Will Anderson, Bryce Young headline Joel Klatt's Top 50 NFL Draft prospects

To say March has been filled with NFL Draft intrigue would be a massive understatement.

The month kicked off with the NFL Scouting Combine, where more than 300 prospects descended upon Indianapolis to showcase their skills in front of scouts, coaches and executives from all 32 NFL teams.

Then, on the night of March 10, the Chicago Bears sent shockwaves through the NFL universe, dealing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a massive trade package.

This all came more than a month ahead of the draft, which is set to take place April 27-29 in Kansas City.

FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt revealed his top 50 players in the draft on a recent episode of his podcast, "The Joel Klatt Show".

Here is Klatt's complete list.

1. Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama

Anderson was a two-time Nagurski Award winner as the nation's best defensive player. A dominant force off the edge, Anderson recorded 27.5 sacks and 51.5 tackles for loss over his last two seasons in Tuscaloosa.

Klatt on Anderson: "He has been the best player in college football, arguably, for two straight years. This last year, he was the focal point of every single pass protection that he faced. He was constantly double- and triple-teamed, and yet he still made huge plays. This guy is an alpha. He is one of those guys that is in the same vein of all-time great defenders in Alabama history, in particular under Nick Saban. He has the explosiveness and the get-off. I think this is a guy that can be a captain in an NFL locker room. He can be a Defensive Player of the Year because of his ability to disrupt the passing game. That’s the type of player I'd love to take No. 1."

[Related reading: Rob Rang's rankings of the top 64 prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft]

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner wasn't able to repeat in 2022, but he still enjoyed an outstanding season and was relied upon even more heavily in Nick Saban's Alabama offense. Young finished his career with an eye-popping 80 touchdown passes and only 12 interceptions.

Klatt on Young "To say that I love this guy's game is the absolute understatement of the century. Bryce Young is everything you want. Just turn on the film, watch the guy play. He is a great leader, he makes clutch plays in the biggest moments of almost every big game he plays in. He very rarely makes mistakes, he's accurate with the football. He's got a stronger arm than you’d think, he's elusive. This is a guy that I think is gonna have a huge NFL career."

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Joel Klatt discusses Bryce Young’s play throughout the season and explains why he thinks Young can be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

3. Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech

Wilson had seven sacks and 14 tackles for loss before an injury cut his senior season short with three games remaining. The talented 6-foot-6 edge rusher led all Power 5 players in QB pressures at the time of his injury.

Klatt on Wilson: "He has great length, he has that combination of bend and power that is rare. He plays physical, he plays tough. I like his hands and I think he's got a lot of room for improvement. I think he has a really high ceiling, and he's already shown the ability to go out there and dominate on the edge."

4. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Robinson was the best back in college football in 2022. He broke out late in his freshman season and went on to average over 150 yards per game over his last 26 games at Texas.

Klatt on Robinson: "He has a great skill set, and he played with a bad offensive line. He's just a little bit better version of what Jahmyr Gibbs is — a guy that can catch it out of the backfield, he can run between the tackles, he has amazing burst, amazing home run ability."

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Joel Klatt discussed Bijan Robinson at the 2023 NFL Combine.

5. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud was a Heisman finalist in both of his seasons as Ohio State's starting quarterback. The former Buckeye averaged 325 yards per game through the air during his career, while also recording 40-plus touchdown passes in each of his last two seasons.

Klatt on Stroud: [He's] super accurate, very mentally tough. I think playing QB at Ohio State is the toughest singular position in college football, and that hasn’t been easy, in particular for a guy that lost to Michigan the past couple of years. I love what he does from the pocket. The mental toughness he showed against Georgia … that can't be overlooked."

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Joel Klatt discussed C.J. Stroud at the 2023 NFL Combine, praising him for not only his play on the field, but how he holds himself off the field.

6. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Carter was a first-team All-American in 2022 and was the rock at the center of the Georgia defensive line. The talented interior lineman led all SEC defensive tackles in QB pressures.

Klatt on Carter: "The last three weeks have been disastrous with Jalen Carter. You can turn on the film as an evaluator and push aside all of those problems that have arisen in the past couple of weeks. It's easy to do that because he is a fantastic player, a great player, a dominant player. But it is worrisome when he shows that in the most critical offseason of his life as he's preparing for his next job, he shows up nine pounds heavy for his Pro Day. That’s worrisome."

7. Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Skoronski was a consensus All-American at Northwestern, despite the program's struggles over the last couple of seasons. 

Klatt on Skoronski: "He's a really good athlete … he bends well, he's solid. He's not gonna blow you away with traits, but it's not gonna shock me at all if you looked up and this guy has a 12-13-14-year career, is rarely injured, and is a mainstay as a Pro Bowl-caliber player in the National Football League."

8. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Smith-Njigba is one of the best players in this year's draft, regardless of position. He missed most of 2022 season for Ohio State, but he's a plug-and-play slot receiver at the next level who has the talent to make an immediate impact. The last time Smith-Njigba was fully healthy in a game was in the 2022 Rose Bowl, when he finished with 15 receptions for 347 yards and three touchdowns vs. Utah.

Klatt on Smith-Njigba: "This is a guy I'm way higher on than most. Anybody who watched football in 2021 should know that Smith-Njigba is a guy that can lead the league in receptions at some point in his career, probably by year three. I firmly believe he is the type of player who creates space in the slot, understands coverage, is really smart, catches the ball well, and he will be an absolute godsend to any quarterback that you give him."

https://statics.foxsports.com/static/orion/player-embed.html?id=play-6412e129c0016b9&image=https://static-media.fox.com/ms/stg1/sports/play-6412e129c0016b9--jaxon_1678163853136.jpg&props=eyJwYWdlX25hbWUiOiJmc2NvbTpzdG9yaWVzOmNvbGxlZ2UtZm9vdGJhbGw6V2lsbCBBbmRlcnNvbiwgQnJ5Y2UgWW91bmcgaGVhZGxpbmUgSm9lbCBLbGF0dCdzIFRvcCA1MCBORkwgRHJhZnQgcHJvc3BlY3RzIiwicGFnZV9jb250ZW50X2Rpc3RyaWJ1dG9yIjoiYW1wIiwicGFnZV90eXBlIjoic3RvcmllczphcnRpY2xlcyJ9 Loading Video…

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Joel Klatt discussed Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the 2023 NFL Draft, comparing his skills to LA Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

9. Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Richardson has arguably the highest ceiling of any prospect in this year's NFL Draft, but he's still developing after only one season starting under center at Florida.

Klatt on Richardson: "He has the ability to be the best player in the NFL. The problem is that it's going to take a lot of development to get there. He has incredible traits, and things that you just can't teach and coach. This guy is and can be a dynamo."

https://statics.foxsports.com/static/orion/player-embed.html?id=play-6412de7b90016b9&image=https://static-media.fox.com/ms/stg1/sports/play-6412de7b90016b9--vod2_richardson_1678166044143.jpg&props=eyJwYWdlX25hbWUiOiJmc2NvbTpzdG9yaWVzOmNvbGxlZ2UtZm9vdGJhbGw6V2lsbCBBbmRlcnNvbiwgQnJ5Y2UgWW91bmcgaGVhZGxpbmUgSm9lbCBLbGF0dCdzIFRvcCA1MCBORkwgRHJhZnQgcHJvc3BlY3RzIiwicGFnZV9jb250ZW50X2Rpc3RyaWJ1dG9yIjoiYW1wIiwicGFnZV90eXBlIjoic3RvcmllczphcnRpY2xlcyJ9 Loading Video…

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Joel Klatt explained why Anthony Richardson stood out at the NFL Combine.

10. Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson

Murphy is the latest in a long line of dominant defensive linemen to come out of Clemson. The 6-foot-5, 268-pound edge rusher had 6.5 sacks for the Tigers this past season.

11. Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Porter Jr. is the son of former All-Pro LB Joey Porter. He was a second-team All-American for Penn State this past season.

Klatt on Porter Jr.: "He's got the traits and the length, the competitiveness, the toughness, the lineage with his father. Porter Jr. was always given the toughest responsibility on the field. He uses his hands very well at the line of scrimmage … he's very physical. If there is a knock, it's that he tends to he handsy, so look for some penalties early on, but I think he’ll grow out of that."

12. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Witherspoon had an outstanding 2022 season, being named an All-American corner for an Illinois defense that led the nation in scoring defense.

13. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Gonzalez was a standout on Oregon's defense in 2022, leading the team with four interceptions in his first year after transferring from Colorado.

14. Jordan Addison, WR, USC

The 2021 Biletnikoff Award Winner transferred to USC and dealt with injuries mid-season. When healthy, Addison showed how special he is, recording an 11 catch, 178-yard performance in USC's shootout win over UCLA.

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USC's Caleb Williams hooks up with Jordan Addison for a 35-yard touchdown to five the Trojans a 27-24 lead over UCLA.

15. Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

Mayer was the best player on Notre Dame's offense, recording 32% of team's receptions last season, the highest of any tight end in college football.

Klatt on Mayer: "This is a team guy. He is a great blocker. He can play in-line or he can flex out because he's so athletic. He is a constant professional, and he immediately makes your team better."

16. Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Johnston recorded 60 catches and over 1,000 receiving yards in TCU's Cinderella season, despite dealing with nagging injuries. He had six catches for 163 yards in the Horned Frogs' win over Michigan in the CFP semfinals.

Klatt on Johnston: "He is physically a guy that I think can turn into a No. 1 [receiver]. I think he needs some route-running polish. However, he's explosive, and he catches the ball in contested areas."

17. Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia

Smith was the No. 1 ranked recruit in the 2019 class, per 247Sports.com composite rankings. He was one of the few holdovers from Georgia's dominant starting defense in 2021, but he suffered a torn pectoral muscle mid-season. The 6-foot-2, 238-pound edge rusher confirmed his dynamic burst and speed at the NFL Combine with a 4.39 40-yard dash time.

18. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

Gibbs showed his versatility and explosiveness in his one season at Alabama after transferring from Georgia Tech. The talented back led the Crimson Tide in both rushing (926 yards) and receiving (44 catches) this past season. He is an explosive back, confirming that by running a 4.36 40 at the NFL Combine.

Klatt on Gibbs: "This guy is a creative offensive coordinator's dream because of what he provides in every area of the game. He is so smooth catching the ball out of the backfield, he's explosive in the open field, be breaks tackles, he runs tough. Gibbs if the type of guy that you put on any offense in the National Football League and he's gonna produce. I think he's gonna be one of the best backs in the entire league in probably three or four years."

19. Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

Johnson played in five games as a true freshman, including the national championship against Alabama, before emerging as the starter at right guard in 2021, where he earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the league's media and second-team accolades by the conference's opposing coaches. The Buckeyes moved Johnson to left tackle in 2022, where he starred, earning All-American accolades.

20. Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa

Don't let the fact that he didn't start a single game for the Hawkeyes fool you. Van Ness led all Iowa edge rushers in total snaps and pass-rushing snaps. He also recorded nine sacks, which led the way for Phil Parker's stout defense this past season.

21. Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Jones, who is a massive offensive tackle prospect, both literally and figuratively, took over as the starter at left tackle late in the 2021 season. He then put together an exceptional season at the left tackle spot for the 'Dawgs in 2022. Jones was the leader on an offensive line that only allowed nine sacks over 15 games this past season.

22. Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

Kincaid had a standout senior season for the Utes. The 6-foot-4, 246-pound pass-catcher led all Division I tight ends with 74 receiving yards per game during the 2022 season.

https://statics.foxsports.com/static/orion/player-embed.html?id=play-5fe3bee1d0003ea&image=https://static-media.fox.com/ms/stg1/sports/play-5fe3bee1d0003ea--26248985174.jpg&props=eyJwYWdlX25hbWUiOiJmc2NvbTpzdG9yaWVzOmNvbGxlZ2UtZm9vdGJhbGw6V2lsbCBBbmRlcnNvbiwgQnJ5Y2UgWW91bmcgaGVhZGxpbmUgSm9lbCBLbGF0dCdzIFRvcCA1MCBORkwgRHJhZnQgcHJvc3BlY3RzIiwicGFnZV9jb250ZW50X2Rpc3RyaWJ1dG9yIjoiYW1wIiwicGFnZV90eXBlIjoic3RvcmllczphcnRpY2xlcyJ9 Loading Video…

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Bryson Barnes finds Dalton Kincaid for a 5-yard touchdown to put Utah up 21-7 against Washington State.

23. Brian Branch, CB, Alabama

Branch was all over the field for the Crimson Tide. He recorded 90 tackles out the secondary for Nick Saban's Crimson Tide team this past season, including 14 tackles for loss. The do-it-all defensive back played primarily in the slot corner position for 'Bama.

24. Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Wright was a five-star prospect coming out of high school. He had a stellar senior year at Tennessee, earning unanimous first-team All-SEC honors at left tackle. He started 40 games in his career in Knoxville. 

25. Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

The former No. 1-ranked recruit in the 2020 class dealt with personal tragedy and health issues this past season. His stat line this past season (15 tackles, 3.5 sacks) doesn't match his talent. He has the chance to be a superb player at the NFL level.

26. Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Flowers showed his 4.42-second 40-yard dash speed at the NFL Combine. The 5-foot-9, 182-pound wide receiver recorded a 1,000-yard season for Boston College this past year. 

Klatt on Flowers: "He's a really good slot-style wide receiver. This guy has great quickness, he gets separation, he understands route running, he understands leverage, and he understands that as a wide receiver, you're constantly in communication with the way you're running a route. You can see that he's been taught well."

27. Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

Ringo, who was a mega-recruit coming out of high school, started 27 games in two seasons after missing his freshman campaign due to injury. He was a leader in the secondary for the back-to-back national champion Georgia Bulldogs. 

28. Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

The 6-foot-7, 264-pound tight end is a freak athlete with a ton of potential. Washington was overshadowed by fellow Georgia tight end Brock Bowers on the stat sheet, but he's a potential weapon in the NFL. 

29. Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Banks measured very well at the NFL Combine. The 6-foot, 197-pound defensive back ran a blistering 4.35-second 40-yard dash and record an 11'4" broad jump.

30. O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida

In his only season at Florida, Torrence became the first Gator offensive guard to be named a consensus All-American after transferring in from Louisiana.

31. Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

Smith was the anchor in the middle of Michigan's defensive line, starting every game in each of the Wolverine's last two seasons, both of which resulted in appearances in the College Football Playoff. 

32. Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State

McDonald was named a first-team All-Big 12 selection each of the last three seasons. The 6-foot-4, 239-pound edge rusher totaled 27 sacks over the span.

33. Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt

As an undersized, athletic defensive tackle, the Aaron Donald comparisons have been thrown out there, and breaking Donald's NFL Combine 40-yard dash record for DTs didn't slow that down. The Miami native produced on the field with 27.5 TFLs over the last two seasons, both ending with All-American honors. 

34. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The former Penn State signal-caller made the decision to transfer to Kentucky ahead of the 2021 season and put together back-to-back impressive campaigns at Kentucky. Levis threw for 2,406 yards and 19 touchdowns while leading the Wildcats to a 7-6 mark this season.

Klatt on Levis: "I love his traits. He's got a huge arm, but … he did throw a few too many picks. Too many times, it was a mistake that cost them, or a turnover that cost them."

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Joe Thomas joins Colin Cowherd to discuss Alabama QB Bryce Young, the Chicago Bears and Kentucky prospect Will Levis.

35. BJ Ojulari, Edge, LSU

Ojulari showed his ability with 11 tackles and a sack in the Tigers' upset win over Alabama this past season. The talented edge rusher finished his three-year collegiate career with 128 tackles and 16.5 sacks.

36. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State

Anudike-Uzomah was a third-team AP All-American last season, leading Kansas State's defense to a Big 12 title. He forced eight fumbles over the last two seasons, which is the most among Power 5 players.

Klatt on Anudike-Uzomah: "I love his motor. This is a guy that when you look up, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he's got pretty good production early in his career because he's got those type of traits and that type of athleticism."

37. Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson

Simpson started 27 games in his three years at Clemson. The talented linebacker prospect ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which was the second-fastest time along all linebackers.

38. Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Hyatt burst onto the scene in 2022 on his way to winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver. The speedy wideout ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which verifies what Alabama DBs saw as Hyatt torched them for over 200 yards and five touchdowns in the Volunteers' win over the Crimson Tide. 

Klatt on Hyatt: "At Tennessee, they ran that downfield wide receiver choice route, and Hyatt did it really well. He understands how to eat up leverage, make a decision on the fly, read what the defense is doing and then react accordingly. That is going to pay dividends at the next level."

39. Isaiah Foskey, Edge, Notre Dame

Foskey finished his career with back-to-back double-digit sack seasons for the Irish. Only Alabama's Will Anderson Jr .had more sacks than Foskey over the last two seasons.

40. Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

Johnson recorded a combined 150 tackles over the last two seasons at Texas A&M. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound prospect was an All-SEC defensive back for the Aggies.

41. Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Smith is a lengthy outside corner with exceptional ball skills and the ability to close on throws. He recorded six interceptions during his career at South Carolina.

42. Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

Forbes was a second-team AP All-American this past season and has a nose for the end zone. He finished his career with an FBS-record six pick-sixes.

43. Cody Mauch, OT, North Dakota State

This draft's best FCS prospect comes out of North Dakota State. Maunch went from playing nine-man football in high school to being a first-team All-American this past season.

44. John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota

Schmitz took advantage of a sixth year at Minnesota and was named an AP first-team All-American.

45. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

A late-season ACL injury put a damper on Hooker's amazing final season in Knoxville. Over the last two seasons in Josh Heupel's high-powered spread offense, Hooker totaled 58 touchdowns and only five interceptions.

Klatt on Hooker: "What he did for Tennessee this year was quite remarkable. What I love about Hooker is his growth and development over the past couple of years. If you start to project him in the National Football League, I think he fits a lot of systems, in particular with his maturity and his ability to be developed."

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Matt Leinart sits down with Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker coming off of a big win over the Alabama Crimson Tide.

46. Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa

LaPorta leaves an Iowa program having recorded the most catches by a tight end in school history. He led the Hawkeyes in receptions in each of the last three seasons and was named the Big Ten's Tight End of the Year in 2022.

Klatt on LaPorta: "I'm a bit higher on LaPorta than most, and one of the reasons is because he's such a good route runner, and he was the focal point of Iowa's offense. He was the only threat, so every defense had all of their focus on No. 84, and yet he still led the team in receptions each of the last three years and became their all-time leader in receptions."

47. Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State

At 6-foot-6, 253 pounds, Musgrave ran the top 10-yard split of any tight end at the NFL Combine. He has a ton of potential for a player who was limited to just two games this past season.

48. Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

Jones is a massive offensive tackle prospect, standing at 6-foot-8, 374 pounds. On top of that, Jones set a Senior Bowl record with a wingspan of 89.5 inches.

Klatt on Jones: "He's just a massive human being and a pretty good player. I think he's better in pass protection than he is in run blocking."

49. Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

Campbell is a force at the linebacker position, measuring 6-foot-5, 249 pounds at the NFL Combine. "Captain Jack" won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker in 2022 after leading the nation in tackles in 2021. 

50. Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA

Charbonnet averaged nearly 7-yards per carry in his final season in Westwood, which was the second-highest total among Power 5 running backs. He recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at UCLA after transferring from Michigan.

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