5 min read

2023 NFL Draft: 5 Biggest Hitters in This Year's Class

With the 2023 NFL Draft getting closer, everyone is going to give love to the quarterbacks and skill players. As a former NFL defensive back, I need to give some love to players on the other side of the ball.

I've got five players who are heavy hitters and bring the lumber. I think each of these players can be great in the NFL while making receivers think twice about coming across the middle.

2023 Draft's Biggest Hitters

Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State

2022 Stats: 99 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack

Robinson is a baller — not just because he went to my former school. He's physical in the run game and can play the pass in place of the edge. I think he needs to go to a team where he can play special teams first and work on his game there.

He needs to get a coach to teach him the game so he can play at a faster pace. Robinson is a star and will be hitting hard in the NFL next season.

DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas

2022 Stats: 95 tackles, 4 sacks, 5 PBUs

Overshown has the best name in the draft, and he's got the best dress code for a linebacker. He is light for a linebacker (220 pounds), but he has the most upside. He needs to put on some weight because the quality of backs he will go against in the NFL will improve, and he might not be able to get those guys down.

But if he goes to the right team with the right offseason training program, and he can add about 10-15 pounds of muscle, you've got a striker with good football intelligence. The only issue is, he's coming from the Big 12. If you've seen Texas play the past few years, you know the Longhorns are horrible defensively. So he's got that going against him. He's going to have to learn to pick up the game and read from the box a little better. But Overshown has a lot of potential. He just needs to put on some good weight.

Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

2022 Stats: 71 tackles, 1 PBU, 3 forced fumbles, 1 sack

I believe Johnson will be the best rookie defensive back in the NFL next season. NFL ready? He's got the frame (6-foot-3), the size (200 pounds), and he played in the SEC. He's not afraid. If you watch his film, he played his best in the biggest games.

He shows up in the running game and can play centerfield. He is just a good football player at that level, which should drive Johnson into the first round. He is a Day 1 starter, and he will show his hard-hitting mentality right away.

Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn

2022 Stats: 92 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 INT, 2 PBUs

Pappoe is another big hitter coming out of the SEC, and he's got the pedigree of being a five-star high school recruit. Every school in the country wanted him from the time he was in ninth grade. He's small (6-1, 226) for a linebacker and looks like a defensive back-rover type, but he will strike you. He strikes hard from the waist down. Pappoe can run, too.

That's his thing: running and striking. When it comes to the NFL, he'll be a special teams guy at first, but you can make your mark on special teams. He looks like a guy who can blow up returners as a gunner on punts or on a kickoff coverage team.

Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

2022 Stats: 42 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 INTs, 7 passes defended

Ringo is about 6-2, 210 pounds, but he's a sprinter. He's run a 4.30-second 40-yard dash and was a track guy in high school. He came from Arizona to attend Georgia. He has the frame of a safety — a very big safety — but he can run and is strong. Georgia coach Kirby Smart has used him the right way, having him play on the boundary.

He strikes hard and is incredibly physical in run support. If he can't hold up at cornerback, it'll be easy for him to transition to safety because of his speed and size.

One comparison I see with Ringo is Richard Sherman, although Sherman wasn't as fast as Ringo. The way Ringo opens up his stride and his eye discipline remind me of Sherman a lot. If Ringo can get his footwork down and play a little lower, he will become more technically sound. But if not, he can move to safety and perform well.

WATCH: 3 Rushers Who Can Make Money at Senior Bowl