The 2023 NFL Draft player pool is saturated with talented HBCU prospects destined to be drafted by multiple teams in hopes of continuing to pursue their career dreams.
One year after HBCU Football produced four select players, here they are HBCU Legends Top 10 NFL Draft by HBCU Legends prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft cycle.
1.T Mark Evans III, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
Evans has been a highly touted lineman prospect out of UAPB for two years and is set to be HBCU’s first non-draft player. The four-time first-team All-SWAC standout accepted an invite to the East-West Shrine Game and features a decorated college career consisting of just five sacks allowed in nearly 1,900 snaps.
Phill Steele’s FCS Offensive Lineman of the Year projects much better as a next-level interior lineman, but he has the tools to be an NFL impact starter sooner rather than later.
2.TE Kemari Averett, Bethune-Cookman
At 6’6″, 260 pounds, Averett presents the prototype crazy tight end physique that NFL teams dream of having in their respective offenses. Despite having a down senior season due to BCU inconsistencies, he was selected for the NFL Collegiate PA Bowl, earned first-team ALL-SWAC honors, and was a BOXTOROW HBCU first-team All-American last year.
With his incredible combination of size and speed, Averett is just a solid pre-draft stray from being a top-end midrange pick.
3. WR Shaquan Davis, South Carolina State
Davis had career-highs in receptions (44), receiving yards (944) and receiving touchdowns (11) to cap off a junior flag season that saw him finish with First Team All-MEAC Honors and a First Team BOXTOROW HBCU All-American selection. .
At 6’5″, 215 pounds, he’s a vertical threat who presents great jumping ability as a potential red zone target. In a receiving class that’s somewhat watered down compared to years past, Davis has an opportunity to continue to rise. on NFL draft boards in the coming months with strong showings in Las Vegas and Indy.
4. WR Jadakis Bonds, Hampton
With his 6-foot-4 frame, Bonds became a target for the Pirates during red zone situations and vertical shots down the field last year. During Hampton’s first season in the lauded CAA, Jadakis was a first-team all-conference selection who posted a 76.1 PFF receiving rating on 90 passing targets.
His strong production as a member of the second-best football conference in FCS earned the senior an invite to the Shrine Bowl and further cemented his rising NFL draft status.
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5.LB Isaiah Land, Florida A&M
The 2021 Buck Buchanan Award winner had something of a final offseason with the Rattlers, but was still able to collect seven sacks and 34 total pressings to finish with first-team All-SWAC honors. There are questions about his ideal fit at the NFL level and whether he’s better serving as an off-ball pass rusher or a traditional on-ball pass rusher.
Fortunately for Land, he can answer all of these questions in the Senior Bowl against the main competition. If he does, his current draft stock has an excellent chance of projecting up.
6. LB Aubrey Miller Jr., Jackson State
Miller needed another phenomenal senior season to magnify his draft potential, and he did it with a SWAC Defensive Player of the Year Campaign. The physical sponsor posted a defensive rating of 84.4 PFF that featured 117 tackles, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries under the best FCS defensive unit since 2022.
His performance earned him a Senior Bowl Invitation and another chance to show he can be an all-around linebacker at the professional level.
7. G Robert Mitchell, North Carolina Center
Mitchell allowed just eight total pressures and surrendered zero sacks in 741 snaps to secure an 87.7 pass-blocking rating during his final season with the HBCU National Champion North Carolina Central Eagles.
The senior was considered one of the best interior linemen in HBCU Football this year and seemed poised to emerge as a hidden gem in the draft for any NFL team’s scouting department.
8. WR Xavier Smith, Florida A&M
A terrific season-opening performance against the University of North Carolina that saw him hook all 10 of his goals for 78 yards capped off a decorated season for Xavier Smith. The “X-Man” was HBCU’s highest-rated wide receiver at 89.1 and received an invite from the HBCU Legacy Bowl for its signature 2022 season.
Despite his miniature 5’10” frame, Smith is a reliable weapon who can do NFL-level damage as a limit and slot receiver due to his blistering speed and route running capabilities.
9. CB Keenan Isaac, State of Alabama
In a secondary of talented Hornets that consisted of emotional leader Irshaad Davis and FCS All-American freshman Adrian Maddox, Keenan Issac had the second-highest coverage rating on the team, according to PFF, at 78.1.
The tall, long, physical presence of the 6’3″ Issac has attracted NFL scouts enough to invite him to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. If he performs well there, Issac becomes a realistic play in the last round for an NFL program with secondary needs.
10. DL Jason Dumas, South
Dumas didn’t have the ideal farewell season he wanted when he transferred from Prairie View A&M University to Southern last year, but he has enough college tape across the board to earn an ideal NFL team look.
The last person with his measurables to do any real damage in the league is future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald, who Dumas models his game after. If he’s healthy enough during the pre-draft process to do damage, there’s a chance the former HBCU All-American could be a valuable gem for an NFL team.