NFL

2023 NFL Draft Grades

May 1, 2023

In today’s instant gratification, TikTok-addled world, who has time to actually see rookies take the field before grading them? Like many NFL fans, I certainly don’t, so here are my team-by-team grades for the 2023 NFL Draft.

NFC South

Carolina Panthers: A-

Traded a haul to get their franchise quarterback in Bryce Young at No. 1 overall. Didn’t have many other picks, but this draft could be an A+ anyway if Young pans out. If the undersized signal-caller busts, the draft is an unmitigated failure and will set the franchise back for several seasons.

Atlanta Falcons: B+

Using a top-10 pick on elite running back prospect Bijan Robinson actually makes some sense for a team as run-heavy as Atlanta, and the Falcons traded up for guard Matthew Bergeron in the second round to further bolster an underrated offensive line.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B+

The Bucs used their first three picks on defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, guard Cody Mauch and edge YaYa Diaby. Clearly, the focus of their rebuild is on the trenches, and that’s usually a smart play.

New Orleans Saints: B-

This draft would look a lot stronger for the Saints if they hadn’t traded what turned out to be pick No. 10 in 2023 along with No. 18 in 2022, plus other picks, for Philadelphia’s No. 16 and 19 selections last year. Nevertheless, the team was still able to bolster their pass rush with their early picks of defensive tackle Bryan Bresee and edge Isaiah Foskey.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles: A+

After using first- and third-round picks on members of Georgia’s defense last year, Philadelphia continued to recreate the Bulldogs historically strong college defense by adding Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter (ninth overall), edge Nolan Smith (30th overall) and cornerback Kelee Ringo (105th overall). They also got D’Andre Swift on the cheap via trade thanks to another one of Detroit’s dubious decisions during the draft. Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, the Eagles may have emerged as the odds-on favorites to start the 2023 campaign.

Washington Commanders: C-

Reached for Emmanuel Forbes at No. 16 with fellow corner Christian Gonzalez still on the board. The Commanders also didn’t do much to bolster last year’s bottom-10 offense.

New York Giants: A

Addressed needs at cornerback (Deonte Banks) and center (John Michael Schmitz) in the first two rounds, and Biletnikoff Award (best NCAA WR) winner Jalin Hyatt was a steal in Round 3. The Giants are in a strong position to build on their surprise 2022 postseason appearance.

Dallas Cowboys: B+

Filled needs at defensive tackle (Mazi Smith), tight end (Luke Schoonmaker) and linebacker (DeMarvion Overshown) in the early rounds without reaching.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks: A+

Used picks No. 5 and 20 to take the first cornerback (Devon Witherspoon) and first wide receiver (Jaxon Smith-Njigba) off the board. This won’t be a Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson-level haul, but Seattle could easily have the best non-QB first-round in this draft. The Seahawks had eight additional selections — two of which came inside the top 52 — to bolster the depth of their roster.

Arizona Cardinals: A-

The Cardinals showed some smarts by trading down from pick No. 3 to 12, picking up a 2024 first-rounder for their trouble. They then jumped back up to select offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. at No. 6 overall, likely the player they would have taken had they stayed put at their original slot. The rest of the draft was solid, so Arizona’s rebuild is off to a promising start.

Los Angeles Rams: C+

Tried to make up for lack of quality with quantity, as the Rams had no first-round pick but ended up drafting 14 players after trading back a few times. Winning a Super Bowl with Matthew Stafford is worth a few subpar draft hauls.

San Francisco 49ers: D

Didn’t pick until No. 87 overall and used a top 100 pick on a kicker. Luckily, this roster is still loaded.

NFC North

Detroit Lions: D+

There’s no A, B or C in Detroit for a reason. The Lions wasted a draft in which they had tremendous capital by drafting a pair of major reaches (running back Jahmyr Gibbs and off-ball linebacker Jack Campbell) in the first round, then picking up Sam LaPorta 34th overall when a far better tight end prospect in Michael Mayer went with the very next pick. They saved face on Day 2 by selecting safety Brian Branch and quarterback Hendon Hooker, both of whom had some first-round buzz at certain points in the pre-draft process.

Chicago Bears: B-

Chicago could regret trading back and passing on the quarterbacks in this draft if Justin Fields doesn’t learn how to pass with some consistency this season. The Bears got a bevy of bodies with 10 selections in all, which is good for a team that had plenty of holes to fill, but Chicago likely won’t come away with any stars. That’s disappointing for a team that started with the first overall pick.

Green Bay Packers: B-

Traded up two spots in the Aaron Rodgers deal just to grab a guy who probably would have been available at their original pick (edge Lukas Van Ness) while once again eschewing the opportunity to give their new starting quarterback Jordan Love a weapon in the first round. At least they got a couple talented pass catchers on Day 2, highlighted by tight end Luke Musgrave and wide receiver Jayden Reed.

Minnesota Vikings: C-

Finished off a run of four consecutive wide receivers with a 175-pound guy who barely ran a sub-4.5 40 in receiver Jordan Addison, at No. 23 overall. That was Minnesota’s only pick in the top 100.

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AFC South

Houston Texans: A

Houston may have come away with franchise-altering players on both offense and defense in quarterback C.J. Stroud and edge Will Anderson. It’ll be without a first-round pick next year, but getting the No. 2 and 3 picks should be worth it.

Indianapolis Colts: B+

Like the other teams that took quarterbacks early, this grade will ultimately depend on how Anthony Richardson pans out. The fourth overall pick has an immense ceiling, but he’s also rawer than players typically drafted this early. Indianapolis ended up picking 12 players after trading down a couple times in Round 2.

Tennessee Titans: A

Got a top-end O-line prospect in Peter Skoronski at No. 11 and wisely traded up when quarterback Will Levis – whom many had pegged as a top 10 pick – dropped to the second round.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B

Recouped additional draft capital while bolstering the offensive line late in Round 1 with the selection of tackle Anton Harrison. Made some puzzling Day 2 picks but ended up drafting 13 players overall, so the Jags could find some starters due to the sheer amount of new players.

AFC East

New York Jets: B

First-round pick Will McDonald will likely be limited to a part-time pass rushing role, but second-round pick Joe Tippmann could start right away on the offensive line. The Jets also added numerous intriguing fliers on Day 3.

New England Patriots: A-

Cornerback Christian Gonzalez was expected to go well before the Patriots snagged him at No. 17 after trading back. The Patriots also added plenty of immediate special teams contributors among their 12 selections, but this grade would have been an A if New England addressed its need at wide receiver before Round 6.

Buffalo Bills: B+

Traded up a couple spots to get their pick of tight ends in a deep draft at the position and went with Dalton Kincaid, then added a few promising prospects, including guard O’Cyrus Torrence and wide receiver Justin Shorter — both out of Florida.

Miami Dolphins: F

F is for forfeit, which is what Miami did with its first-round pick due to tampering with Tom Brady, whom they didn’t even end up signing. Miami also traded a couple picks in the Tyreek Hill deal last year and made just four selections in this draft.

AFC West

Las Vegas Raiders: A-

Got consensus top-two prospects at their respective positions edge Tyree Wilson and tight end Michael Mayer at picks seven and 35, then had three more selections in the first 104.

Los Angeles Chargers: B

This draft will hinge on how TCU wideouts Quentin Johnston (first round) and Derius Davis (fourth round) perform, and the Chargers added TCU QB Max Duggan for good measure in Round 7.

Kansas City Chiefs: B

Took local pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah in the first round. Second-round wide recever Rashee Rice has the potential to hit the ground running with Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball.

Denver Broncos: C

Didn’t pick until 63rd overall after trading their top two picks this year for Russell Wilson. At least the Broncos got Wilson another weapon with that 63rd pick in wide receiver Marvin Mims.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers: A

Leapfrogged the Jets to grab the last high-end offensive tackle before a substantial dropoff at the position (Georgia’s Broderick Jones), then proceeded to add son of former Steeler Joey Porter Jr. at the top of the second round to bolster their secondary. The Steelers topped it all off with great value on Georgia tight end Darnell Washington late in the third round.

Baltimore Ravens: B

Grabbed another weapon for Lamar Jackson in the first-round with wide receiver Zay Flowers, but didn’t have much additional draft capital after trading their second-round pick for Roquan Smith last season.

Cincinnati Bengals: B+

Filled roster needs with a draft that wasn’t flashy but could prove to be pretty effective for a team that picked late in every round. They’re loaded for another Super Bowl run.

Cleveland Browns: C

Tough to have a great draft when you’ve traded away your first two picks, but the Browns got some promising prospects in the third round and onward. They added along both trenches, which was a need entering the draft.

Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha Yodashkin has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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