Two of the top quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class did battle in an epic SEC matchup in Week 7. Let’s take a look at how the other top prospects performed.
What a week of college football. Week 7 of the 2022 season had plenty of excitement, such as the TCU Horned Frogs defeating the Oklahoma State Cowboys in overtime, and Tennessee defeating Alabama for the first time since 2006.
Speaking of the latter game, it just so happened to feature a battle between two top quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Those quarterbacks are Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and Hendon Hooker, a favorite to win that very award this year.
Besides that, there were three other top prospects who participated in Week 7. Let’s take a look at the latest edition of “In the Market.”
There is one notable absence in this week’s column and that is Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud. The reason why is simple — he had a bye week. He will be back next week, as Ohio State takes on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Previous editions of the “In the Market” column can be found in the links below:
Taking Stock: How top 2023 NFL Draft QBs fared in Week 7
Bryce Young, Alabama
Bryce Young made his return to the starting lineup for the first time since he suffered a sprained right shoulder on a tackle against Arkansas. Facing Tennessee, Young showed just how dangerous he can be.
In the first quarter, Young showed that his throwing arm was doing just fine. Take a look at the throw and the ball placement to wide receiver Isaiah Bond.
Perhaps Young’s best ability is his ability to extend plays with his legs. That was evident as he rolled to the right, waited for one of his receivers to get open, and then uncorked a pass to Jermaine Burton to get the first down.
In the 52-49 loss to the Volunteers, Young completed 35-of-52 pass attempts for 455 yards and two touchdowns.
An all-around fantastic performance by Young in his first game back from an injury to his throwing arm. This game showed why there is a legitimate debate as to who should be the first quarterback selected in Kansas City, Mo. this April.
Next Game: vs. Mississippi State on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7:00 p.m. ET
Will Levis, Kentucky
Much like Young, Will Levis made his return to the football field in Week 7. Back in Week 5, Levis dislocated his middle finger but also dealt with a foot injury in the lead-up to Week 6 that forced him to sit out. He faced off against the No. 16 Mississippi State Bulldogs.
There was a scare in the third quarter of the game. Levis threw a high pass that dropped into the hands of Barrion Brown but was hit hard upon the release, and he landed hard on his left shoulder. He exited the game briefly before making his return later on.
One of Levis’ more impressive throws of the game happened in the fourth quarter, as he faced the pressure of two Bulldogs defenders, and threw a sidearm pass to running back JuTahn McClain. That resulted in a big first down.
Levis’ lone interception of the day was not a bad throw. Rather, it was a good read by cornerback Emmanuel Forbes, who ran directly in front of receiver Chauncey Magwood for a walk-in pick-six.
In the 27-17 victory for the Wildcats, Levis completed 17-of-23 pass attempts for 230 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Next Game: vs. Tennessee on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. ET
Anthony Richardson, Florida
Anthony Richardson had himself a game against the LSU Tigers in Week 7. Unfortunately for him, all that he did in the game was all for naught, as the Tigers fought their way out of the Swamp for the 45-35 victory.
Richardson gave the Gators an early 7-0 lead when he heaved a pass that fell directly into the hands of Justin Shorter in the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown.
That was a play with his arm. As Florida and college football fans have seen, he can make some explosive plays with his legs. That was evident when he ran up the middle of the field, escaped the grasps of multiple Tigers defenders, and somersaulted into the end zone for an 81-yard touchdown run on the very first play of the fourth quarter.
Richardson recorded 15 completions for 185 yards and one touchdown on 25 attempts while running for 109 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Next Game: Saturday, Oct. 29 vs. Georgia at 3:30 p.m. ET
Tyler Van Dyke, Miami
After completely lighting up the North Carolina defense in the team’s loss in Week 6, Tyler Van Dyke needed to replicate that kind of performance for the second consecutive. Breaking news — he did just that against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Van Dyke showed off his accuracy and arm strength early in the contest. From his impressive pass to Colbie Young’s right hand in the first quarter to his teardrop pass to Young into the back of the end zone in the second quarter to extend Miami’s lead to 17-0.
Out of 46 pass attempts by Van Dyke, he completed 29 of them for 351 yards and two touchdowns.
Van Dyke may have struggled to start off the season, but he is now showing why he was considered one of the top quarterback prospects entering the year. Let’s see if he can make it three great games in a row in Week 8.
Next Game: vs. Duke on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
There are moments when a college football player has their “Heisman moment.” It just so happens that Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker had his in Week 7 while facing the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Alabama squandered a chance to take a late lead after kicker Will Reichard missed a 50-yard field goal. Tennessee got the ball back with 15-seconds remaining. The football was put in the hands of Hooker, and he did not miss when it mattered the most.
Hooker completed an 18-yard pass to Ramel Keyton. Timeout Tennessee with nine seconds remaining. Next play? A 27-yard completion to Bru McCoy to set Tennessee up at Alabama’s own 23-yard line. Timeout with two seconds remaining. That allowed Chase McGrath to hit a 40-yard field goal to give Tennessee a 52-49 victory and hand Alabama their first loss of the season.
In the game, Hooker showed off his connection with wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. How well was that connection? Well, Hooker threw five touchdowns to Hyatt, who had six total catches. That’s right, only one of Hyatt’s catches was not a touchdown.
Take a look at two of those touchdown passes, which came on incredible throws by Hooker.
Hooker completed 21-of-30 pass attempts for 385 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
In any other year, Hooker would have the Heisman Trophy essentially secured. The thing is, C.J. Stroud is putting up ridiculous numbers this season. But, there is still plenty of season left.
Next Game: vs. UT Martin on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 12:00 p.m. ET
One 2023 NFL Draft QB sleeper who turned heads in Week 7
Michael Penix Jr., Washington
One sleeper prospect who turned heads in Week 7 is none other than Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.
Penix impressed early on in the season, and he had perhaps his best performance in Week 7 against the Arizona Wildcats. Washington defeated Arizona 49-39 behind a 516-yard, four-touchdown performance by Penix. He did so while completing 81.8-percent of his passes (36-of-44).
One of his best throws of the game came in the first quarter when he threw a laser pass in the back of the end zone to Jalen McMillan.
Penix is a name to remember, especially if he declares for the NFL Draft.
One 2023 NFL Draft QB who needs to show teams more after Week 7
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
Dorian Thompson-Robinson is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation this season. He has played a pivotal role in the UCLA Bruins being 6-0 entering their Week 7 bye week. Thompson-Robinson had huge performances against ranked teams Washington and Utah in back-to-back weeks.
In his return from the bye, he and the Bruins face the No. 11 Oregon Ducks. If he can replicate his performances against the Huskies and the Utes, Thompson-Robinson will make a case to rise up the quarterback rankings list in the pre-draft process.
Who are buyers in the NFL?
Here is what the top 10 of the NFL Draft order would look like if the season ended today, per Tankathon:
- Carolina Panthers (1-5)
- Las Vegas Raiders (1-4)
- Detroit Lions (1-4)
- Houston Texans (1-3-1)
- Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints (2-4))
- Houston Texans (via Cleveland Browns (2-4))
- Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos (2-4))
- Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)
- Arizona Cardinals (2-4)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4)
The Carolina Panthers virtually have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft secured. Head coach Matt Rhule was fired, with Steve Wilks replacing him in an interim role. They have already begun trading players, like a disgruntled Robbie Anderson to the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, the Panthers are still only two games behind for first place in the NFC South, but this is a team heading nowhere, and they can finally fix their quarterback situation…for once.
While they may have started the season strong, the Detroit Lions are heading in the wrong direction. Yet, they are trending in the right direction…of drafting Jared Goff’s replacement. They were on a bye week, after they were shut out 29-0 by the Bailey Zappe-led New England Patriots.
In all reality, the only other major threat to select a quarterback in the Top 10 of this latest list are the Houston Texans. Two selections in the top six. One of those has to be for a quarterback. Whether it is Stroud, Young or Levis.
Every other team in the Top 10 has their quarterback situations set in stone. Yes, even the Seattle Seahawks. Geno Smith looks like the real deal this season.