2023 NFL Draft: All 31 first-round picks ranked as Eagles, Steelers awarded upside trades; The Seahawks surprise

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft certainly had its moments, with three quarterbacks taken in the first four spots and each major conference having a player selected for the first time in the common draft era (1967). Three teams traded picks in the top 10 of the draft, making the first round even more exciting as talented players continued to remain on the draft board.

At the end of the night, many teams were happy with how the draft went. How will these choices be translated into field production? Did these teams pick the right value?

Each of the 31 first-round picks has value, but which ones were the best in Round 1? This ranking includes not only the player, but also the team the player will go to along with where he was drafted in that round.

The Eagles got one of the best players in the draft, moving up just one spot to select Carter (and giving up their 2024 fourth-round pick to do so). Carter immediately starts a defensive line with Haasson Reddick, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Josh Sweet and Brandon Graham. He will be an instant player in Philadelphia.

Richardson is definitely a project, but there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Colts are in good shape and that he will be a great quarterback. Shane Steichen is responsible for making Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurt two of the best guards in the game. While it will take some time, there is good reason to believe Richardson is in a great spot.

Does anyone remember how well the Falcons ran the ball last season? Atlanta ranked third in the NFL in rushing yards per game (159.9) and second in field goal percentage (55.3%). The Falcons added Robinson to an already run-heavy offense that is already great in run blocking. Robinson could have a huge first season in Atlanta.

Young was the top quarterback in the draft and has a head coach who knows how to develop young quarterbacks in Frank Reich. Working with Reich and Josh McCown as the quarterbacks coach will do wonders for Young, who plays significantly bigger than his height (5-foot-10). If DJ Chark and Adam Thielen can throw, it will help Young thrive in Carolina, a team that can compete in the NFC South with its talent.

The Giants’ defense focuses primarily on cornerback, especially since New York had the highest player coverage (41%) and blitz rate (44%) in 2022. Banks fits what Wink Martindale wants to do in coverage and will start immediately on the unit. . The Giants traded up and made sure they got a cornerback, especially when all the first downs were out of bounds.

The Texans had just 39 sacks last season, yet added arguably the best pass rusher in this draft class in DeMeco Ryan. Anderson not only has the most sacks, tackles for losses, pressures and quarterback sacks in the FBS over the past three seasons, but he also plays great defense (which the Texans desperately needed as they were rushed for 1,418 yards last season). Anderson is considered a wrecking ball in the Texans’ improved defense.

7. Paris Johnson (Cardinals, OT, No. 6)

The Cardinals finally listened to their pitch and got the Kyler Murray they wanted in Johnson, who immediately improves their offensive line by adding him at one of the quarterback spots on Day 1. Could Johnson challenge Kelvin Beachum for the right tackle spot? Absolutely, but the left side of the offensive line will be great with Johnson next to DJ Humphries.

8. Jason Smith-Njigba (Seahawks, WR, No. 20)

The first wide receiver taken in the draft, the Seahawks took the top wide receiver with the No. 20 pick. Smith-Njigba fits perfectly in the slot and will be able to play alongside DK Metcalfe and Tyler Lockett in the coming seasons. . He should be productive immediately in Shane Waldron’s offense.

New England should run the tables as Gonzalez fell to them at No. 17, especially considering how well Bill Belichick has developed cornerbacks. While Gonzalez needs work in zone coverage, he is an excellent tackler and a perfect fit for the Patriots when they cover him. Gonzalez and Jonathan Jones could be very dangerous together.

Witherspoon is arguably the best cornerback in the draft, an excellent defender in man coverage. The Seahawks drafted one of the best rookie corners last season in Tariq Vullen and now pair him with another elite coverage player in Witherspoon. Witherspoon allowed the fewest yards per attempt (3.0) last season as a starting quarterback, making the Seahawks secondary one of the best young units in the NFL.

The Steelers land a left tackle to lock down Kenny Pickett, something they’ve been looking for all offseason. Jones’ raw power is intriguing, as his athleticism can make him a dominant play in the NFL. Jones should fit in very well in Pittsburgh.

12. Nolan Smith (Eagles, EDGE, No. 30)

The rich get richer in Philadelphia, as Smith somehow dropped to 30, adding top-15 talent to a defensive line that finished with 70 sacks last season. Although Smith needs to work on his pass-welding strategy off the line, he can thrive in a Hasson Reddick-type role. He has to learn from Redick himself, which is part of the load of rushing the rim.

Wilson will team up with Max Crosby and Chandler Jones as defensive coordinator Patrick Graham favors constant pressure on the quarterback. Sure, the Raiders needed help in the secondary, but Wilson’s athleticism will be a nightmare for opponents. With Crosby on the other side, you should have plenty of matchups.

14. CJ Stroud (Texans, QB, No. 2)

This is not an indictment of Stroud, who is arguably the best pocket passer in this draft class. Houston offensive coordinator Bobby Slovic will get the most out of Stroud, but the Texans need to add more pass catchers. Stroud could have a rough first year.

The Bengals already have Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard on the sidelines. Why not add Murphy to the mix, especially since the key to beating the Chiefs is putting pressure on Patrick Mahomes. Murphy has the leverage to become a good NFL tackle, using his great burst off the line to pressure the quarterback. He will be a great fit in Cincinnati’s rotation.

While Wright is primarily a right tackle, his ability to block the run makes him an impactful Week 1 starter in the NFL. Justin Field will certainly guard his right side as Wright will be lined up next to Taven Jenkins. The Bears will still run the ball a lot with their young pass catchers, making Wright’s durability a vital part of this unit.

Flowers is a brilliant burst in the slot, giving Lamar Jackson a slot receiver he hasn’t had since Willie Snead caught his passes. With Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman at the helm, Flowers is likely to start immediately, but he’s poised to succeed as Jackson’s bottom option.

Skoronski has all the attributes to be a successful NFL linebacker. Skoronski, who is known for his versatility (can play guard and has the perfect size to dominate there), could start Week 1 at guard on a Titans offensive line in need of help on the right side. It was a safe pick in Tennessee, but also a much-needed one.

Kincaid is essentially a slot receiver in the early stages of his career, but there’s nothing wrong with that in a Bills offense featuring Stefon Digg, Gabe Davis and Khalil Shaqir. Josh Allen will target Kincaid in the middle of the field while Dawson Knox will do the dirty work in the trenches. Bills got better with that pick.

Good on the Saints for adding talent to a defensive line that lost Marcus Davenport and didn’t sign Sheldon Rankins. Not only can Breze play in front of the odd or even, but he can also plug holes on defense, which will be crucial as the Saints play the Falcons twice a year. Breze will be a good player under Dennis Allen’s tutelage.

21. Quentin Johnson (Chargers, WR, No. 21)

The Chargers include Johnson in a wide receiver group along with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Johnson’s big potential and knowledge of the game is extremely useful for Justin Herbert, as he will fit in perfectly with the explosive nature of Kellen Moore’s offense.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst usually favors the defensive line early in the draft, so to Green Bay’s surprise, Van Ness didn’t have to be a backup to Jordan Love. An up-and-comer, Van Ness needs to work on his passing game. He will need to grow in a rotation with Preston Smith and Kenny Clark, but will be forced to produce early.

The Jaguars needed an offensive tackle with Jawan Taylor leaving in free agency and Cam Robinson expected to be suspended to start the season. Harrison was an immediate hit on the offensive line, allowing just one sack in 425 pass-blocking snaps last year. He’s a long-term starter, and the Jaguars needed to make sure they had a good fight.

Cancy is undersized, but there is little debate about how productive he was in Pittsburgh as a three-technique. With Vita Vea playing nose, Cancy is more reasonable on the edge. He’ll be in the backfield often, but it’s fair to question how he holds up in the trenches.

The final of four straight wide receivers to be taken in the first round, Addison doesn’t have the size teams want — but he has breakaway speed and is a great route runner. Does Addison go in the slot and Justin Jefferson go outside? It will be interesting to see how the Vikings use him.

Did the Lions panic here, thinking Gibbs wouldn’t be available for their second pick at No. 18? An explosive athlete who is a great pass catcher out of the backfield, Gibbs will be a great asset in Detroit. The Lions are also paying David Montgomery big money and currently have D’Andre Swift. It was definitely a contradiction.

Smith is not a stat nose tackle, however he is great against the run and has a massive frame that will excel in short yardage defense. His strength will disrupt the cabin, but this pick helped DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons in the pass rush. Nothing wrong with that.

As long as there are feed moves and a motor, Anudike-Uzomah needs to hurry up. Chris Jones will help with the interior, but this choice is definitely project no. 31 (must continue to develop your frame). It’s hard to argue with Brett Veach’s choices over the past two years.

Did the Jets really need an edge rusher here? MacDonald is slow to get up off the line and teams aren’t afraid to challenge him against the run. That being said, McDonald knows how to get to the quarterback and is very productive. Finding a way to get an offensive tackle earlier in the draft would have helped.

Forbes is a turnover machine, with six of his 14 career interceptions returned for touchdowns. The Commanders needed help at cornerback, and Forbes certainly doesn’t lack confidence. This may be a good find for Washington, even if Forbes was picked higher than expected. Forbes’ biggest concern is the frame.

The Lions could have used a linebacker, but did they really need to pick Campbell at No. 18? Campbell has great pass awareness and his athleticism has been inconsistent in the tackle, but this pick seemed like a reach. He starts MIKE in Detroit immediately.

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