Brett Whitefield's 2023 NFL Draft "My Guys"


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Brett Whitefield's 2023 NFL Draft "My Guys"

Welcome to the highly anticipated breakdown of “My Guys” in the 2023 NFL Draft!

We are officially less than a week away from the start of the 2023 NFL Draft, so I figured this was a good opportunity to formally plant my flag on some prospects it seems I am higher on than most.

Using my 10-plus years in the football analysis business as my foundation, I've grinded the tape, scrutinized the analytical profiles, and studied player backgrounds to identify those standout prospects.

What sets my analysis apart is my proprietary numeric scoring system, which incorporates a weighted film/traits score, production score, athleticism score, and intangibles score to paint a comprehensive picture of each prospect's potential. These scores help me identify hidden gems who may be underrated by the consensus opinion, but possess the talent and attributes to make a significant impact in the NFL.

And since Fantasy Points is a fantasy site, after all, I’ve initially focused on the skill-position players here to help dynasty fantasy football players.

If you haven’t checked out my 2023 Prospect Guide yet, do so now! All you need to access it is a free Fantasy Points login which you can create by clicking here.

Let's get after it.

2023 NFL Draft Wide Receivers

People seem pretty low on the receiver class in general. While I understand that sentiment at the top of the Draft, I think this receiver group is actually very good and very deep. We probably aren’t getting a Justin Jefferson, but we are going to get a slew of high-level NFL contributors. The value sweet spot for this group is going to be late in round 2 to the middle of round 3 — I gave out 14 day-2 grades but just 3 day-1 grades.

Let's take a look at some of My Guys at the receiver position.

AT Perry, Wake Forest (Big Board #43, WR6)

Perry brings size and length to a rookie receiver class that is lacking in both departments. He plays predominantly on the outside and thrives working along the boundary.

There is no receiver in this class that has a better, more accomplished resume as a deep threat than Perry. He wins with a combination of athleticism, sophisticated release packages, and crisp route running while also showing off elite ball-tracking and body control.

I see glimpses of DJ Chark and Tee Higgins when I watch him.

Perry Skill Summary
  • Height, weight, speed.

  • Refined release game and route running

  • Ball skills and body control

  • Deceptive RAC ability

Marvin Mims, Oklahoma (Big Board #50, WR7)

For my money, Mims is the best of the bunch when it comes to this enormous class of undersized receivers not projected to go in the first round. I like him significantly more than Josh Downs and Tank Dell, both of whom seem to be getting more hype.

In Mims, teams are getting an electric downfield playmaker who has the raw speed and separation ability you covet in a deep threat, but also the traits to play above the rim and make ridiculous adjustments in the air.

His suddenness as a route runner shows his potential to be special, as he routinely takes CBs in his face “off the dribble.” On top of that, his analytical profile stands out as being elite.

Mims Skill Summary
  • Explosive yet smooth athlete

  • Complete vertical skill set

  • Sudden route runner with good wiggle

  • Inside/out versatility

  • Untapped RAC potential

Tyler Scott, Cincinnati (Big Board #52, WR8)

While A.T. Perry might have the best deep-receiving resume in the draft, Scott is right there with him and might have the most translatable deep speed and deep route running in the class.

The way he can threaten the outside shoulder of opposing CBs is second to none. This poses big-time problems, because Scott can snap off his route in a hurry and virtually disappear into thin air.

The second a CB gets comfortable flipping and running, Scott will vanish by either slamming the brakes or putting his foot in the ground to rip a post across the defender’s face. He is an expert at altering route tempo and disguising his routes.

Scott is a math-changer and will require defenses to commit a second set of eyes on him at all times.

Scott Skill Summary
  • Competitive, sprinter-level top-gear

  • Vertical route running prowess

  • Body control and flexibility

  • Instinctual chain mover after catch

Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss (Big Board #61, WR11)

At nearly 6’2” and 220 pounds, Mingo brings exceptional size to the table, something lacking in this receiver class. He uses that size very well at the catch point, where he frames and boxes out opposing defenders.

He is an absolute monster after the catch and most closely resembles another former Ole Miss WR, AJ Brown, from a play-style standpoint. That said, Mingo thrived primarily on RAC opportunities or deep throws and didn’t put out a ton of tape working the intermediate parts of the field.

His route running at Ole Miss was simplistic but effective. He accelerates easily and has great change of direction skills but is also very smooth in his movements. Mingo showed out in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and put out some high-level route running we didn’t get to see on his tape, especially in the red zone.

Mingo Skill Summary
  • A+ size and athletic profile

  • Bonafide RAC threat

  • Untapped potential as a route runner

  • Strong at the catch point with big strong hands

  • Alignment versatility, can play X or in the slot

2023 NFL Draft Running Backs

This running back class is 15-18 prospects deep with guys who should contribute at the next level. Standing out in a class this deep is actually pretty hard to do, but there are a couple of guys who move the needle for me compared to their perceived value. I foresee a massive changing of the guard coming at the RB position, with the historically good 2016 and 2017 classes starting to age. In my mind, class stacks up head-to-head with 2017 very well.

Here are My Guys in this RB class.

Tank Bigsby, Auburn (Big Board #85, RB6)

Teams looking for a prospective lead back, or even bell-cow type, beyond Bijan Robinson can find the next best thing in Bigsby.

He checks all three premium traits boxes for a runner with vision, burst, and ability to create beyond his blockers. In fact, you won’t find a running back in this class who is responsible for creating a higher percentage of his own yards than Bigsby.

He also brings size, physicality, and an intensity that is hard to match. He has some of the most violent cuts you will ever see and boasts a nasty stiff arm as well. In the pass game, he shows natural hands and decent polish as a pass-protector.

Bigsby Skill Summary
  • Big, muscular body with elite athleticism

  • Top-notch vision, burst, ability to create

  • Make-you-miss moves in the open field

  • Physical and aggressive run style

  • Pass game upside

Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh (Big Board #97, RB7)

Izzy brings size and breakaway speed to the table. He is both fast and powerful and will drag defenders after contact.

Abanikanda’s burst is tremendous and basically eliminates the need for a long runway — case in point, he was often used in ridiculous shallow-depth formations where he was a single-back but lined up at FB depth… and looked great doing it.

He has a unique blend of vision and patience and thrives when he has time to use his body language in tight spaces to deceive defenders and get them to peek gaps, subsequently forcing commitment, only to then cut and explode into the now vacated gap. Give him an inch, and he can take a mile.

I expect the draft capital investment to be much higher than the draft community is currently projecting. We have only one example since 2000 of a power-5 back with his production and similar measurables making it to day 3 (Roy Helu, 2011). While Abanikanda is currently carrying a day-3 grade from most analysts, I wouldn’t be shocked if a team dropped a 2nd-round pick on him.

Abanikanda Skill Summary
  • Size and power

  • Home-run speed and burst

  • Patience and vision as a runner

2023 NFL Draft Tight Ends

Saying this is the best tight end class in recent memory is not hyperbole. This class is loaded top to bottom, and like the RB group, it is very hard to stand out if you find yourself somewhere in the middle.

With the way I value and prioritize the pass game, there is one guy who provides teams unique value somewhere in the middle rounds and someone I would be willing to spend a round-3 pick on.

He’s one of my favorite TEs in this class.

Will Mallory, Miami (Big Board #97, TE7)

Mallory has an explosive athletic profile that sets him apart from most of the tight ends in this class. While he isn’t going to give you much in the run game as a blocker, he is a fantastic route runner and has the juice to challenge vertically. He is a true mismatch weapon in the pass game.

His ball skills are on par with Dalton Kincaid’s, and they needed to be, as Mallory had to deal with egregiously bad quarterback play in 2022. He racked up so many high-level catches working through traffic and having to fully extend away from his frame, going the opposite direction of his momentum. It was incredible stuff for a tight end.

Being as twitched-up as he is gives him legit alignment upside, as you can split him wide or run him out of the slot. He looks like a big receiver out there but plays with the intensity of a throwback tight end. He will make a team instantly better in the pass game.

Mallory Skill Summary
  • Exceptional athlete for the position

  • Ball skills and fantastic hands

  • Detailed and explosive route runner

  • Vertical receiving skill set

  • Alignment versatility

Brett Whitefield is an experienced professional in football analytics, with more than a decade in the business. He has held several key positions with some of the top companies in the industry, including as a process manager at Pro Football Focus (PFF), where he spent more than seven years. Brett has also worked with and consulted for multiple NFL teams and Power-5 NCAA football programs.