It’s been a little over a week since the 2023 NFL Draft concluded and we’re getting ready for training camps to begin. Before those get underway, we’ll be giving each team a grade on how their 2023 draft went.
Arizona Cardinals: B
The Cardinals held the 3rd overall pick and decided to trade down with that to #12 overall and then traded up to move back into the top 10 at #6 overall where they selected Paris Johnson Jr. The Cardinals thought they were playing draft day like the Kevin Costner film but in reality passed on what they had a bigger need with which is on their defense and passed on both Jalen Carter & Will Anderson which is going to turn out to be a big mistake for the chaotic organization. Johnson jr. is very talented and one of the best lineman from the draft, but the Cardinals have many issues on defense and also just declined the 5th year option on one of their best existing players remaining in Isaiah Simmons.
Atlanta Falcons: B+
For a 3rd year in a row, the Atlanta Falcons have used a top 10 pick on an offensive weapon and slowly formed a high-powered offense. The Falcons could use some help on offensive line and at quarterback, but getting Bijan Robinson at #8 overall who was by far the best running back in this class and pairing him up with Kyle Pitts & Drake London, whoever steps in at quarterback here will have an easier time adjusting with the talent around him.
Baltimore Ravens: B
The Ravens didn’t have many picks in this year’s drafts, but the ones they did have they used fairly well. We liked the Zay Flowers pickup giving Lamar a much needed weapon, but our 2 favorite picks for the Ravens was the Simpson pick & getting Vorhees all the way in the 7th.
Buffalo Bills: A
The Bills didn’t trade up far in the draft, but moving up just a couple spots was huge to get Dalton Kincaid who somehow fell and was a big bargain for the Bills. The Bills got another weapon for their high-powered offense and followed that up with more protection for gunslinger Josh Allen. Bills made the right moves this draft if they want to compete with the Chiefs & the Bengals in the AFC.
Carolina Panthers: B+
The Carolina Panthers traded up with the Chicago Bears in a massive deal to get the #1 overall pick and used it to select their quarterback of the future in Bryce Young. The Panthers are in rebuild mode and the future of Carolina centers around Bryce Young.
Chicago Bears: B+
After trading down for a bundle of picks, the Chicago Bears used the first of them to land one of the top offensive lineman to protect their quarterback. This was one of many smart moves by the Bears throughout the draft, they didn’t go for anything flashy but opted for strengthening core positions. The one move that we thought the Bears needed to do and didn’t do so through free agency or the draft was adding a running back after parting ways with David Montgomery. Khalil Herbert showed promise, but he needed help back there and the Bears didn’t help themselves by not drafting one until the 4th round when they had plenty of day 2 picks they could have used instead.
Cincinnati Bengals: A-
The Bengals nailed their first 3 rounds of picks, but after that it looks like they were throwing darts and seeing where’d they land. Getting 2 of the better defensive backs in DJ Turner & Jordan Battle who were both ranked higher on our boards than where the Bengals got them was a big win and filled a big need. Those 2 picks alone make up for rounds 4 through 7.
Cleveland Browns: B
The Cleveland Browns didn’t have a pick until the 3rd round from the irrational Deshaun Watson trade they made which is going to cost them for years. Once they did get to pick, they made some decent moves with our favorite being their first pick of the draft and using it to take Cedric Tillman.
Dallas Cowboys: C-
As long as Jerry Jones is running the show, this organization is in disarray. The Cowboys somehow still manage to make the playoffs and be a semi-functional team despite the antics of Jerry Jones. Jones should not be allowed anywhere near the draft room and this year wasn’t any better. He gets exceptions for hitting studs with CeeDee Lamb & Micah Parsons in recent years but those 2 were obvious choices with where they were available when being selected.
Denver Broncos: B-
Another team that lost a handful of their picks due to a poor quarterback trade was the Denver Broncos. The Broncos only had 5 total picks in this draft and should have been strategic with how they used them, especially since 3 of them were day 2. The Broncos used their highest pick to take a wide receiver which was a reach and not something we are a fan of as their defense and offensive line were higher priority positions. Broncos snagged a couple of solid defensive backs later on, but not using their higher picks on prime positions was the wrong call.
Detroit Lions: D
Surprisingly, no teams earned a F grade from this draft, but the Lions came close and had the worst graded draft in the league. The Lions let Jamaal Williams walk, traded away D’Andre Swift, just to replace them with Jahmyr Gibbs who was arguably the biggest reach of the draft at #12 overall and David Montgomery. The Lions finally looked like they were heading in the right direction as a franchise and then this offseason they went right back to doing things the Lions way.
Green Bay Packers: B
After trading away longtime quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers have shown their commitment to Jordan Love with a contract extension. Their next act of commitment to a future with Love was drafting multiple tight ends and multiple wide receivers, something they would rarely do for Rodgers. The two tight end picks of Musgrave and Kraft, we were a big fan of, but Green Bay should’ve went big at wide receiver in round 1 since Lazard left leaving Christian Watson as wide receiver #1 for the Packers.
Houston Texans: B
The Houston Texans were one of the boldest teams of the draft as they had the #2 overall spot in the draft which they used to take CJ Stroud and then they immediately went and traded to also have the #3 spot taking Will Anderson right after. The Texans wanted both and got 2 of the most talented players in the draft but had to give up a lot to get that and this might not have been the best move in a team with as many needs as they have.
Indianapolis Colts: C+
The Colts made a surprising decision and selected Anthony Richardson over Will Levis. We were not a fan of this pick given their current offensive system and having one of the best young backs in the NFL in Jonathan Taylor. Richardson is a more mobile quarterback and they opted for someone like that who will take opportunities away from Taylor and they could’ve ended up with someone who has a more traditional play style like Andrew Luck or Manning that we’re used to seeing succeed in Indianapolis.
Jacksonville Jaguars: C
The Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves in an unfamiliar place as they are actually a semi-decent team coming off a playoff appearance. The offense led by Trevor Lawrence is what got them as far as they did which is why we found the use of their 2nd and 3rd round picks on a running back and tight end to be questionable. Getting a lineman in the 1st was the only spot on offense they could’ve used someone on from day 1 or day 2.
Kansas City Chiefs: B-
The reigning Super Bowl champs didn’t need to address a whole lot here and are still celebrating their victory which was very apparent with the amount of red & white jerseys in the crowd. The Chiefs had trade offers to trade out of the first round but decided to keep it to have control with the 5th year option. We understand their rationale but what you would’ve gotten back in return for the pick rather than just drafting someone just to draft someone would have been a better decision, especially if they’re hoping to repeat as champs.
Las Vegas Raiders: B
The Las Vegas Raiders moved on from quarterback Derek Carr and his replacement has a very similar playstyle in Jimmy Garoppolo. This led to the Raiders being rumored to drafting one in this year’s draft, but they passed on all of the top options. They are committing to an interim period of Jimmy G under center and getting a replacement for Darren Waller in Michael Mayer at 35 overall was a great selection. Not picking a defensive back in the first 2 days to give Moehrig some help was not a great move as the Raiders had been torched through the air last season.
Los Angeles Chargers: B+
With Keenan Allen & Mike Williams both aging, the Chargers went and got pro bowl quarterback some help with Quentin Johnston & Derius Davis. The Horned Frogs wideouts are back together again and should both succeed with one of the best passers in the league as their quarterback.
Los Angeles Rams: B
We’ve never seen a team fall harder after winning a Super Bowl than what the Los Angeles Rams just did. The Rams were one of the worst teams in the NFL and because they went all in to win that Super Bowl, they’re lacking premium draft picks. The draft picks they had this year were a variety of picks from getting a steal with EDGE rusher Byron Young to taking a swing out of left field with the Stetson Bennett selection, the Rams draft was overall confusing.
Miami Dolphins: B-
There were only 31 picks in the first round of the NFL draft and that’s because the Miami Dolphins had to forfeit theirs for tampering. The Dolphins really could have benefited having that 1st rounder, but instead had to wait until the middle of day 2 to pick. They got a couple good values in Cam Smith & Devon Achane who bring healthy competition to their positions, but outside of that, losing the 1st was a huge setback for Miami.
Minnesota Vikings: A-
People didn’t think the Vikings would take a receiver but they did and we love the decision to have Jordan Addison lineup opposite of Justin Jefferson. Addison & Jefferson is something we can get used to seeing, but another one of our favorite picks of the whole draft was the 7th round hidden gem of UAB running back Dewayne McBride. McBride was one of the top rushers in the NCAA and we know Minnesota has a knack for turning running backs into some serious talent.
New England Patriots: A-
Outside of the 2 random special teams selections, the New England Patriots had a great draft. The Patriots went heavy on defense and landed one of the best overall players in the draft all the way in the middle of the 1st round in defensive back Christian Gonzalez, who was one of our favorite picks of the whole draft.
New Orleans Saints: C
The New Orleans Saints went after positions of need in the draft which is what you need to do, but they reached on almost every one of their picks. We weren’t a fan of most, especially Jake Haener in the 4th was a bit of a head scratcher.
New York Giants: A+
The Giants didn’t do anything flashy in the draft, but rather opted for positions they had a need for and did it surprisingly well. The Giants were a surprise team in 2022 & they definitely put themselves in a better position to succeed in 2023 especially getting Danny Dimes a boom or bust candidate in Jalin Hyatt as late as they did in the 3rd round when he very well could have gone in the 1st or 2nd.
New York Jets: B-
The Jets got their quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and still got to maintain having a 1st round pick which was a big win. Unfortunately, the Jets didn’t capitalize on that and drafted Rodgers young blood but opted for veterans like Lazard & Cobb to come instead.
Philadelphia Eagles: A+
After the infamous Jalen Reagor selection in 2020, Howie Roseman looks like he can finally put those days behind him after the draft he just had. The Eagles got arguably a top 3 overall talent in this class at #3 and paired him up with another Bulldog in Nolan Smith not much later to add to their existing Bulldogs Jordan Davis & Nakobe Dean. The Eagles had a superb draft, especially for a team coming off a Super Bowl appearance who usually aren’t fortunate to get a selection in the top 10.
Pittsburgh Steelers: A+
The Pittsburgh Steelers killed it in this year’s draft and earned one of our best overall grades. They did well throughout the entirety of their draft and we loved the Darnell Washington pick late in the 3rd as a great value addition. The Steelers fans should be happy with how this draft went and giving the Bengals a run for their money in the AFC North.
San Francisco 49ers: D+
Do we know why the 49ers decided to select a kicker in the 3rd round? No. Could they have waited another whole round to get a kicker? Yes. Did they do that? No. The 49ers selecting Jake Moody when there were many viable options still on the board was the wrong move. Another wrong move was 2 picks later reaching for a tight end that should have been a middle of day 3 pick. This was not the best 49ers draft.
Seattle Seahawks: A
The Russell Wilson trade to Denver paid off huge for the Seahawks as it earned them a bundle of picks which they were able to use the 5th overall to select the top defensive back in the draft in Devon Witherspoon and make a fearsome duo of corners with him and Tariq Woolen who was a runner up to defensive rookie of the year. On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks went and snagged Smith-Njigba who was one of the top overall receivers in college football in this class and then doubled that down with Zach Charbonnet to continue adding dynamic offensive players who can strengthen this offense that already was doing well under Geno Smith. The Seahawks are a dangerous team and can give San Francisco a run for their money this year for the NFC West title.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B+
Deciding not to draft a running back, quarterback, or wide receiver in the early rounds, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are embracing the full rebuild after winning the Super Bowl just a few seasons ago. The Bucs are going to endure a year of Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask and give Rachaad White more opportunities. Ultimately, this was the right decision to make and they grabbed some good players on both sides of the ball, but a couple of the players they grabbed were a bit higher than where they should have gone and others were available at their respective positions. The Bucs earned a good score overall for playing it smart and bracing through what’s about to be a tough year for them.
Tennessee Titans: B+
After passing on drafting a quarterback in the first round and the shocking slide of Will Levis, the Titans traded up to take him early in the 2nd. We were very happy with the decision for them to not go with Levis with their first and instead use this to fortify a position that’s dealt with injuries in recent years for them.
Washington Commanders: B
We liked the positions that the Commanders went after in the draft, but we didn’t necessarily agree with the order in which they selected them. We would have liked for them to stack up at offensive lineman with their first 2 selections and then shift over to defensive backs in rounds 3 & 4 as this year’s defensive back class had a lot of depth and the lineman class wasn’t as deep as compared to previous years.
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