Snap Grades

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2023 NFL Draft: Day 1 quick-snap grades for all 32 teams

Immediate draft grades provide a foundation for future evaluations. Waiting three years to assess draft classes without accounting for how the decision was viewed at the time usually leads to revisionist history.

These 2023 NFL Draft quick-snap grades reflect the value I think each pick (or set of picks) has, given the slot and the prospect's college film/athleticism scores. Trades, and the capital exchanged (both picks and players), are factored into these grades as well, as they also play a significant part in determining the future of a franchise.

Draft pick


Analysis: The Cardinals wanted to trade out of No. 3 overall, and that's what they did, moving down nine spots in a deal with the Texans. They then traded back up with the Lions, jumping from No. 12 to No. 6 for Johnson, whose experience playing both guard and tackle means he can step in at right tackle. His powerful blocking up front will help protect Kyler Murray and boost the run game. The net effect of the two trades is the Cardinals picked up a 2024 first-round pick and still landed the player at No. 6 they presumably wanted all along.

Grade
A-
Atlanta Falcons

Draft pick


Analysis: Adding Robinson to the Falcons' offensive arsenal made a ton of sense, even with Tyler Allgeier coming off a nice rookie season. Robinson is a multi-faceted playmaker who will join Atlanta's last two first-rounders, tight end Kyle Pitts (No. 4 overall in 2021) and receiver Drake London (No. 8 overall in 2022), to make life easier for second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder. Head coach Arthur Smith's offense has room for two good young backs. It does have to be mentioned that taking a running back this early can be a risk, because of attrition at the position.

Draft pick


Analysis: The re-signing of Lamar Jackson to a five-year, $260 million contract got the Ravens off to a nice start on Day 1. They added to everyone's happiness when selecting Flowers, a downfield threat and zone-eater over the middle who can snatch a quick throw from the former MVP and take it the distance. Once again, the Ravens stayed patient and got a good player.

Grade
A-
Buffalo Bills

Draft pick


Analysis: Buffalo needed to add more offensive firepower to catch up with the Bengals and Chiefs in the AFC, so I'd been projecting the team to move up in the first round to nab a playmaker. With the top receivers off the board, Kincaid's superior pass-catching skills came into focus for the Bills, as he moves like a receiver in the open field and contorts his frame to grab high and wide passes. Hopefully his back issues are behind him and he's able to connect with Josh Allen down the seam and in the red zone on a regular basis.

Draft pick


Analysis: After boldly moving up for the top overall pick in a trade with the Bears that cost them, in part, a 2024 first-round pick and receiver D.J. Moore, the Panthers selected Young, the most pro-ready quarterback in the class. Forget his lack of prototypical size; Young's always been a leader and a winner who possesses the mental and physical attributes to become a Pro Bowl-caliber NFL starter. This is an excellent new direction for Carolina.

Grade
A
Chicago Bears

Draft pick


Analysis: General manager Ryan Poles made the best of a disappointing 2022 campaign, trading out of the top overall pick in exchange for three premium selections (a 2023 second-round pick, 2024 first and 2025 second). They moved back again, swapping spots with the Eagles at No. 10 while adding a 2024 fourth-round selection, to take Wright, who worked himself into a top-10 pick after moving from left to right tackle last fall. His ability to move defenders off the snap and find targets in space will be used immediately by the Bears.

Draft pick


Analysis: Murphy was not a dominant player at Clemson but showed the ability to win the edge at times and has the strength to hold up his end of the bargain in run defense. The Bengals could have used a cornerback, but perhaps they did not have any Round 1-caliber players at the position left on their board. Tight end Michael Mayer would have also been a worthy selection.

Grade
C-
Cleveland Browns

Draft pick

  • None


Analysis: Based on the cost of acquiring him via trade last year, Deshaun Watson is effectively the Browns' first-round pick this season, as well as their third-round pick and next year's first- and fourth-round picks. It's possible the Browns get back to the playoffs for just the second time since 2002 with Watson, now that he's back in the football flow after spending more than a season off the field. Thus far, the price paid looks steep in both draft capital and a market-setting contract.

Grade
B
Dallas Cowboys

Draft pick


Analysis: The Cowboys needed to strengthen their defensive tackle group, so the pick makes sense. Smith is well-known for his athleticism at 323 pounds, flashing the ability to win off the snap. His production in college is concerning (just six tackles for loss in three seasons), but the team must believe he will be able to do more once unleashed in Dan Quinn’s scheme.

Grade
B
Denver Broncos

Draft pick

  • None


Analysis: So far, the acquisition of veteran quarterback Russell Wilson has not taken the Broncos to the next level. Denver gave up its first- and second-round picks in this year’s draft in that deal. The Broncos acquired a first-round pick from Miami for edge rusher Bradley Chubb, which they used as compensation to hire head coach Sean Payton. The performance of Payton and Wilson will determine how those deals will ultimately be judged.

Grade
C-
Detroit Lions

Draft picks


Analysis: The Lions traded down from No. 6 to No. 12, grabbing an early second-round pick from the Cardinals in the deal, and surprised by picking Gibbs. He is a talented dual-threat performer with good open-field speed and agility. I viewed him as a late first- or early second-round value. Campbell can be a productive leader for the Lions, but -- again -- he was picked earlier than I expected. (I had him as a second-round value.) It will be interesting to see how Campbell fares compared with the off-ball linebackers that are picked on Day 2.

Draft pick


Analysis: Van Ness’ athletic profile is similar to that of Packers edge rusher Rashan Gary, with both players featuring outstanding agility. Van Ness also has the length and functional strength to play 5-technique, as well, which is a position of need for Green Bay. I like the value here in a young player with excellent upside.

Grade
B+
Houston Texans

Draft picks


Analysis: After so much chatter that Houston would pass on a quarterback at No. 2, the Texans made the smart move of using the pick on the second-best passer in the draft. Stroud is an accurate thrower who brings more mobility to the position than some might suggest. The Deshaun Watson trade netted the Texans the 12th overall selection, which they bundled to jump up to No. 3 overall for Anderson. They gave up a second-round pick this year (No. 33) and first- and third-round selections next year (getting a ’23 fourth-rounder back in the deal) to grab the stud pass rusher. I believe that’s too big of a price to pay, even for a talent like Anderson. 

Draft pick


Analysis: Richardson is a potential future star working under new Colts head coach Shane Steichen. He’s inexperienced but has a great skill set and makes more pro-caliber throws than you would expect, given some of the chatter about his game. Richardson has some of the quickest feet of any quarterback prospect I’ve ever seen, even with his huge frame. His upside as a playmaker is at the top of the class.

Draft pick


Analysis: Lacking depth at offensive tackle and with Cam Robinson facing suspension, the Jaguars addressed their O-line in the first round with an up-and-coming prospect in Harrison. The mobility he showed during last season and at the NFL Scouting Combine was impressive, so it’s not a surprise he went in Round 1. The top corners were off the board and this draft’s depth at tight end allowed Jacksonville to meet this need first.

Draft pick


Analysis: For the second straight year, the Chiefs used a late first-round pick at defensive end. After picking George Karlaftis 30th overall last year, Kansas City selected Anudike-Uzomah, who uses his flexibility to attack quarterbacks and can chase down plays on the outside. There were a few prospects available that I thought presented better value, though, such as edge rusher B.J. Olujari and tight end Michael Mayer.

Draft pick


Analysis: Wilson pairs with Maxx Crosby on the defensive line to wreak havoc. His length and athleticism also allows him to be used in space, if the Raiders want to take advantage of his versatility. The team doctors must have signed off after evaluating Wilson's foot injury. I thought the Raiders might have interest in Christian Gonzalez at this selection, but it's difficult to fault them for adding much-needed help up front on defense.  

Draft pick


Analysis: The Chargers needed to add depth at receiver, so they selected one of the position's taller top prospects in Johnston (6-foot-3, 208 pounds). His body control on the outside is impressive but his average speed and inconsistency as a receiver are worrisome. His career will be compared with that of the wideouts selected with the next two picks: Zay Flowers (No. 22 overall to Baltimore) and Jordan Addison (No. 23 overall to Minnesota). 

Draft pick

  • None


Analysis: The Rams are paying the piper for their Super Bowl victory two years ago. They would probably do it again, though, and I can't disagree. However, the final selection in the Matthew Stafford trade turned out to be the sixth overall pick this year, which is a much earlier pick than they would have anticipated. 

Grade
C-
Miami Dolphins

Draft pick

  • None


Analysis: The NFL announced in August that the Dolphins were forfeiting their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick following an investigation into whether the team violated league policies pertaining to the integrity of the game. They gained a first-rounder in the 2021 pre-draft trade with the 49ers, who picked Trey Lance third overall. The Dolphins moved that selection to Denver for edge rusher Bradley Chubb, who certainly has potential but managed just 2.5 sacks in eight games last season after signing a five-year extension worth $110 million. 

Draft pick


Analysis: Addison was too strong a value for the Vikings to pass up. He would have been picked earlier if not for his slight build, average top-end speed for his size and occasional drops. Addison is such a tough player, though. He will be a great complement to Justin Jefferson, working from the slot.  

Draft pick


Analysis: Gonzalez’s size, athleticism and ball skills are excellent, meaning the Patriots got great value here even after moving down three spots in a trade with the Steelers to pick up a fourth-round selection. I was a bit surprised he was still available this late, but New England won't complain.

Draft pick


Analysis: The Saints gave up their first-rounder in this year's draft in a trade with the Eagles prior to last year’s draft. New Orleans used draft capital from that trade to move up for Chris Olave last year. Olave’s a fine player, but the Eagles have to feel good about that deal right now, having ultimately used the first-rounder to nab Jalen Carter. New Orleans received a first-round pick from Denver for former head coach Sean Payton, though, using that pick on Bresee. I’m not sure he will be elite, but Bresee is the sort of interior player the Saints needed. Hopefully he will be able to put the injury woes he dealt with in college behind him.

Grade
B+
New York Giants

Draft pick


Analysis: The Giants traded two Day 3 picks to move up from No. 25 to No. 24 to select Banks, a nice size/speed prospect who looked fluid during workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine. He'll likely line up outside as a rookie to bolster that group. Going with a corner here made sense, since New York missed out on the top receivers. The question is, will Banks be significantly better than the as-yet-undrafted Joey Porter Jr., who would have been available at the Giants' original draft slot even if someone jumped up to No. 24 to grab Banks? 

Grade
C+
New York Jets

Draft pick


Analysis: In terms of impact on the first round this year, acquiring Aaron Rodgers from the Packers required the Jets to move down just two slots, from No. 13 to No. 15, where they picked McDonald, who has great length and the best flexibility of any edge in the draft class. He'd been pegged as a late first- or early second-round pick, though, because of his lean frame and inconsistency using his hands to beat better tackles. McDonald has potential if he's able to mature, both physically and in his craft.

Draft picks


Analysis: New Orleans gifted the Eagles the 10th overall pick in this year's draft via a trade last spring. GM Howie Roseman couldn't wait that long, though, trading a 2024 fourth-round pick to the Bears to move up to No. 9 and ensure Philadelphia landed Carter. A more versatile performer than last year's first-round defensive tackle, Jordan Davis, Carter is a force at 3-technique with excellent get-off and quickness. My enthusiasm for this pick was tempered by concerns about his off-field issues. Getting the speedy Smith to play behind Haason Reddick in the team's scheme was an easy call at 30, bringing yet another Georgia defender to the City of Brotherly Love.

Draft pick


Analysis: Pittsburgh gave up a fourth-round selection to move up for Jones, the left tackle they truly needed to patch up a troublesome offensive line. Second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett must be better protected in the pocket. There is no chill in Jones’ game, whether he’s attacking an edge rusher or getting downfield to hit a linebacker on run plays. If Jones continues to tighten up his technique, the Steelers will be very pleased with this pick.

Draft pick

  • None


Analysis: San Francisco sent its first-round pick to Miami in a 2021 pre-draft trade, eventually selecting quarterback Trey Lance third overall. Lance's career has had an inauspicious start, as he was recently answering questions about speculation he might be traded. While the deal gave the team a chance to get its quarterback of the future, Lance must begin fulfilling his promise while Brock Purdy rehabs from elbow surgery to make the 49ers' selection worthwhile. 

Grade
A+
Seattle Seahawks

Draft picks


Analysis: The Seahawks' trade of Russell Wilson appears to have been the right move, at least after one season. They used the fifth overall pick gained from the Broncos on Witherspoon, which was not a surprise, though he is not as big as some of the corners Seattle has selected recently. Frankly, he plays larger than his size might suggest. Grabbing the top receiver in the draft in Smith-Njigba will pay dividends. He will slice and dice defenses over the middle and sneak downfield for big plays. These were two very good picks at positions of need.

Draft pick


Analysis: His pro career might not match that of another undersized first-round Pitt defensive tackle, but I love Kancey’s game. He can beat tackles with quickness and powerful hands outside and charge through gaps inside. The Bucs needed to get younger on the defensive line, and with the top offensive linemen already off the board, he was a logical pick at No. 19.

Draft pick


Analysis: Tennessee needed to get stronger along the interior O-line after seeing multiple veterans depart this offseason. Skoronski can play left tackle, too, if free-agent addition Andre Dillard isn’t the answer. I figured throughout the draft process that the Titans would have interest in the former Wildcat, whose strength at the point of attack and nimble feet in space will help make sure the run game is as prolific as ever.

Draft pick


Analysis: The ultra-lean Forbes (6-foot-1, 166 pounds) was a prolific ballhawk in college, collecting 14 interceptions over his career. Washington definitely needed a corner, and Forbes sticks to his man, but a potential strength disadvantage against NFL receivers will be something to monitor. If the ball continues to find him at the next level, though, this could wind up as a solid selection.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter.

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