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Green Zone League Articles

It's Draft Season: Top 2023 Prospects
By Tyler Richardson
Special to gzl-football.com

CB Tre Deveroux
Tre Deveroux is the clear-cut number one player in this prospect. I know it, you know it, and it appears the Saints know it. For my money there's approximately four bonafide studs in this draft class, and Deveroux is the best of the bunch. For starters he stands 6'3" tall while also being one of the most athletic corners in the class. He's also one of the strongest corners in the class, and has one of the best football IQs of anyone coming out this year. There is simply no weakness to his game - Tre Deveroux is the complete package. If developed properly he has a chance to become the best cornerback to ever play in the league. He is a no-brainer first overall pick, and hopefully his agent has already booked him a plane ticket to New Orleans.

WR Ferdinand Buford
Ferdinand Buford is Tre Deveroux's offensive counterpart in this year's class. Both stand 6'3" tall, both boast elite athleticism, both have elite strength, and both are very GZL ready. While Deveroux is still the clear-cut number one overall pick, simply due to the position he plays and the fact that it's much harder to find a 6'3" cornerback than a 6'3" wide receive, Buford may actually be the better athlete. His first-step is already elite, and his vertical is off the charts. With a little bit of work on his top-end speed, he will be just about as fast and quick as anyone else in the GZL. Like Deveroux, Buford has a chance to be one of the best ever at his position. Let's just say that mock drafts are going to be easy this year, because I can't see any way these guys don't go 1-2 in the draft.

WR Ismael Butler
This year's wide receiver class sure is loaded. While these aren't necessarily all going to be in perfect order of who's the best, they are for now, and I have Butler as the third best in this class. He reminds me of both Funchess and DGB in the year that they both came out and went top 3. He has a 6'4" frame and good enough athleticism to be developed into a freak athlete. And that's the kicker - he's going to need to be developed. But, if a team is willing to put in the work, he's got the potential to be very good. With 92 speed and 91 acceleration, he can max out at 95/94. Pair that with his 6'4", 223 lb frame, 70 strength, great hands, and an elite vertical, and you have all the makings of a star wide receiver. If a team doesn't need a wide receiver or isn't looking to put a lot of developmental work into a prospect then there may be better options here, but the immense potential at a high impact position would be too much for me to pass up.

HB Joe Mixon
Yet another stud offensive player, Mixon is head and shoulders the best running back in this class. Few running backs in recent memory have come out with his combination of speed (95), agility (92), and acceleration (97), let alone paired with 72 strength. And at 6'1", 227 lbs, Mixon is no scat back. He will run by you but he can also run through you. Throw in good hands and ability to shed tackles, and Mixon is as much of a plug and play running back as you will find. His draft stock might take a little bit of a hit due to the position he plays, and the fact that teams taking running backs early haven't always gotten the best return on their investment, but a running back needy team should be happy to select this guy in the top ten, if not top five.

DE Soloman Thomas
With our fifth prospect we shift back to the defensive side of the ball. Thomas is supremely talented athlete, with both the speed and quickness to rush the passer as well as the strength to be a real force against the run. The only knock on Thomas from draft analysts is his lateral quickness, which could hurt his ability to get around blockers on the edge. With that in mind it's hard to call him a truly elite prospect, but he sure is close. Similarly to Myles Garrett a year ago, if a team were really keen on investing some development time, Thomas could end up with attributes that are simply unheard of. He has the ability to max out at 85 SPD, 87 STR, and 87 ACC, which is simply absurd. But I still go back to thinking that his lack of agility may end up hampering him throughout his career. Never the less, wherever Thomas ends up he's going to be an impact player for a long time.

OT Garrett Bolles
Rounding out this list of prospects is an offensive lineman, Garrett Bolles. Bolles, despite lacking truly elite speed, put up phenomenal numbers across the board at the combine. With 96 STR to go with 72 AGI and 81 ACC, Bolles has all the makings of a true cornerstone franchise player at the tackle position. Like all tackles entering the league he's probably best suited for some time at left tackle early in his career, but with 69 AWR and solid blocking technique he's fit to be a day one starter. I wouldn't be surprised to see him go in the top five, but you can go ahead and bet your house that he will be a top ten pick. He will develop into one of the league's best right tackles, likely in short order.
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