Fourteen quarterbacks were picked in the 2023 NFL draft, including 12 in the first five rounds (a common draft era record). Three teams found new starters early in Round 1, while two more selected potential heir apparent passers on Day 2. And after the 49ers took Brock Purdy with the final pick of the 2022 draft and found immediate success with him last season, teams were aggressive in adding signal-callers on Day 3.
How does each quarterback fit with his new team? We took a closer look at all 14 draft picks, along with two notable undrafted free agents. NFL draft analyst Jordan Reid made sense of each quarterback’s scheme fit and how they could excel in the pros, while our NFL Nation reporters focused on each QB’s expected role with their new team. And for first-rounders, Reid picked one area where the passer could lead the league in short order, while fantasy football analyst Mike Clay projected their rookie-year stat lines.
Round 1 starters | Day 2 picks
Day 3 depth adds | UDFA fliers
Why he fits in Carolina: After experimenting with the veteran quarterback route for multiple years, the Panthers were aggressive in trading up to No. 1 to select Young, who will become the face of the franchise. He has high-level traits and should immediately boost this offense. Coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Thomas Brown (who came over from the Rams) have different backgrounds in terms of offensive systems, but Young gained experience in a variety of concepts during his time at Alabama. With his field vision, playmaking ability and calmness in every situation, Young could quickly become one of the best young passers in the league despite his 5-foot-10, 204-pound size. — Reid
How the Panthers can set him up for success: Much of the work has been done. General manager Scott Fitterer kept the starting offensive line — which finished 2022 strong — intact. And he added playmakers in free agency, including running back Miles Sanders, receivers Adam Thielen and DJ Chark and tight end Hayden Hurst, so Young shouldn’t have to do it all. The Panthers then used a second-round pick on receiver Jonathan Mingo, who can build chemistry with Young in Year 1.
Plus, Carolina has many mentors in place, including veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, Reich (a former NFL quarterback), senior assistant Jim Caldwell and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown. The biggest remaining void? A truly dynamic receiver with WR1 upside. — David Newton
The area he could lead the league in five years: Touchdowns outside of structure. Young is a magician when it comes to making plays outside the framework of the offense, throwing seven TD passes and finishing third in the nation in QBR outside of the pocket (95.7) last season. He causes issues for defenders because he can create on broken plays, and that ability should carry over into the NFL. — Reid
Clay’s 2023 projection: 3,553 passing yards, 19 TD throws, 13 interceptions (162 rushing yards and two TDs on the ground)
Why he fits in Houston: The Texans traded Deshaun Watson in 2022, and the Davis Mills experiment didn’t work, so they came into the 2023 draft looking for their next franchise QB. Stroud has the skill set to be the answer, with the ability to hit any NFL throw. Offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik and first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans are both coming in from the 49ers, so it’s fair to expect some similarities to Kyle Shanahan’s offense, which would suit Stroud well. Houston will likely feature run-pass option concepts with occasional vertical shots, where Stroud can connect with receivers downfield. — Reid
How the Texans can set him up for success: Houston can take some pressure off Stroud by relying on the running back duo of Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary. Pierce finished his rookie year with 1,104 scrimmage yards over 13 games, while Singletary had 2,197 from scrimmage with the Bills over the past two seasons. The Texans also signed Robert Woods, Noah Brown and Dalton Schultz, drafted Nathaniel Dell and Xavier Hutchinson and should return John Metchie III after the receiver missed 2022 with leukemia. But they could stand to add another talented receiver to give Stroud a true WR1. — DJ Bien-Aime
The area he could lead the league in five years: Completion percentage. Stroud’s ball placement and accuracy to all levels of the field were consistent traits during his time with the Buckeyes. He has the arm to get the ball into the perfect spot, and he knows exactly where it needs to be for his receivers in certain situations. Stroud’s 66.3% completion percentage last season was inside the top 25 nationally, and he threw a “catchable ball” on 80.2% of his passes, 14th-best among FBS QBs. — Reid
Clay’s 2023 projection: 3,348 passing yards, 17 TD throws, 14 interceptions (128 rushing yards and one TD on the ground)
Why Stroud and Richardson face the most pressure among rookie QBs
Dan Orlovsky breaks down why C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson will face the most pressure with their respective teams.
Why he fits in Indianapolis: This is the perfect fit for Richardson. He can grow under the tutelage of a proven QB developer in coach Shane Steichen, which is crucial since Richardson only started 13 games at Florida and has some areas to improve. His running ability will mesh well with Jonathan Taylor in the backfield, and he has the arm to hit young perimeter pass-catchers in Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce downfield. Plus, his mobility can also boost the offense if the line struggles again in 2023. Richardson should raise the floor of a team that only won four games last season. — Reid
How the Colts can set him up for success: Indianapolis should look to initially streamline its offensive scheme to allow Richardson to maximize his unique dual-threat skill set, going heavy on QB runs and run-pass options, which is the current short-term plan per team sources. But in the long term, the Colts need to prioritize putting playmakers around Richardson. Taylor’s return from an ankle injury and the addition of third-round receiver Josh Downs are good starting points. — Stephen Holder
The area he could lead the league in five years: QB rushing yards. It’s a huge component of his playing style, and Richardson has the running ability to quickly become one of the more dangerous dual-threat players at the position. Richardson’s 654 rushing yards were ninth in the FBS last season among QBs, but he led all passers with 6.4 per carry. — Reid
Clay’s 2023 projection: 2,889 passing yards, 16 TD throws, 13 interceptions (609 rushing yards and five TDs on the ground)
DAY 2 PICKS
Why he fits in Tennessee: Despite the slide to the top of the second round, Levis landed in a good spot. Ryan Tannehill is turning 35 and entering the final year of his contract, and Malik Willis hasn’t met early expectations after being drafted in Round 3 last year. So Levis could see playing time early in his career. Tennessee believes in a traditional offense, including a downhill power run game and play-action passing, and that’s the exact type of offense that Levis flourished in during his breakout 2021 season. And his powerful arm and ability as a runner give Titans coordinator Tim Kelly a different kind of skill set under center. — Reid
When he could get on the field: The Titans have already said Tannehill will be their Week 1 starter, but a change to Levis around midseason (maybe Week 8 or so) would make sense if the Tennessee offense struggles. The Week 7 bye after traveling to London to face the Ravens could give the coaching staff time to get Levis comfortable. — Turron Davenport
Why he fits in Detroit: One of the most widely debated quarterback prospects leading up to the draft, Hooker landed in a considerable spot for his development. His learning curve will be different after playing in an up-tempo offense at Tennessee, but offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is one of the more creative playcallers in the league, and his offense should be diverse. Hooker is at his best when playing in rhythm, and the Lions should be able to set him up well there.
There’s also no rush for Hooker to get on the field with Jared Goff under contract through 2024. Considering Hooker is an older prospect at 25 years old and is coming off an ACL tear in his left knee, he needed to land on a team with an established roster. The Lions have that and more. Hooker now has a chance to get healthy and develop with an ascending supporting cast. — Reid
When he could get on the field: Although Hooker hasn’t experienced any setbacks while recovering from his torn ACL, this remains Goff’s team, as he’s coming off one of the best seasons of his career. Hooker will likely sit behind Goff for this season and possibly next. Goff has two years left on his contract and could very well get an extension, especially since the Lions are looking to win now. They aren’t putting any pressure on Hooker and allowing him to learn how to be a pro under Goff. Coach Dan Campbell recently told the “Green Light Podcast” that “really, this is a redshirt year for him.” — Eric Woodyard
DAY 3 PICKS
Why he fits in New Orleans: Haener has a chance to develop into a reliable second option. He’s undersized at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, but his skill set fits well in today’s game. Haener has average arm strength, but his accuracy and off-schedule ability give him a foundation to survive in the league. His career path could be similar to Taylor Heinicke, who has bounced around the NFL as a capable spot starter. — Reid
What will be his role? The Saints like to carry three quarterbacks, and with Jameis Winston under contract for one more year, Haener will likely be groomed as the backup to Derek Carr. He’ll only see the field in 2023 if there’s a major emergency, but considering the Saints started four QBs in 2021, anything is possible. — Katherine Terrell
Why he fits in Los Angeles: Bennett going in the fourth round was a bit of a surprise, but his landing spot is ideal. The Rams needed a young signal-caller to develop, and Bennett’s skill set aligns well with the base principles in Sean McVay offense. He gets to sit back and develop behind an experienced passer in Matthew Stafford. — Reid
What will be his role? Bennett is expected to back up Stafford this season. The Rams drafted the Georgia quarterback because they believe he is capable of keeping them competitive in games if Stafford — who has an injury history — cannot play. They didn’t have that option for much of last season when Stafford was in the concussion protocol. — Sarah Barshop
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Why he fits in Las Vegas: O’Connell’s traits make him an intriguing developmental player for the Raiders. Coach Josh McDaniels features a complex offense with many quick-game concepts, and O’Connell played in a similar type of scheme at Purdue — one that attacks the short-to-intermediate areas of the field. He has a quick release and is a fast processor, which will help him find success in the McDaniels-based offense. — Reid
What will be his role? The Raiders entered the draft wanting a developmental QB whose skill set fit their offense and who would be under team control for the foreseeable future. Jimmy Garoppolo signed a big-money free agent deal to be the starter, and 14-year veteran Brian Hoyer already has four seasons in McDaniels’ system (with the Patriots), so O’Connell should begin his Raiders career being eased into the offense as QB3. — Paul Gutierrez
Why he fits in Arizona: With Kyler Murray still recovering from a torn ACL, Tune will enter a training camp battle with Colt McCoy and could have an opportunity to play earlier than expected. Arizona is likely to play a lot of young players, so it could see what it has in Tune at some point this season. His slightly above-average arm strength, strong mobility and continued growth as a decision-maker set him up to eventually be a reliable backup option. — Reid
What will be his role? For now, Tune is a training camp body who could find himself on the practice squad. But he has an opportunity to compete for the backup job while Murray is out. He’ll have to impress over the next few months but, if the Cardinals are going to keep their offense similar to what Murray ran during his first four years, then Tune, who’s an Air Raid quarterback out of Houston, could find it a bit easier to make the roster. — Josh Weinfuss
Why he fits in Cleveland: Thompson-Robinson is one of the more versatile Day 3 quarterbacks, and he could quickly settle into a No. 2 role with Cleveland. He has a strong arm, and he shows the mobility to be an extension of the running game and escape pressure. He also shows poise and savvy as a decision-maker. DTR is an ideal fit in Kevin Stefanski’s offense, which relies frequently on play-action. That’s where Thompson-Robinson is at his best. — Reid
What will be his role? Thompson-Robinson will likely start out on the practice squad alongside Kellen Mond, with Joshua Dobbs backing up Deshaun Watson on the active roster. The hope, however, is that DTR can quickly develop into Watson’s primary long-term backup, beginning as soon as the 2024 season. — Jake Trotter
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Why he fits in Green Bay: The Packers were clearly looking for backup options behind Jordan Love, but this pick was a bit of a surprise in Round 5. Clifford has plenty of arm strength and experience in a variety of different schemes, though consistency with his decision-making remains the biggest question mark about his game. In Matt LaFleur’s offense — one that centers around timing and quick patterns — his decision-making and accuracy will need to improve. But his arm talent gives him a chance to develop into a solid backup. — Reid
What will be his role? For now, it’s Clifford vs. Danny Etling for the right to back up Love. Etling’s only edge is he has been around the NFL since 2018 (with seven different teams), but he also has zero edge in-game experience and zero career pass attempts. It’s always possible the Packers will bring in a more experienced option, but for now, GM Brian Gutekunst said, “I think we’ll probably see how these guys do before we think about bringing in a veteran right away.” — Rob Demovsky
Why he fits in Minnesota: Hall had an inconsistent final season for BYU and is a smaller passer at 6-foot, 205 pounds. He has the arm strength to attack all three levels of the field, but his footwork and accuracy have been sporadic. While there is developing to do in his game, Hall has the opportunity to develop in Kevin O’Connell‘s rhythm- and timing-based offense. Kirk Cousins is among the most durable players in the NFL, but he is entering the final year of his contract, so adding QB depth was a smart move for Minnesota. — Reid
What will be his role? General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah kept all but one of his 2022 draft picks on the active roster, and there is no reason to think he’ll part ways with a quarterback unless Hall is a massive and immediate disappointment. Hall is likely to be the No. 3 QB behind Cousins and Nick Mullens. — Kevin Seifert
Why he fits in Philadelphia: The Eagles have been prone to invest heavily at quarterback, and they continued that approach by taking a sixth-round flier on McKee. He is a much different quarterback than starter Jalen Hurts but provides the Eagles with a young passer to develop over time. Praised for his football instincts and accuracy, McKee can be stashed on the practice squad for the foreseeable future to develop. — Reid
What will be his role? He’ll compete with Ian Book for the No. 3 role behind Hurts and Marcus Mariota. The 6-foot-6, 228-pound former Stanford QB has a good arm and better accuracy than his collegiate numbers suggest (63.2% career completion percentage). Philly will take some time to try and develop him, whether that’s on the active roster or practice squad. — Tim McManus
Why he fits in Los Angeles: With similar traits to Sam Ehlinger, Duggan is a bit unconventional with his playing style but has a natural feel as a playmaker. He has limited arm strength, but his highlight-reel plays typically come when he’s playing outside of structure. Justin Herbert is the clear answer for the franchise, but Duggan could carve out a long career as a backup. — Reid
What will be his role? Duggan will compete with Easton Stick to back up Herbert. Stick returns for a fifth season after he re-signed on a one-year, $1.8 million contract. But with a massive payday looming for Herbert, Duggan could prove to be a less expensive No. 2 option if he proves capable of the job. “He has some skills to work with and give him a chance to come in and compete,” general manager Tom Telesco said. “If you’ve seen him play through the course of his career, he just has that grittiness and toughness that’s just hard to find.” — Lindsey Thiry
NOTABLE UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
Why he’s worth a shot: Cunningham’s playing style is different from what’s currently on the Patriots’ roster (Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe). He’s a dynamic threat as both a passer and a runner, and I see some similarities to Tyler Huntley, who has carved out a reliable backup role with the Ravens. — Reid
Will he make the roster? Jones and Zappe are locked into the top two spots, and Trace McSorley is the current No. 3. Cunningham’s potential as a dual-threat/gadget-type option might be his best chance to land on the roster, which would help him separate from recently signed McSorley. The Patriots have been keeping three QBs on the roster in recent seasons, so there’s a clear path for Cunningham to stick. — Mike Reiss
Why he’s worth a shot: Entering the NFL from the Division II ranks, Bagent has a steep learning curve ahead. He could be a practice squad option while he’s learning the speed and nuances of the next level. But Bagent is a quick and decisive decision-maker with enough arm strength and accuracy to make pro-level throws. — Reid
Will he make the roster? Bagent’s best shot is on the practice squad after the Bears signed PJ Walker to back up Justin Fields and brought back Nathan Peterman as the current No. 3 option. Bagent played for offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s American Squad at the Senior Bowl, and the Bears clearly see potential — but Bagent making the 53-man roster is a long shot. — Courtney Cronin