability. With a body length of 1.98 m, long arms and a weight of around 142 kg, he meets all the physical requirements as a tackle.
Although Johnson still has room for improvement technically, the 21-year-old still has to improve his handwork, but all of this can certainly be coached. Especially considering Johnson only switched from guard to tackle before last season.
Perhaps because of his past as a guard, he has his strengths a little more in the run game. As a tackle, he can probably also be used on the right side. Another plus that could see him move up a draft board or two.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
The Ohio State wide receiver brings a lot with him. Smith-Njigba is incredibly agile, has great body control and has good routes. All of these are attributes that are enormously helpful for his future quarterback. It is quite possible that JSN can quickly assume a good role in his new team.
He would then have to play it primarily as a slot receiver. Because he lacks the necessary pace outside, he played more than 80% of the snaps in the slot in college. In 2021 he outperformed two top 15 picks from the previous year at Ohio State with Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Because he almost completely retired last season with a hamstring problem, the 2021 season will be the benchmark for the assessment. Which is not necessarily a disadvantage for the 21-year-old.
“If you don’t have a clearly defined slot role in your offense, JSN isn’t worth a first rounder, if you do, then he should be your number one receiver,” writes “PFF” about the 21-year-old – and hits it the nail on the head.
If a team is looking for an all-around tight end in the draft, it’s unlikely that Dalton Kincaid will be the pick. The Utah Utes tight end is a definite receiving tight end, but in that role it definitely stands out in this year’s draft class.
Kincaid has strong route running and offers many highlights on his tape. Toe drags, contested catches against two opponents or hurdles. You can see all of that at Dalton Kincaid. Some even refer to him as a “big receiver” rather than a tight end.
While he was inline and slotted almost equally in 2021, Utah used him more often in the slot (221 snaps) than inline (141) last season. A logical decision, as mentioned, Kincaid’s strengths are not in blocking.
He lacks the physical mass that he should try to build in the NFL without depriving himself of his strengths.