The NFL draft’s best at 53 different traits and skills: Speed, arm talent, blitzing, first step

    Former NFL safety Matt Bowen is a veteran of four teams over seven seasons, and now provides analysis for ESPN Insider.

We love talking about traits leading up to the NFL draft. Accuracy, arm strength and mobility for quarterbacks. Elusiveness, physicality and speed for offensive skill positions. Power and agility for linemen. Burst, bend and range for front-seven defenders. And ball-hawking and instincts in the secondary. Prospect scouting reports are filled with detailed breakdowns in these departments. But who is truly the best in the 2023 class at each individual skill?

I put together my annual list of the best at everything — the skill superlatives of this year’s draft class — for 53 different categories. Where do top prospects separate themselves? Which quarterback displays the best arm talent? Which wideout is the top route runner of the class? Who is the hardest-hitting defensive back or the most powerful edge rusher? I picked the best prospect in 53 separate areas and capped it all off with three sleepers who have a lot of upside.


Most accurate passer: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud completed 69.8% of his passes over 25 career starts at Ohio State, and he threw a catchable pass on 79.4% of his attempts last season (19th-best in the country). With a natural, easy motion, Stroud can deliver the ball with precise placement at the second and third levels of the field, using both velocity and touch to hit his targets. He’s a pocket passer with enough mobility to get to the edges or escape pressure, and we’ve seen Stroud throw the ball with high-level accuracy both on the tape and during his combine/pro day workouts.

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