Just one day after the 2022 NFL Draft, many draft analysts put out their first “way too early 2023 NFL Mock Drafts” The usual suspects could be seen, Heisman winning Alabama QB Bryce Young, the top pass rusher (also from Alabama) Will Anderson, the Ohio State QB CJ Stroud as well as his offensive tackle Paris Johnson, but then a bit of a surprise popped up in Will Levis, the signal caller from the Kentucky Wildcats. As a Kentucky fan myself, I love the guy, but I must admit I was taken aback a bit when I saw his name as high as #1 overall in some mock drafts. So how did we get to this point? My only thought is some scouts saw his ability whilst looking through tape of Wan’Dale Robinson, Luke Fortner & Darian Kinnard this off-season. Who went in the 2nd 3rd & 5th round respectively, but it still shocked me a bit to see Levis in the top 10 of several mock drafts. He had some accuracy issues early last season, but did show he can make all the throws, as well as running the ball. If you watch the game against the Louisville Cardinals last season, you can see quite a bit of the latter. The Kentucky Wildcats took advantage of the new transfer rules in college football last season adding Wan’Dale Robinson from Nebraska, Jaquez Jones from Ole Miss as well as Will Levis from Penn State.
Many Kentucky fans, myself included, wondered how the Penn State Nittany Lions could just let Levis walk out the door, I’m sure there are some Penn State fans wondering that same thing now. Some are saying Levis’ build is reason for some of the hype, standing 6’3 weighing in at 232 pounds with his running style some are saying if coached right he could be the next Josh Allen, and you know that gets NFL coaches salivating at the thought of replicating one of the best QBs in today’s NFL. Levis isn’t scared of contact either in fact he seeks it out, but he also has arm talent as shown in a shootout game against the Tennessee Volunteers with Hendon Hooker under center. Levis was baited into a pick six by recently drafted Alontae Taylor in that game, but he went toe to toe with a high-powered offense.
The offensive coordinator last year was Liam Coen who has since taken the same job back with the Los Angeles Rams, but the Wildcats have replaced him with San Francisco 49ers QB coach Rich Scangarello as well as adding the OL coach Zach Yenser from the same staff. So, on top of all the physical attributes that Levis possesses he is also well versed in offensive systems that are showing up all over the league from the Shanahan/McVay tree. Last season, due to a lack of proven weapons, everyone in the stadium knew the ball was going to Wan’Dale if they were passing, but the Wildcats have added Tayvion Robinson from Virginia Tech as well as adding high level recruits in Dane Key & Barion Brown. Keaton Upshaw returning from injury as well as Izayah Cummings another year entrenched with the position switch from Wide Receiver to Tight End have a nice group of pass catchers for Levis to show how well he can spread the ball around. All these factors add up to Will Levis being one of the best QB prospects in college football this season.
However, to play a bit of Devil’s advocate. QB prospect Sam Howell was highly ranked in way to early mock drafts following last year’s draft & couldn’t live up to the hype after losing majority of his weapons he fell all the way to the 5th round before the Washington Commanders selected him. So, Will Levis will have to perform this season, but if he can perform well in an SEC schedule, with his new weapons & in a pro style offense he will be the first QB selected in the first round from Kentucky since Tim Couch went first overall to the Cleveland Browns in 1999.
Hopefully Levis’ pro career can play out better than Couch’s did. He definitely has the big blue nation fired up!