Tulane’s failure to have a prospect selected in April ended a five-consecutive draft streak, but could a Green Wave flow over the 2023 NFL Draft? An early look at their prospects ahead of the college football season reveals a plethora of potential pros that could enter the NFL’s annual selection event with an impressive campaign this fall.
Tulane prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft
After the worst campaign of Willie Fritz’s tenure, it’s almost no surprise that Tulane failed to have a player drafted for the first time since 2016. However, with several key pieces returning for another year, there’s an expectation of improvement for the Green Wave this fall. If they can return to a bowl game, there’s every chance that some of the players listed below will have elevated their 2023 NFL Draft stock along the way.
Sincere Haynesworth, C
We’re not joking when we say that Sincere Haynesworth is more than just an incredible name. The 6’1″, 305-pound Tulane center is one of the top interior offensive linemen in the AAC. Where the low man wins in the tranches, Haynesworth’s size gives him a natural leverage advantage. Furthermore, he showcases excellent strength and a mauler’s mentality to routinely put his opponent into the dirt. However, he’s equal part brains and brawn, with the football IQ to be a visible leader and director on the offensive line.
Tyjae Spears, RB
When he’s healthy, there might not be a more explosive offensive player for Tulane than running back Tyjae Spears. Although his first two seasons were hampered, he’s never averaged less than six yards per carry in any of his three years with the program. He’s explosive and fast. However, Spears also has the ability to be physical, whether by lowing his shoulder to initiate contact or extending runs with impressive contact balance. Expect him to be the leading offensive weapon and a genuine 2023 NFL Draft prospect.
Michael Pratt, QB
While he might be considered under the radar in a deep 2023 NFL Draft quarterback class, Michael Pratt has the goods to earn consideration next April. Despite a down year for the program, he demonstrated improvement in terms of passing yards, completion percentage, and yards per attempt last year vs. his freshman campaign. The Tulane QB has decent arm strength with the ability to push the ball to the deep third with relative ease.
Meanwhile, Pratt is impressively accurate on short and intermediate passes. He has good creation capacity while showing he can stay strong in the face of pressure. The latter is something significant given that he’s been sacked 60 times during his first two seasons at Tulane. His resilience and competitive toughness are not in doubt. But, if the offensive line can keep him clean this fall, he may be able to demonstrate the full depth of his talent.
Dorian Williams, LB
If you’re looking for a sleeper linebacker in the 2023 NFL Draft, look no further than Dorian Williams. He was a productive monster last fall, tallying 73 tackles that included three for loss. The 6’2″, 225-pound linebacker prospect showcases impressive closing speed and isn’t short on sideline-to-sideline speed either. Displaying violence in his hands, he hits with ferocity. More than just a heavy hitter, however, Williams demonstrates impressive instincts and play recognition. He’s also a highly experienced special-teams weapon.
Nick Anderson, LB
If you want to get a true gauge of Nick Anderson’s impact on the Tulane defense, watch the games he missed through injury last season. The Green Wave unit was much worse without their leading linebacker, a player who still tallied 56 tackles, 9 1/2 for loss, four sacks, and a forced fumble last fall. While he might be considered undersized at 5’11” and 225 pounds, Anderson plays much bigger than his size as a solid, strong, and instinctual linebacker prospect who makes his living in the opposition backfield.
Larry Brooks, S
For a team that ranked 116th in the nation for points conceded last fall, Tulane has a surprisingly high number of secondary prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. One of those is strong safety Larry Brooks, who tallied 40 tackles and two pass breakups last season. Brooks isn’t the most imposing safety from a size perspective, but he’s much more physical than his 6’0″, 200-pound frame would suggest. The Green Wave safety flies to the football and isn’t afraid to initiate contact. Meanwhile, he possesses decent ball skills.
Macon Clark, S
Tulane returns a ton of production from last season, and there’s no one more productive than Macon Clark. The fifth-year senior tallied 73 tackles — including five for loss — last season while registering four interceptions. Clark is a genuine ball hawk who showcases impressive ball skills and good body control to make a play on the ball. He’s impressive mentally as well as physically, with multiple examples of good eye discipline. Clark can hustle on blitz plays and against the run to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Darius Hodges, EDGE
After a brief dalliance with the transfer portal, Darius Hodges returns to Tulane following an exceptional redshirt freshman campaign. Hodges tallied 16.5 tackles for loss last fall, with five sacks and two forced fumbles. He’s only a redshirt sophomore this year, so his declaration for the 2023 NFL Draft isn’t guaranteed. However, the 6’1″, 280-pound edge rusher plays with the power, speed, explosion, and block-shedding ability that could make him an alluring prospect should he decide to go pro at the end of the upcoming campaign.
Tyrick James, TE
Tulane’s top returning receiver from last season is highly experienced tight end Tyrick James. The 6’2″, 250-pound prospect has been a regular starter for the Green Wave for the past three seasons. He had something of a breakout last fall, snagging 429 receiving yards and four touchdowns. While he’ll need to show improvement as a blocker to elevate his 2023 NFL Draft stock, James has surprising movement skills for his size and ran a variety of routes for Tulane in 2021. He could be an under-the-radar prospect this season.
Joey Claybrook, OT
Despite attracting significant attention prior to the 2021 season, a disappointing campaign led Joey Claybrook to return for his sixth season with Tulane. He’s highly experienced, starting in each of the last four seasons with snaps at both right and left tackle. The 6’7″, 300-pound offensive tackle isn’t quite as athletic as you’d expect from someone with his slender frame. However, he displays proper technique and excellent footwork in pass protection. A bounce-back year should see him garner attention in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Adonis Friloux, DT
Adonis Friloux truly lives up to his name. The junior nose tackle puts up herculean numbers in the weight room and has started to throw his weight around on the football field for Tulane. At 6’1″ and 300 pounds, Friloux has a clear understanding of how to use his natural size advantage in the leverage battle. He also showcases violent hands and plays with exceptional hustle. He’s a potential breakout prospect ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Other potential Tulane 2023 NFL Draft prospects
- Duece Watts, WR
- Phat Watts, WR
- Jha’Quan Jackson, WR
- Lance Robinson, CB
- Cameron Carroll, RB
- Eric Hicks Jr., DT
- Caleb Thomas, G