NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft: Ranking Top 3 Ballhawks in This Year’s Class

The 2023 NFL Draft will be full of defensive backs with the potential to transform an NFL defense by creating turnovers. Here are the top three prospects most likely to become game-changing NFL ballhawks.

Top Ballhawks in 2023 NFL Draft

  3. Jordan Battle

Alabama safeties typically aren’t known as ballhawks or make a lot of interceptions because coach Nick Saban utilizes them as running-game enforcers or passing-game defenders who play over the top.

When you look at Minkah Fitzpatrick, Landon Collins, HaHa Clinton-Dix and Eddie Jackson, you’ll see guys who didn’t have tremendous stats for the Crimson Tide, but once they got into the NFL, they were ballhawks. I see the same thing with Jordan Battle (scouting report).

He doesn’t have stats that jump off the page — only six interceptions in four seasons — but he can play. He knows how to break on the ball, and he can pat and read. It’s just about the opportunity for him to show his ball-hawking ability and versatility to an NFL team. He might not be an early-round selection, but Battle’s talent warrants a place on this list. 

>>READ: The 33rd Team’s 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

  2. Christian Gonzalez

Christian Gonzalez (scouting report) probably will be the top defensive back selected in the draft this year. Gonzalez has the kind of ball skills you don’t see often. He wasn’t challenged a lot at Oregon, but when he was challenged, we saw him catch the ball like how you’re taught to catch it.

He made four interceptions this past season, and when you view his highlights, you can see Gonzalez is a natural ballhawk. He’s ready to play in the NFL right away.

  1. Emmanuel Forbes

Emmanuel Forbes (scouting report) is an excellent ballhawk, and his profile speaks for itself. He had five interceptions in his freshman year, three more as a sophomore and he added another six more his junior year. 

The thing that stands out with Forbes, even more than the interceptions, is what he does with them. He returned six of them for touchdowns, three each during his freshman and junior seasons. You don’t see that often.

His size — angular, tall and skinny — is solid, but his arm length is elite. He makes plays on balls that become interceptions when most guys would have to try and knock the ball down. That’s what separates Forbes. Hopefully, he goes in the first round, but he is definitely the No. 1 ballhawk coming into the 2023 NFL Draft.

Samari Rolle is a former NFL defensive back who played for the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens and was a part of the Titans Super Bowl XXXIV team. He was named an All-Pro in 2000 and also was voted to the Pro Bowl that season.

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