NFL Draft 2023: Here Are the Best Players Available on Day 2
Best players available on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The NFL has had no shortage of fireworks this week.
Aaron Rodgers traded to the Jets, Lamar Jackson signing an extension with the Ravens, and three quarterbacks in the first four picks of the 2023 NFL Draft.
After four days of straight drama, there’s a fifth one on the horizon for football fans around the country Friday night.That’s right, the draft train will keep on rolling in Kansas City and bring in five teams (Dolphins, Browns, Broncos, 49ers, and Rams) who didn’t have a first-round selection.
The biggest storyline following Day 1: Where will Kentucky QB Will Levis land?
Let’s look ahead at when Round 2 kicks off Friday and the names of some of the best players still available on the draft board.
When does NFL Draft Day 2 start?
The second day of the NFL Draft is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) Friday, April 28. Fans can watch both the second- and third-round coverage on ESPN and NFL Network.
How many picks are left in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Thirty-one players heard their names called Thursday night in Kansas City. Over the next two days, there will be 228 more selections made by NFL teams.
Who are the best quarterbacks available on Day 2 of the NFL Draft?
Three quarterbacks went on Night 1 in Kansas City. Let’s take a look at the signal callers who are still looking to hear their names called in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Will Levis, Kentucky
Levis was the most shocking name to fall out of the first round this year. He joins the aforementioned Rodgers as a QB with a painfully-long wait time in the draft’s “green room.”
The Kentucky gunslinger threw for 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2022. He completed 60.9% of his passes which has drawn criticism from NFL Draft pundits.
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
At one point last season, the 25-year-old quarterback was a Heisman Trophy frontrunner. Unfortunately, the Volunteers QB suffered a torn ACL that cut his season short.
He still finished with an impressive 27-to-2 touchdowns-to-interception ratio and went on to be named SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2022.
Jake Haener, Fresno State
Hooker isn’t the only signal caller getting the “old” label this draft season.
Haener, 24, is also a product of the NCAA’s ever-changing transfer rules and comes to the NFL at the same age some QBs are signing their second contracts (see: Jalen Hurts). He started his career at Washington in 2017 and wound up finishing it at Fresno State after three seasons.
Haener finished with a 21-8 record as a starter and threw for 9,120 yards and 68 touchdowns.
Jaren Hall, BYU
Third time is the charm.
Yep, Hall is yet another QB whose draft stock might be falling due to age. The 25-year-old passer led BYU to a 25-11 record over two seasons as a starter, throwing 52 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
Thompson-Robinson is 23 years old so he’s a spring chicken compared to his QB classmates listed above. However, he did play a fifth year at UCLA this past fall and is hardly a raw prospect with 48 career college starts under his belt.
The dual-threat quarterback threw for more than 10,000 yards during his career as a Bruin. Equally as impressive was Thompson-Robinson’s 1,827 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns on the ground.
Who are the best wide receivers available on NFL Draft Day 2?
Day 1 was favorable to running backs Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs who heard their names the first 12 picks, and wide receivers wound up having to wait a bit longer than they have in previous drafts.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnson, Zay Flowers, and Jordan Addison eventually all went in succession in the back half of the first round. The rest of the 2023 receiver class remains in the green room.
Here’s a look at the best pass-catching prospects:
Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
Few receivers had a more productive 2022 campaign than Hyatt. The Volunteer superstar reeled in 15 touchdowns which was second most in the country last season.
He also finished tied for 13th in yards per reception (18.9) which should have plenty offensive coordinators salivating over the possibility of landing Hyatt in the second round.
Jonathan Mingo Ole Miss
Like Hyatt, Mingo is an SEC pass catcher who specializes in vertical route running and possesses stellar top-end speed for his size. Mingo tracks the deep ball well, and will likely find a home quickly on Day 2.
Jayden Reed, Michigan State
The Spartans aren’t necessarily known for being an explosive passing team but Reed brought plenty of athleticism in the slot last fall. He’s arguably the best receiver after the catch in this class despite being one of the smaller top-end prospects.
Josh Downs, UNC
Another explosive slot receiver who is falling due to size concerns. Downs has drawn a lot of comparisons to Washington’s Jahan Dotson (a 2022 first-round selection who shined when on the field for the Commanders last season).
Downs was plenty productive in Chapel Hill as a junior, catching 94 passes for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Michael Mayer, Notre Dame (tight end)
Tight ends should be popular Friday night, and nobody will draw more discussion over the next 16 or so hours than Mayer — a first-round prospect who is still waiting to find a home.
Mayer caught 67 passes and nine touchdowns in South Bend last season, and shouldn’t have to wait too long to hear his name called Friday.
NFL Draft Day 2: Best defensive players available
There’s a bevy of top-end defensive players sitting atop the draft board Friday night. Here’s a look at some of the best prospects available for teams drafting in the early part of the second round:
Jordan Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Brian Branch, S, Alabama
Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami
Keion White, DE, Georgia Tech
BJ Ojulari, LB, LSU
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Adetomiwa Adebawore, DE, Northwestern
DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
Porter Jr. and Branch should be off the board before the No. 40 overall selection (held currently by the New Orleans Saints).
Of course, first-round projected players have fallen further than that spot before. It’s hard to imagine this year, with several defense-needy teams (Cardinals, Lions, Rams, Raiders) with early picks to open Day 2.