After attending eight postseason all-star games, it was time to start pouring over thousands of games and grading prospects. That's the beauty about my process: I get to get eyes on the player before I get eyes on his game film. So if a player stands out in practice, he better stand out in the games.
My inverted process works for me because it helps me be able to decipher between what's real and what's fake. And the real will always manifest itself in what you do normally, and that's the games that the player plays in.
I said all of that to say, trusting the tape will never steer you wrong!
And with that being the backdrop, here is my small-college starting 11 on offense for this week's 2023 NFL Draft.
For more draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our new weekly podcast, "With the First Pick," featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. (Check out the latest episode below.)
QB Lindsey Scott Jr. (Incarnate Word)
- Height: 5-11
- Weight: 220
Scott is a dynamic football player on both ends of offense. He can make the big play passing or running. With excellent passing mechanics and technique, he's able to sit in the pocket and dissect a defense. But when you factor in his athleticism, he is able to create outside of the play structure, keeping his eyes downfield while having the arm to get it past coverage. He's a true gamebreaker in every sense of the word.
RB Ulonzo Gilliam (UC Davis)
- Height: 5-9
- Weight: 195
Gilliam is tailor-made for today's wide-open pro game. With more than 4,600 yards rushing and 1,400 yards receiving, he's one of the best dual-threat backs in the draft class. He's quick in all aspects of his game, from thinking, to footwork, decisiveness and elusiveness. He's got it all.
RB/FB Hunter Luepke (North Dakota State)
- Height: 6-1
- Weight: 236
Luepke is one of the best, all-around prospects at the position in the past few years. He does a lot of things at a very high level. As a runner, he's got a good combination of patience, footwork, pad level and vision. In the passing game, he's an excellent downfield option. He reminds me a lot of former 49ers great Tom Rathman.
WR Colton Dowell (UT Martin)
- Height: 6-2
- Weight: 207
Dowell is this year's Lance McCutcheon of the Los Angeles Rams. He's got good overall athleticism for a bigger-bodied receiver. I love the fact that he's willing to sacrifice for the reception, laying out for passes. Dowell is a pro's pro in the sense that everything he does is clean and consistent. From route-running to setting up the defender and making the grab with his hands, everything is clinic tape.
WR Taylor Grimes (Incarnate Word)
- Height: 5-10
- Weight: 188
Grimes is an outstanding route-runner who knows how to break down a defender's leverage, regain control and subsequently create separation. He's an explosive talent who has a second and third gear to go and get the football when it's in the air. The former UIW Cardinal is a wideout who dictates coverages with how explosive he is and plays much bigger than his size.
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TE Lachlan Pitts (William & Mary)
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 254
We've spoken about Pitts before as a guy to keep an eye on during the pro day circuit. He's exactly what you look for as an inline TE: someone who can block well and be a valuable asset in the passing game when called upon. That's exactly what Pitts does on a consistent basis.
OT Colby Sorsdal (William & Mary)
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 301
Sorsdal turned in stellar East-West Shrine Bowl performance, excelling equally in the run game as he did in pass pro. He gets off the ball really well in the run game, showing some explosiveness in that regard. In pass pro, he has the athleticism to run the hoop with the defender while also getting hands on him and being able to dance with him out on the perimeter.
OG Joey Fisher (Shepherd)
- Height: 6-3
- Weight: 292
Fisher dominated his level of competition -- in a very high level Division II conference (PSAC) no less -- and more than held his own at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He's got excellent functional strength and power and does a great job of winning with that and with leverage. His overall athleticism and footwork will allow him to be used in a variety of ways as a pro.
OC Mark Evans II (Arkansas-Pine Bluff)
- Height: 6-2
- Weight: 298
Evans is one of the more technically sound offensive linemen in the draft class. He was an excellent offensive tackle in college despite being 6-2, and that was because of his tremendous technique. He's got above-average skill and athleticism, showing fluidity in his movement skills. Kicking him down inside won't be an issue, as Evans is both capable and can execute any block you need him to execute.
OG McClendon Curtis (Chattanooga)
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 331
Curtis has terrific length and uses it well to strike first on the defender. He shows the ability to "play the piano" well in pass pro, able to pass guys off and take on the incoming stunts and twists. I like that he shows proficiency in getting out on long and short pulls in the run game, and is able to execute consistently. He put together a great week of work at the Reese's Senior Bowl.
OT Quinton Barrow (Grand Valley State)
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 322
Barrow is another Shrine Bowl standout and another Division II prospect hailing from one of the stronger conferences (GLIAC), where he also dominated weekly. Barrow does a great job of fighting throughout the rep. He will shoot and reshoot his hands to keep them in a very good position. He's a really solid player on both ends of the offensive line.