2023 NFL Draft: First-round instant grades for all 31 picks

1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago Bears): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama — The Panthers have their new face of the franchise. What Young lacks in size and physical talent, he more than makes up for in skill. Carolina could have gone with a riskier pick here with real home run potential like Anthony Richardson, but Young has the skills to be worthy of the spot. It’s a new era in Carolina. Grade: B+

2. Houston Texans.: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State — The Texans stayed put and made the most logical choice at this point. They kept their draft capital and still got a major league defenseman in Stroud. If his performance against Georgia is anything to go by, it’s a slam dunk. He ticks all the boxes. Grade: B+

3. Houston Texans. (from Arizona Cardinals): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama — Anderson is arguably the best defensive player in the draft, but the Texans gave up a lot of draft capital to move for his services, including trading their 2024 first-round pick to get him. He is sure to become a star, and the Texans have a pick from the Browns to make up for the loss of draft capital. Loss of draft capital is the only thing that drops this category from A+. Grade: A-

4. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida — The Colts are hitting home runs with Richardson, but he’s not as rough as people might think based on his numbers. He has a chance to start as a rookie and push Gardner Minshew II. At least the Colts offense became more dynamic. Great move to take on the misunderstood prospects here. Grade: A

5. Seattle Seahawks: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois — Witherspoon isn’t the biggest cornerback, but he has all the skills to be a major league cornerback for the Seahawks. Tarik Woolen and Witherspoon are a very talented young pairing, and the Seahawks now have a loaded cornerback room, which is never a bad thing. His agility, physicality and ball skills will instantly make the Seahawks hard to beat. Grade: A+

The Seahawks had arguably the best first-round pick in the NFL draft with Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon. (AP Images NFL/Doug Benz)

6. Arizona Cardinals (from Detroit Lions): Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State — The Cardinals were able to keep draft pick compensation in this selection as they went back to take Johnson. He was one of the elite players on the big board this year and will be the Cardinals’ immediate starter in the right-hitting offense. They still have their picks for the 2024 draft and potentially elite offensive tackles. Grade: A-

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech — The Raiders quietly needed some help in the pass rush, as Chandler Jones didn’t make the impact they hoped for in his first job with the team. Too much responsibility was placed on Max Crosby’s shoulders, making Wilson and his tremendous upside a vital pick. Grade: A-

8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas — Robinson is an excellent player and will improve the Falcons’ roster, but they had some more pressing needs that could be addressed this year. The Falcons are almost a test case for why they don’t need running backs in the draft right now, as Tyler Oldjaer was one of the league’s best quarterbacks last year, but Robinson’s talent as an elite player can’t be talked about. Grade: C

9. Philadelphia Eagles (from Chicago Bears): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia — Carter is the best player in the class. When healthy, he is a dominant player on the court from a physical and technical standpoint and will give a championship-caliber defense a championship-caliber player. Grade: A+

10. Chicago Bears (from Philadelphia Eagles): Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee — Wright was the third player on our big board this year, so it’s impossible to get a bad grade on this selection. Wright is a tight end who will make the Bears’ offensive line much better than where they were this time last year. Grade: A+

11. Tennessee Titans: Pēteris Skoronskis, OL, North West — I swear I’m not a rating pusher, I just love the picks this year! Skoronski was the fifth-ranked player on the board this year, and the Titans have a SMALL need along the offensive line, and Skoronski can play all five positions at a high level. Grade: A+

12. Detroit Lions: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama — Are the Lions all right? Gibbs is a huge surprise this early in the draft, and absolutely no one had him going in this range. Don’t get carried away, Gibbs is a solid player, but he was ranked No. 42 in Yahoo Sports’ big chart and just No. 25 in the Pro Football Network’s consensus big chart. The big takeaway here is a linebacker who won’t even be the cash cow for this team, considering they also signed David Montgomery to a three-year deal. Grade: F

13. Green Bay Packers: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa — Van Ness is a solid, versatile defensive lineman with room to grow and a tall stature. Van Ness needs development to become a consistent Pro Bowl-caliber starter, but guys with his athleticism almost never pan out. His presence gives the Packers some flexibility with Preston Smith moving forward as well. Grade: B+

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (from New England Patriots): Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia — Jones is raw as a prospect, but there’s no doubting his upside and movement skills at left tackle. For a team that really needed help on the offensive end, he’s a quality roll of the dice. Degree: B

15. New York Jets: Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State — MacDonald needs some time to adjust to being a full-time quarterback in the NFL, but there’s no question he has the physical attributes to be an effective quarterback in the league. He is an older prospect but has superior qualities on the defensive line. He has a legitimate curveball to cut down corners on offensive tackles, which is something the Jets lack. Grade: B-

16. Washington commanders: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State — Forbes has the potential to be a sticky man cover corner in the league, but he only weighs 166 pounds, which is concerning. That’s not much for an NFL player, no matter how you slice it. Talented player, just need to worry about size. Grade: C+

17. New England Patriots (from Pittsburgh Steelers): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon — Gonzalez has all the ability in the world to be a dominant man cover corner in the NFL. His lack of physicality may be why he was still here, but he was the last of our players to come off the big table. Grade: A+

18. Detroit Lions: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa — The Lions could have had Campbell two rounds later than this. Pretty crazy. Campbell is a quality athlete and could turn out to be a solid starter, but that’s a big stretch. Grade: F

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kalia Cancy, EDGE, Pittsburgh — Depending on how the Buccaneers plan to deploy Cancey, he could be a huge roster player. He’s a bit of an odd fit in their odd-man fronts, but if he shifts to defensive end and plays more on the edge, he has the attributes to get it done. Defensive line is the position where it’s almost always okay to take chances on athletes. Degree: B

20. Seattle Seahawks: Jackson Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State — A great pick for the Seahawks right now. They currently have arguably the best trio of wide receivers in the NFL with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and now Smith-Njigba. Picking Smith-Njigba will keep his receiver room strong even after Lockett moves on from the Seahawks in the coming years. Grade: A

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU — Johnston fills a need at receiver, but they could have used someone with a little more juice to make plays for Justin Herbert. However, Johnston is a solid receiver prospect who is a monster after the catch and looks to be a nice long-term replacement for Keenan Allen. Grade: B-

22. Baltimore Ravens: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College — The Ravens are doing the Ravens thing again. The same day they signed Lamar Jackson to a record-breaking contract, they gave him another receiver to throw to in Boston College’s Zay Flowers. Flowers is explosive, can dominate the court and has a strong feel as a ball carrier. This is a huge asset in the Ravens receiver room. Grade: A+

23. Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Addison, WR, USC — Addison is the perfect No. 2 wide receiver, and that’s exactly what he’ll be in the NFL playing next to Justin Jefferson. In an offense that expects to throw the ball a lot, especially if the Vikings trade Dalvin Cook, Addison can be a star. Grade: B+

24. New York Giants (from Jacksonville Jaguars): Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland — Banks is the perfect cornerback for Wink Martindale’s scheme. He can get tight to the man, which is essential for a happy defensive coordinator. Banks isn’t a perfect fit for every team, but he’s certainly a perfect fit for this one. Grade: A-

25. Buffalo Bills (from Jacksonville Jaguars through New York Giants): Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah — Buffalo finds this strange. Kincaid should play a similar role to Dawson Knox, who remains with the Bills for at least the next two seasons. They may have a different idea of ​​how this duo will play together, but right now it looks crowded. At least Kincaid is a stud. It’s unattainable in terms of talent. Grade: C

26. Dallas Cowboys: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan — Smith isn’t the most dynamic defensive tackle, but he fills a big need for the Cowboys with solid running in the middle of the linebacker. Smith has some passing ability, but his primary role will be stopping the run. Degree: B

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Buffalo Bills): Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma — With Cam Robinson reportedly on the verge of suspension, the Jaguars needed a tight end to protect Trevor Lawrence and become the long-term starter. Harrison is a strong replacement for Jawaan Taylor and has the athleticism to be a dominant player. Grade: A

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Myce Murphy, EDGE, Clemson — You can never have too many pass rushers, and now the Bengals have an athletic monster to play against Trey Hendrickson long term. Murphy is an NFL-ready back who has the athleticism to be a strong 2nd edge rusher. Degree: B

29. New Orleans Saints (from San Francisco 49ers): Brian Breze, DT, Clemson — Breze should develop into a quality starter, but it’s fair to question whether the Saints could have picked a more explosive option at defensive tackle. At worst, though, he’ll add good depth to their defensive line rotation. Grade: C

30 Philadelphia Eagles: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia — Smith is smaller than the edge, but it’s hard to find guys with legitimate 4.3 pass rushers. Smith, Haasson Redick, Jalen Carter, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweet and Jordan Davis? Good luck blocking it. Grade: A-

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State — The Chiefs will have to be patient with Anudike-Uzomah, but he has the potential to develop into the impact edge rusher they want. Anudike-Uzomah is a better fit for an NFL defense than the part-time interior role he played at Kansas State. Playing next to Chris Jones and George Karlaftis should definitely speed up his learning process. Degree: B

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