Making The Grade – 2023 NFL Draft First Round Grades


NFL teams have drafted their future stats and will now embark on a new journey this season. Not every first round pick is created equal though, see where the top 32 picks in this years draft grade out.


Round 1, Pick 1:  Carolina Panthers (via CHI)

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The Carolina Panthers get their franchise quarterback. His size is a concern but he has the intangibles to be a long term starter. Grade: A


Round 1, Pick 2: Houston Texans
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

The Houston Texans grab their new franchise quarterback. Poised, accurate and a quiet leader, Stroud makes the most sense here at the second pick overall. Grade: A


Round 1, Pick 3: Houston Texans (via AZ)
Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama

Houston makes a big splash and take their new captain on defense. Back-to-back franchise changing picks for Houston gives them a bright future. Grade: A+


Round 1, Pick 4: Indianapolis Colts
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Indianapolis takes a flier on a project quarterback with elite measurables. The upside is there but he has a lot of question marks. Grade: B-


Round 1, Pick 5: Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)
Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Wow. The Seahawks start their reformation of the Legion of Boom 2.0. Witherspoon is a smooth corner with great ball skills. Just feel like there was a bigger need at Edge rusher there. Grade: B+


Round 1, Pick 6: Arizona Cardinals (via LAR/DET)
Paris Johnson Jr., Tackle, Ohio State

Big move here for the Cardinals. Johnson is a massive man with great athleticism. Protecting Kyler Murray is a priority and they are getting a beast for the next decade to do it. They also picked up a first and a third round in 2024 from the trade with Houston. Grade: A+


Round 1, Pick 7:   Las Vegas Raiders
Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech

The Raiders needed a tackle more than they needed an edge rusher. Wilson is going to be great but Dawand Jones and Peter Skoronski were right there. Grade: B-


Round 1, Pick 8: Atlanta Falcons 
Bijan Robinson, HB, Texas

Major reach here. Arthur Smith needed a running back but there are comparable players that would’ve been available later. Grade: C+


Round 1, Pick 9: Philadelphia Eagles (via CAR/CHI)
Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

Welcome to Jerome Brown and Reggie White reborn! Carter is the best defensive player in the draft. Pairing him with Jordan Davis is going to be scary. Grade: A+


Round 1, Pick 10: Chicago Bears (via NO/PHI)
Darnell Wright, Tackle, Tennessee

Bears needed a tackle but they reached here for Wright. He is a monster of a player but there were better options on the board. Grade: C


Round 1, Pick 11: Tennessee Titans
Peter Skoronski, Tackle, Northwestern

The Titans get their left tackle. The Titans needed a lot of help on offense, and a tackle and receiver were the top needs. Skoronski is an instant starter with great upside. Grade: A


Round 1, Pick 12: Detroit Lions (via CLE/HOU)
Jahmyr Gibbs, HB, Alabama

Confusing pick after signing David Montgomery in free agency. They needed defensive back help and instead took a speed back. Confusing pick here for the Lions when they have two backs on the roster already. Grade: C


Round 1, Pick 13: Green Bay Packers (via NYJ)
Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa

The Packers get a sure fire difference maker in Van Ness. That defense needed help and they get it here. Grade: A


Round 1, Pick 14: Pittsburgh Steelers (via NE)
Broderick Jones, Tackle, Georgia

Pittsburgh makes a concerted effort to protect their young asset Kenny Pickett. Jones is a monster of man at tackle and plugs in as a day one blindside protector. Grade: A-


Round 1, Pick 15: New York Jets (via GB)
Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State

Some may consider this a reach but this was a great move for the Jets. McDonald IV comes in with a skill-set that will allow him to play inside or outside, a true Robert Saleh guy. Grade: B+


Round 1, Pick 16: Washington Commanders
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State

Forbes is a little lighter than you may want but he is a turnover machine. He had six pick-sixes at Mississippi State, and now brings that playmaking to the Commanders. Grade: A


Round 1, Pick 17: New England Patriots (via PIT)
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Bill Belichick gets a man-to-man cover corner with high character. Gonzalez will instantly make an impact as an outside coverage guy and has the skill-set to play all over the backend. Great pick here to get second best corner in the draft. Grade: A+


Round 1, Pick 18: Detroit Lions
Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

Campbell is an athletic, rangy linebacker with a great nose for the ball. The Lions needed defensive back help but chose to go for a linebacker. Questionable pick here. Grade: D


Round 1, Pick 19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Calijah Kancey, Edge, Pittsburgh

Defensive player with good versatility. Plays bigger than his weight and has violent point of attack power. The Bucs needed bodies in that front seven and they get a good one here. Grade: B-


Round 1, Pick 20:  Seattle Seahawks
Jaxson Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

This guy is lightening in a bottle. Smith-Njigba is a polished route runner with amazing hands and YAC ability. He now joins a receiver room with Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, he should produce early on. Grade: A


Round 1, Round 21: L.A. Chargers
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Johnston is a height/weight/speed specimen. Keenan Allen is getting older and the Chargers needed a threat next to Mike Williams. Good pick that can develop into a monster for L.A. Grade: B+


Round 1, Pick 22: Baltimore Ravens
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

The Ravens add to an already dangerous receiving corps after adding Odell Beckham Jr. in the offseason. Zay Flowers is HIM, and he will be able to shine early for Lamar Jackson. Grade: A+


Round 1, Pick 23: Minnesota Vikings
Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Maybe the most complete receiver in the draft, Jordan Addison fills the void left by Adam Thielen. He and Justin Jefferson will be a great duo for years. Grade: A+


Round 1, Pick 24: New York Giants (via JAC)
Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

The Giants get a physical corner with great intangibles. They needed a dawg outside and they get one. Grade: A-


Round 1, Pick 25: Buffalo Bills (via NYG/JAC)
Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

Kincaid walks into a locker room that has a plethora of weapons. He now adds another threat to Josh Allen’s arsenal. The Bills get a versatile chess piece to move around one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. Grade: B+


Round 1, Pick 26: Dallas Cowboys
Mazi Smith, DL, Michigan

Dallas needed defensive help but there were better options on the board. Smith has the potential to be a Pro Bowl caliber defensive lineman but there was better value on the board. Grade C-


Round 1, Pick 27: Jacksonville Jaguars (via BUF)
Anton Harrison, Tackle, Oklahoma

The Jaguars tighten up the offensive line with a big athletic body in Harrison. He is plug-and-play tackle who will be a fixture as Trevor Lawrence’s protector for years to come. Grade: A


Round 1, Pick 28: Cincinnati Bengals
Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson

The Bengals add to their defensive front with a versatile pass rusher in Murphy. He can play anywhere you put him along the line, good pickup. Grade: B-


Round 1, Pick 29: New Orleans (via SF/MIA)

Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson

A pick after his teammate is picked Bresee has his name called. He is an interior pass rusher with great bend and agility. He now joins a hood group and defensive lineman that he gets to learn from. Grade: A


Round 1, Pick 30: Philadelphia Eagles

Nolan Smith, LB, Georgia

The Eagles get Jalen Carter and now his teammate Nolan Smith at the 30th pick overall. Philadelphia had a dominant stable of players and now add another monster off the edge. Grade: A

Round 1, Pick 31: Kansas City Chiefs
Felix Anidukie-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State

The Chiefs fill a need here. They needed depth along the line and they went to their backyard to get it. They get a highly productive player with a high upside to add to an already stout defensive front. Grade: A

Day 1 is in the books and we have two more days of draft madness to go.

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