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Round One Draft Grades of the 2023 NFL Draft

@DarthDbacks analyzes and grades each pick of the First Round of the 2023 NFL Draft and gives some dynasty notes for your rookie drafts.

The First Round of the NFL Draft is over, and it’s time to review the picks and give them a grade. It was an explosive first round filled with six trades, stunning picks, and tons of player runs. Plus, some notable players dropped completely out of the first round, such as Will Levis, Joey Porter Jr., Josh Downs, O’Cyrus Torrence, Keion White, and plenty more. Make sure to tune in Friday night to see who your favorite team drafts. For now, though, let’s review the picks, assign some grades, and give some quick dynasty feedback on them.

1. Carolina Panthers: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Grade: A+

The Panthers finally found their franchise quarterback. Young is smart, accurate, and understands how to run an NFL offense. He’s everything the Panthers have been searching for and will immediately be a Day One starter. This team has a ton of hope. Young should be the 1.02 of Superflex rookie drafts. He possesses an elite passing upside and better-than-average rushing potential.

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

Draft Grade: A

The Texans get their quarterback of the future in Stroud. He has the look and play of a franchise quarterback. He’s more mobile than expected and has excellent touch and zip on his passes. The Texans are building smart this time. Stroud should be the 1.03 in rookie drafts, and if there’s a case to be made, he should go higher. He has elite passing potential and could be a strong rusher too.

3. Houston Texans: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

Draft Grade: A+

The Texans snag an elite EDGE rusher with All-Pro potential. He will fit perfectly in Houston’s defensive system and wreak havoc right away. Anderson has the potential for 15+ sacks and should be taken in the first round of all IDP drafts.

4. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Draft Grade: B+

The Colts had to take Richardson after Shane Steichen’s success with Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts. However, it’s risky because as high as Richardson’s ceiling is, his floor is abysmally low. At least he can fall back on his elite rushing skills to rack up the fantasy points. He shouldn’t be taken before 1.04 in Rookie Drafts, but shouldn’t fall past 1.05 either.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Draft Grade: A

The Seahawks snag the physical and tough boundary cornerback they were looking for. Witherspoon fits the angry mentality of the Seahawks perfectly. He’s going to bring an even more strong and hard-hitting approach to the tough Seahawks defense. In IDP, he’s a second-round pick at best in rookie drafts.

6. Arizona Cardinals: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

Draft Grade: A+

The Cardinals finally invest in their offensive line and get a great and technique-sound tackle. This is huge news for Kyler Murray and James Conner. They have a new strong tackle that will be able to pass-block well and open up big rushing lanes.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Draft Grade: B

Turns out that those medical concerns about Wilson might be a concerning future. However, Wilson has elite physical size and length. If he can learn the edge position quickly, he has 20+ sack potential. There are a ton of ifs, but Las Vegas is known as a gambling city for a reason. In IDP, he’s a first-round rookie pick.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Draft Grade: D

The Falcons have an atrocious defense, and while they did sign some big names, they still had far bigger needs than a running back. Yet, Bijan lands in a perfect spot for him as the Falcons run the ball more than nearly any other team. Bijan’s set up to feast and feast. He’s absolutely the only 1.01 in every rookie draft. Robinson’s fantasy stock couldn’t get any higher pre-draft, yet it got higher with him going to Arthur Smith’s offense.

9. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Draft Grade: A+

The Eagles traded up and got the No.1 talent on the board for a defense that was already scary. While, yes, Carter has character concerns, Philly has the right team and veteran leadership that will absolutely quell those concerns. Carter’s set up for major success on a scary defensive front.

10. Chicago Bears: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Draft Grade: B+

The Bears are finally protecting Justin Fields. They get their right tackle of the future, who will seek to ensure Fields can properly develop and grow this season. Wright isn’t a flashy pick, but it was the right move.

11. Tennessee Titans: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Draft Grade: B-

Yes, the Titans got a terrific guard/tackle hybrid who will absolutely help their team in the short and long term. However, the Titans skipped on getting a quarterback for the future. That’s absolutely more important than trying to do much this year with an awful squad. At least this helps Derrick Henry’s fantasy prospects.

12. Detroit Lions: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

Draft Grade: C+

The Lions didn’t need a running back, but they got a darn good one anyways. Gibbs will be utilized a ton in Detroit’s heavy rushing scheme. Goff is a great quarterback for a pass-catching running back. Plus, David Montgomery will help keep Gibbs healthy and do the nasty work in short-yardage situations. Gibbs should be valued at 1.04/05, absolutely thanks to this amazing landing spot and draft capital. However, D’Andre Swift’s stocks are absolutely crushed and decimated.

13. Green Bay Packers: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Draft Grade: A

The Packers get a great EDGE rusher who will help their defense get after the quarterback. Green Bay struggled a ton in that department last year. Van Ness will bring some much-needed help to that. Lukas is a talented and versatile player who should be taken in the first round of IDP rookie drafts.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Draft Grade: A+

The Steelers snipe the Jets after trading up for the talented tackle. The Steelers are devoted to developing Kenny Pickett, and this helps. Don’t forget that Jones will create some massive holes for Najee Harris and help out everyone’s fantasy stocks on the Steelers.

15. New York Jets: Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State

Draft Grade: D

The Jets got sniped by the Steelers, which crushed their hopes for yet another first-round tackle. However, they reached hardcore on an EDGE rusher. McDonald isn’t better than the other edge rushers in this article below him. The Jets went for high-upside but a really low floor. I’m skipping on McDonald in IDP rookie drafts, but he’s worth a second-round pick.

16. Washington Commanders: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Miss St.

Draft Grade: C

The Commanders swung for the fences on this pick by taking the extremely lanky but skinny cornerback. Forbes is a talented player, but he’s not nearly the player that Gonzalez is. Forbes is a talented player, but there are major injury concerns for a guy as skinny as him. The Commanders better be able to keep him healthy.

17. New England Patriots: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Draft Grade: A+

The Patriots got arguably the best cornerback in the draft at 17th overall. It was a draft coup. He should absolutely be a star for New England. Gonzalez has superb size, speed, agility, and length to keep up with any wide receiver. The Patriots must be ecstatic.

18. Detroit Lions: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

Draft Grade: B+

This felt like a reach too, but perhaps there were multiple teams that truly wanted the unique Campbell. It’s rare there’s a middle linebacker at 6’4″ and as fast as he is. Campbell’s got elite potential and can cover as well. He’s a hard-tackling machine that should be an IDP darling from day one. He’s a top rookie pick in IDP.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Draft Grade: B

The Buccaneers chose to take a potential Aaron Donald clone but could’ve been better served to address more important needs. Still, Kancey will bring toughness and elite hand skills to the middle of the defensive line. He’s a strong player that will only help the Bucs’ defense and future.

20. Seattle Seahawks: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Draft Grade: B

The Seahawks did need a wide receiver to pair with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. However, they had way more pressing needs at edge and defensive tackle. JSN will be a talented player for them. However, his dynasty stock went way down. That Seattle offense can’t support three wideouts. Nor will JSN see enough targets to truly be worth the 1.06 price he’s likely going for. He’s an elite talent, but this is a tough situation.

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Draft Grade: A

The Chargers knew they had to address their downfield ability in the passing game. Herbert has a massive arm, but they ranked 29th in deep passes. That shouldn’t be the case. QJ will bring an elite deep-threat ability and plenty of yards-after-catch ability. His dynasty stock rose the most tonight, where he should be taken around the 1.06/7 range. QJ’s paired with an elite quarterback and has the best landing spot of any wide receiver in the first round.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Draft Grade: C

The Ravens got a new starting wide receiver opposite OBJ, Mark Andrews, and Rashod Bateman. They made Lamar Jackson happy. That’s good. However, Flowers isn’t going to see hardly any targets in this rush-heavy offense. Lamar’s still going to run the ball a ton. Flowers got the worst landing spot for a wide receiver. He’s now a late-first rookie pick at best. There’s not going to be near enough volume or targets.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Draft Grade: A

The Vikings get a strong WR2 to start opposite Justin Jefferson. Those two will be a dynamic duo that terrorizes defenses for years. This is a great spot for Addison, as Kirk Cousins will throw plenty to him. The Vikings have a murky quarterback future, but for now, Addison has a bright future. He’s easily worth a mid-late rookie first.

24. New York Giants: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Draft Grade: A

The Giants knew they missed out on the wide receivers, and instead of reaching, they make the wise decision and take the best cornerback available. After watching their secondary be burned relentlessly by the Eagles, they decide to prevent that this year. Banks is a tough physical cornerback that isn’t afraid of any receiver. He’s exactly the type of player Wink Martindale loves.

25. Buffalo Bills: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

Draft Grade: A+

The Bills traded up and got the best tight end in the draft class. Kincaid has Kelce-level upside and could reach that potential with Josh Allen as his quarterback. He’s going to be a major mismatch and finally take some of the pressure off of Stefon Diggs. The Bills are letting the AFC know their offense is back. Kincaid’s worth a late-first-round pick easily. Rarely do tight ends have these kinds of abilities or potential.

26. Dallas Cowboys: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

Draft Grade: B+

The Cowboys might’ve been better served to go elsewhere, but they snag a great defender that will help make Micah Parsons’ life easier. Smith is a relentless defender that has a great pocket-collapsing ability. He’s going to play off Parsons really well. This is a smash spot for Smith and Dallas.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

Draft Grade: A+

The Jaguars told the world they are going to protect Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. It’s a tremendous pick as they found their right tackle of the future. Harrison is going to be a strong presence on the edge and help make Lawrence safe and his life easier.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

Draft Grade: A

The Bengals needed help on the edge and on the defense in general. Perhaps they could’ve gone cornerback, but they took the best player on the board. Murphy will dominate and be a strong pass-rusher. The Bengals know that to beat Mahomes, they have to apply some pressure. Murphy will do just that. He’s a solid second-round pick in IDP drafts.

29. New Orleans Saints: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

Draft Grade: A

The Saints saw their entire defensive line get obliterated in free agency. They had to rebuild it, and Bresee gets them off to a great start. He’s a dynamic versatile defender with great pass-rush ability. He will provide a good interior presence and seems to never run out of steam. It’s a solid pick for the Saints.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

Draft Grade: A+

I’m not sure how in the world the NFL keeps letting Howie Roseman get such major draft steals. He gets one yet again in Smith. He makes their defensive line insanely scarier. He’s an athletic freak with great speed off the edge. Smith is a Reddick clone, basically. He is going to rack up the sacks and be a major IDP player. I’m taking him in the first round for sure.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

Draft Grade: A

The Chiefs had to get another pass-rusher after letting Frank Clark go. The Chiefs have relied solely on Chris Jones for far too long. Felix is an athletic monster with great bend and speed. He’ll fit in nicely with the Chiefs’ faster defense. The Super Bowl Champs get way more deadly on defense.

Let’s get ready for Rounds Two and Three Friday Night! Tons of action to come and plenty of debate and excitement for the weekend.

Be sure to tune into the Dynasty Nerds Youtube Page to watch our very own Dan Toomey and Tim Martens live stream the NFL Draft, full of commentary, special guests, and of course, tons of dynasty analysis from your favorite Dynasty Nerds writers. It’s going to be tons of fun! It’ll take place over the first two days of the draft. Also, be sure to join our discord, as we have tons of live events with our writers and analysts!

One Response

  1. Assuming Baltimore is still going to be a rush heavy offense is flawed in my opinion. They’ve clearly signaled wanting to go away from that. Monken has a pass-first reputation, bringing in OBJ and Flowers. And Lamar does just fine from the pocket as well (Doug Farrar and others have analysis on this).

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