NFL Draft 2023: Grades and reactions from one of the most exciting drafts

Bryce Young was selected number 1 in the NFL draft, but what about the other 200+ picks?

The NFL Draft is now behind us, leaving one of the biggest off-season events behind us. Rosters improved, trades were made, and there was a lot of exciting moves and picks that helped shape the future of the NFL as we know it. Today, I grade all 32 teams on how they drafted, and we see who made the best improvements in this years draft.

We’ll be going team by team, and analyze each and every one of them based off what fit needs, what was the best talent available, and who will help their team the best. This is all pretty early on, so these guys have a chance to become draft busts or draft steals. Let’s get into it.

New England Patriots: B+

The Patriots started out the draft with a bang by trading with the Steelers and getting CB Christian Gonzalez at 17 early. Gonzalez should provide some major secondary help, and the Patriots could use it especially with Aaron Rodgers entering the division. The Pats also continued to build up defense with Keion White and Marte Mapu in the second and third rounds. Both of these were decent picks, although neither really built up the offense. Their focus then went to the o line (outside of a kicker in round 4). The Pats certainly bolstered the defense, but the offense received little additional weapons which hampers their final grades.

Buffalo Bills: B

The Bills needed depth that could all become future pieces entering the draft. It’s pretty clear they got the pieces they needed. In the first round, they picked up TE Dalton Kincaid who should provide Josh Allen and the offense with another solid weapon for years. In round 2, they provided some extra help to the O-line with O’Cyrus Torrence. They didn’t really add to defense until round 3 with LB Dorian Williams. After that the Bills just continued to draft depth as needed where they needed it. The first few picks were great, but the Bills mostly ignored defensive depth which hurts their grade.

Miami Dolphins: B-

The Dolphins didn’t have many picks, so they made the most out of what they got. They picked CB Cam Smith in the second round, who should form a scary CB duo that could lock down some of the efficient offenses of the AFC. Devon Achane was the next draft pick, and he brings a lot to the offense. For a round 3 pick, he can be a high value prospect that can bring a lot of explosiveness to the offense. The Phins added Elijah Higgins, a WR/TE wild card who could be good or bad, and a solid OL in Ryan Hayes in the later rounds, which should bolster the offense even further.

New York Jets: B-

The Jets needed some upgrades on the lines entering the draft. They wanted Broderick Jones, but he wasn’t available when it was their turn. The Jets took a flyer on EDGE Will MacDonald IV, who could be a legit game changer, but also could be a reach at where he was taken, so we’ll have to see if he can live up to his potential. They used the next few picks on solid O-linemen to protect new QB Aaron Rodgers. In round 6, they took raw defensive players who could become solid rotational guys, although they might not make it to the roster. The Jets have talent from the draft, but it all feels pretty raw.

Baltimore Ravens: A-

The Ravens no longer needed to worry about QB Lamar Jackson when they were making their selections, but they definitely wanted to supply him with weapons to ensure he could turn the Ravens into a contender. First round pick Zay Flowers should help fit that role as early as week 1 for the Ravens. The majority of later picks (except for the very last one) were all solid defensive guys that should help the Ravens win some games, hopefully in the playoffs. Looking at Trenton Simpson and Tavius Robinson, I’m impressed by Baltimore’s additions on both sides of the ball.

Pittsburgh Steelers: A

The Steelers are trying to rebuild with a young roster. This draft will certainly provide some of those pieces. The trade up to get Broderick Jones was a great move to give their young QB some solid protection. Joey Porter Jr also fell to them in the second round, and he should lock down in the secondary. The rest of the picks all were great, some offense, mostly defense and the Steelers should look to try and compete in the AFC with these new players in the near future.

Cincinnati Bengals: B+

The Bengals had some shoring up to do with the draft, and it’s safe to say they did exactly what was asked of them, for the most part. They selected Myles Murphy and DJ Turner with the first 2 picks, who should be great defensive guys that’ll hopefully stifle the other teams in the AFC. Jordan Battle was a decent round 3 pick who may become a starting safety in the future. Beyond that, I wouldn’t imagine any of the picks become major contributors very soon. However most everyone could be a decent rotational player at some point during their rookie deals. Decent, but no crazy steals.

Cleveland Browns: B

The Browns had no picks until round 3, leaving them to scrape to find some true starters and high level talents. They may have found some gems in the rough however. WR Cedric Tillman may not have to wait long before becoming a consistent receiver for the Browns. The rest of the picks are solid depth, especially the O-line and Dorian Thompson-Robinson who is the developmental QB for now. All in all, it wasn’t a bad haul for Cleveland.

Tennessee Titans: B+

The Titans had some great early round value, which come in the form of Peter Skoronski and Will Levis. Skoronski is a great lineman who will protect whichever QB is playing. Levis slid pretty far in the draft, and the Titans, who were underwhelmed with Malik Willis’s performance, chose to take him in round 2. This will make the QB situation interesting in Tennessee, although it shows little commitment to Willis. Solid offensive depth was added, including a compliment to Derrick Henry in Tyjae Spears.

Houston Texans: A

The Texans may not have had the first overall pick in the draft, but they got everything they could’ve wanted in the top 3. With the second pick they got the extremely talented C. J Stroud as the QB of the future, and then they traded up for the third selection to get a defensive anchor in Will Anderson Jr. That alone is worth an A. The rest of the draft was full of solid additions to the lines and receiving core. Every pick makes the Texans a lot better, and I expect the rebuild to be over soon.

Jacksonville Jaguars: C+

With 10 selections in this draft, you may have expected a lot more out of the Jaguars. Anton Harrison isn’t a bad pick, and protecting Trevor Lawrence is never a bad idea. However many other picks felt like they were just adding bland depth at positions with some need. No pick truly stands out, and while a few may become decent starters, I can’t see anyone becoming stars of the future anytime soon.

Indianapolis Colts: A

The Colts were looking to turn a corner using this draft, and they certainly did. Anthony Richardson is incredibly talented and is hopefully able to be developed into a future franchise QB. Building defense and adding weapons were the next priorities for the team. They got some great 2nd round picks in CB Julias Brents and WR Josh Downs. After that, the standout is DT Adetomiwa Adebawore. He is a possible day 1 starter who can disrupt any opposing offense. Overall, great job by the Colts.

Kansas City Chiefs: B

The defending champs really didn’t need to add much besides pass rushers. They got a good one in Felix Anudike-Uzomah and added another WR to help out the core in Rasheed Rice. It feels like every position got a decent player who can contribute at some level this season. A lot of depth on both sides of the ball, and possible future stars were added. Overall not bad, but no crazy home run picks for Kansas City.

Los Angeles Chargers: B

The Chargers were all about adding great athletes on both sides of the ball in the draft, and all of their first 3 picks were amazing selections. Quentin Johnson is a great WR who should only help Justin Herbert. Tuli Tuipulotu and Daiyan Henley are great defensive players who can help a win now defense. After that, things get a bit rough. Another TCU receiver in Derius Davis was an odd selection, but he can only help the offense. Jordon McFadden can help the O-line, and all other picks could provide some helpful depth. Reaching for Davis was a poor move, and Max Duggan is a waste of a Chargers pick, but everything else was pretty good.

Las Vegas Raiders: B+

The Raiders had a great selection in Tyree Wilson who can help the D Line bring pressure, and Michael Mayer who is a scary good pass catching threat, but the rest of the draft is full of mediocre depth picks at best. Wilson and Mayer are huge difference makers who can change the Raiders fortunes now, and in the future as well. Aiden O’Connell is possibly the future starter, and the rest of the draft featured some okay additions. Jakorian Bennett should help out the secondary and fill a position of need. It’s pretty safe to say the Raiders did a decent job in this draft.

Denver Broncos: B

Without early round selections, building around Russ was going to be a tough task for the Broncos. Despite this, they managed to get some decent pieces in the draft. Marvin Mims Jr should be an intriguing WR who could be a top option on the team very soon. LB Drew Sanders is a good addition to the team’s defensive core. CB Riley Moss and S JL Skinner are potential starters in the secondary who could provide some nice compliments on the defensive side of the ball. However the lack of added offensive picks is interesting, as it was expected the Broncos would be building offense around Russ.

Dallas Cowboys: B+

The early rounds were all about filling holes on the roster for the Cowboys, and they got their guys in DT Mazi Smith and TE Luke Scoonmaker. Both should provide some great help to the Cowboys almost instantly once the season starts. DeMarvion Overshown should help Micah Parsons in the LB core. The Cowboys continued to bolster the defense throughout the rest of the draft, which should only help them out in their playoff goals. Filling needs was the goal, and they met it well.

Philadelphia Eagles: A

The Eagles may have lost the Super Bowl, but that didn’t stop Howie Roseman from strengthening the defense via the draft extremely well. Trading up to get Jalen Carter was one of the best moves the Eagles could’ve made. Carter may have some lingering questions about his character, but his football talent is almost unmatched. Nolan Smith at the end of the first round was another great Georgia linemen who should have chemistry with Carter, as well as last season’s picks Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean and help the Eagles get to the quarterback. G Tyler Steen should help protect Hurts, and the next pick they helped out the secondary with another Georgia Bulldog, Kelee Ringo. Don’t forget the trade for De’Andre Swift. Can’t get much better than that.

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New York Giants: A-

The Giants managed to draft extremely well and fit needs all over the place this time around. Deonte Banks is a good corner, and the Giants were wise to trade up to select him. Jean Michael Schmitz is a solid center who could protect Daniel Jones as Jones enters his prime. More offense was added as the draft continued, which is a good decision. The WR core gets a solid addition in Jalin Hyatt, and Saquon Barkley gets a backup who could be pretty good in Eric Gray. The last few picks are rotational defense players for a few years, although each one has the potential to become a starter. Not bad Big Blue.

Washington Commanders: B

Washington solidified the secondary with the first 2 picks of the draft, which fills a huge need. The defense should be well-rounded if everyone (especially Chase Young) can stay healthy. Building up the lines was the next order of business with Ricky Stromberg and Braeden Daniels solidifying the O-line and KJ henry on the edge of the D-line. Needs were easily filled, although the offense is still lacking some firepower that would be the ultimate icing on the cake. The Commanders improved, but reached on some of their picks, like selecting Jartavius Martin instead of a wide out. Not horrible, but not great.

Minnesota Vikings: A-

The Vikings had some work to do entering the draft, with quite a few weak points on the roster. Pairing Justin Jefferson with Jordan Addison forms a truly dangerous combo. The DB core got upgraded with the next few picks, which should help replace Patrick Peterson, before the last few picks were used on projects in QB Jarin Hall and RB DeWayne McBride. Overall, there was a lot of upgrading and replenishing this time around, and you can’t get much better than that.

Green Bay Packers: B+

The first round pick wasn’t necessarily about filling a huge need for Green Bay, as they added EDGE Lukas Van Ness to the D-Line. Jordan Love got some additional weapons as the draft progressed however. Luke Musgrave should be a strong TE and speedster Jayden Reed can only help out the WR core. With Rodgers gone, this is Love’s team and they certainly wanted to provide him with the ability to get better. With so many picks, they filled in holes on the roster all about, but there were some interesting oddball selections like Sean Clifford who is presumably the backup option at QB. With tons of picks, the Pack improved, but not as much as they may like.

Detroit Lions: C+

Brad Holmes does not care at all about mock drafts or getting the best talent available to fit what looks to be needs. They traded out of a top 10 selections and chose to get Jahmyr Gibbs as a versatile RB to bolster the offense. Many thought this was a reach as RB’s don’t tend to get taken so highly. Jack Campbell was the next first round selection, and he could be an elite LB in the near future. Other interesting picks include QB Hendon Hooker, the new heir to Goff, TE Sam LaPorta as the replacement for T. J Hockenson, and DB Brian Branch. The Lions improved, but it’s hard to defend where they picked many of these players.

Chicago Bears: B+

The Bears had plenty of picks this draft after trading away the first overall pick. They added some line pieces in the early rounds, which fits team needs, and built up a lackluster defense as the draft progressed. Everything fell into place, as every pick helps a need. Nothing terribly special was done here, but the Bears only continued to accelerate the rebuild by gathering some top talent this year.

Atlanta Falcons: A-

Getting Bijan Robinson was a best case scenario for the Falcons. He provides versatility to an offense that hasn’t had a true starting RB for a few years. Matt Bergeron can protect Desmond Ridder or Taylor Heinicke as early as week 1, which is some great value. Zach Harrison can be a possible anchor for the D-Line. Building defense through the rest of the draft was important to Atlanta, as they are clearly confident in the offense. They did pretty much everything right here, but they still have a hole at WR.

New Orleans Saints: B

The Saints didn’t go for a QB of the future this draft, instead focusing on building the defense with their first 2 picks (Bryan Bresee and Isiah Foskey) and getting a complimentary RB to Alvin Kamara with Kendre Miller. Not a bad haul, but certainly interesting that they didn’t add to the offense until later in the draft. That may prove to be a mistake if Chris Olave, Kamara, and Michael Thomas can’t carry this offense, especially noting that MT struggles to stay healthy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A

The Bucs drafted well, filling in needs with great talent. Calijah Cancey fits extremely well on the D-Line, and he can be a legit force. Cody Mauch is a solid guard, and YaYa Diaby can also become a starter on the D-Line as an EDGE. The LB core was added to, and so was the receiving core in the form of a TE and late round WR. Secondary also has a decent depth piece in Josh Hayes. Can’t do much better than this.

Carolina Panthers: B+

The first overall pick gave the Panthers a legit franchise QB for the first time since Cam Newton. Kinda hard to screw that up. They also managed to get him a WR in Jonathan Mingo who can possibly fill the gap left by D. J Moore. Filling in a few positions of need along the lines, the Panthers didn’t do too much outside of pick Bryce Young. It’d be nice if they could’ve had more picks, but it’s hard to argue with their selections.

Arizona Cardinals: A-

The Cardinals traded with the Lions to get a top 10 pick, and got a solid O-Lineman in Paris Johnson jr. He should protect Kyler Murray very well down the stretch when Murray returns. Building up the defense was a clear theme throughout the draft, as they took good available talent whenever they could to solidify the defense. All picks on the offense but Clayton Tune could become starters within the next year. Can’t really hate what Arizona did this draft. (But you are always allowed to hate their uniforms.)

Los Angeles Rams: B+

The Rams were able to get some future anchors along both lines, and get the QB of the future in Stetson Bennett with the first 4 picks. It’s hard to hate anything the Rams did, as all the picks they made were solid. They traded around on day 2 to provide them some extra picks allowing them to upgrade the defense and TE position further. If they want to avoid a rebuild, this is a good way to do it.

San Francisco 49ers: B-

The Niners started their draft by making some interesting picks. They got a solid safety in Ji’ayir Brown and selected kicker Jake Moody pretty high as well. They wanted to add another TE by getting Cameron Latu as well. Late in the draft, they got a decent weapon in Ronnie Bell to add to the WR core. Overall what they did wasn’t bad considering their lack of early picks, but there really isn’t a home run selection that elevates this team right now, but maybe in the future.

Seattle Seahawks: A-

The Seahawks hit on both their first round picks. Devon Witherspoon was one of the best corners in the draft, and he can be a true lockdown for Seattle. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a weapon that can quickly develop and fit into the offense. There shouldn’t be any doubt that round 1 was near perfect for Seattle. The rest of the draft featured several solid rotational or better lineman. The only questionable move was doubling up on RB’s despite already having Kenneth Walker. Not bad for Seattle.

That’s the early grades for all 32 teams! These can easily change as time goes on, but this is how I feel about them now. How do you think your team did? Let us know!

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