Despite the heavy number of HBCU football prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, only one of the 32 NFL teams saw fit to add them to their rosters.
Jackson State defensive back/kick returner Isaiah Bolden was the lone player from an HBCU picked in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was picked by the New England Patriots in the seventh round, 245th overall. It marked the second-consecutive year that Jackson State has had a player drafted.
This comes one year after four HBCU players were drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Fayetteville State cornerback Joshua Williams and South Carolina State cornerback Decobie Durant went in the fourth round. Jackson State linebacker James Houston in the sixth round and Southern University offensive tackle Ja’Tyre Carter was picked in the seventh round. All of which went on to have impressive seasons with the Fayetteville State alum Josh Williams winning a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 2023 HBCU NFL Draft Class comes two years after HBCUs struck out completely in the 2021 NFL Draft. That has happened nine times since the turn of the century.
Since the 2021 shutout of HBCUs, the NFL and others have taken initiatives to try to get more exposure for HBCU football prospects. These include the HBCU Combine and the HBCU Legacy Bowl.