Posted on May 1, 2022
The 2023 Draft is not one loaded with Pac-12 prospects.
The struggles of the Conference on a national level have been apparent in recent drafts as Pac-12 prospects have struggled to fill out the picks and now this coming year seems to be an all-time low.
I don’t see a single guaranteed First-Rounder in the Conference, and there are only two I would project as having major First-Round potential at this point.
This isn’t to say there aren’t good players coming back into the Conference, just that the NFL Draft pool is very unproven.
Let’s take a look at who is at the top of that pool a year away from the next draft.
*Note I’m only including players eligible for the 2023 Draft.
1. Clark Phillips III, Cornerback, Utah
The clear number one prospect for me for 2023 from the Pac-12 is the Utah stalwart.
He’s been nothing but great since showing up at Utah as a true freshman and we really got to see him shine in the Rose Bowl last year. Has the chance to be the top CB in 2023.
2. Noah Sewell, Linebacker, Oregon
As a pure player, Sewell has the chance to be as good as any player eligible for the 2023 Draft.
His draft potential all depends on the value of his position in the NFL. He has major First-Round potential, it’s just inside linebackers are like running backs now and rarely go early in the draft.
Still, he should be the first ILB off the board.
3. Tuli Tuipulotu, Defensive End, USC
He exploded as a true freshman in 2020 and backed it up as one of the Pac-12’s best defensive linemen in 2021.
He’s got the size and power to make plays inside at 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds, and can also rush the passer on the edge, making him a really interesting prospect at the next level.
4. Brandon Dorlus, Defensive Tackle, Oregon
I loved Dorlus in 2021. He was extremely versatile upfront and was great against the run and the pass. He is the kind of defensive lineman the League is loving more and more.
He’s a player I haven’t seen much on the 2023 Draft radar who I could see climbing up boards if he can build on his breakout 2021 season.
5. Jaxson Kirkland, Tackle, Washington.
Kirkland was declared for the 2022 Draft and was a projected Day Two prospect before he found out he needed surgery, which prevented him from testing for the draft.
He’s trying to get a waiver to return, and he’ll be a good prospect if he comes back.
It will be interesting to see if he stays at left tackle, where he played in 2020 and ’21, or if he moves to guard, where he might have more upside.
6. Kyu Blu Kelly, Cornerback, Stanford
He was one of the Pac-12’s best corners as a freshman and is a super long, athletic cornerback.
He could really benefit from having an excellent 2022 and could turn himself back into a potential First-Round pick.
7. Brant Kuithe, Tight End, Utah
At 6’2 225, Kuithe has far from ideal NFL tight end size but he’s the kind of tight end I feel like the League is liking more and more, as he’s super hybrid and can even carry the ball out of the backfield.
I’m surprised he came back for another season, but he can boost his draft stock if he can have an even bigger national star season in 2022.
8. Zach Charbonnet, Running Back, UCLA
He’s another player I thought would declare for the 2022 Draft. He’s back with a chance to boost his stock even more.
At a big 6-1, 220, he is a smooth runner with good vision and could get himself up into the Second or Third Round with another productive season and by testing fast enough.
9. Tavion Thomas, Running Back, Utah
Thomas is yet another player who I didn’t think needed to come back in 2022, yet he has.
He’s my favorite to win the 2022 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year award and will have massive NFL potential at 6-2, 240 if he can show he has enough speed for the next level.
10. Joshua Gray, Tackle, Oregon State
The versatile lineman was an All-Pac-12 player as a freshman in 2020 and was part of a stellar Oregon State offensive line in 2021.
He can move really well and has the tools to be the best lineman in the conference in 2022.
11. Braeden Daniels, Guard, Utah
Another Pac-12 offensive lineman who has excelled since he was a freshman.
He will get serious national attention if he can keep building on the base of what he’s done so far at Utah and get Draft buzz.
12. Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Defensive End, Washington
ZTF had an All-American level season in 2020 then got hurt and was very limited in 2021.
He can build up real NFL buzz if he can get back to 2020 form in a full season in 2022.
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