NFL Draft 2023: Round 1 Grades, Picks 1-10


The 2023 NFL Draft First Round has wrapped up. We’re grading every pick, but we’re starting with 1-10.

The 2023 draft finally arrived and went off with a bang on Thursday night. After months and months of analysis and speculation, answers were given and dreams were made. Here’s our take and grades on the first 10 picks of the 2023 NFL Draft

1. Carolina Panthers (from Bears): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

  • Grade: A

The Carolina Panthers made a bold move to secure their future franchise quarterback, trading away talented wide receiver D.J. Moore and multiple high draft picks to move up in the draft. Their target was a young signal-caller who they believed would be the perfect fit for new offensive-minded coach Frank Reich. That quarterback is none other than Bryce Young, who possesses a unique combination of arm strength, athleticism, leadership, intangibles, playmaking ability, and a mature “it factor” that makes him stand out from his peers. I love this fit for Bryce Young. Frank Reich was a great hire for Carolina, and now things have really come together.

While some analysts may have concerns about Young’s size, his other skills and talents are so exceptional that his size becomes a non-issue. With his arm strength and ability to make plays with his legs, he can excel in any offensive system. To me, he has the playmaking ability of Kyler Murray and the leadership qualities of Drew Brees. The latter of course is a hall of fame, but both were questioned due to their size.  His leadership qualities and intangibles make him a natural leader on and off the field, and his playmaking ability is simply off the charts. In short, Young has all the tools to become a superstar in the NFL, and the Panthers were wise to make such an aggressive move to secure his services.

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

  • Grade: A

Despite last-minute rumors that the Houston Texans might go with a defensive player with the 2nd overall pick, they ultimately stuck with their plan to select a quarterback, going with the dependable and accurate pocket passer C.J. Stroud. Although he may not have the most dazzling arm or athletic ability, Stroud compensates with his intelligence and savvy on the field. He can make all the necessary throws and is capable of moving in the pocket when needed.

Under the guidance of offensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and quarterbacks coach Bobby Slowik, Stroud is poised to excel in a QB-friendly offense similar to that of the San Francisco 49ers. With a focus on ball control and precision passing, Stroud’s strengths as a traditional pocket passer will be well-utilized in this system. Overall, while Stroud may not have the flashiest skills, his solid abilities and ideal fit in the Texans’ offensive scheme make him a smart choice for the franchise.

3. Houston Texans (from Cardinals): Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

  • Grade: A+

The Texans made a surprising move by taking Will Anderson after selecting C.J. Stroud with the previous pick. They traded up from No. 12 overall with the Cardinals to secure the highly-coveted defensive prospect. Anderson’s playmaking abilities extend beyond his impressive pass-rush skills, making him a cornerstone of the defense for years to come under the guidance of DeMeco Ryans, a former standout linebacker at Alabama.

NFL Draft 2023: Round 1 Grades, Picks 1-10

4. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

  • Grade: A

The Colts continued the trend of teams selecting high-ceiling talent early in the first round and went with the Quarterback on the board with the most upside in Anthony Richardson. With his dazzling arm and athletic ability, he is a perfect fit to be groomed under offensive-minded rookie coach Shane Steichen. Steichen has a proven track record of developing quarterbacks, as he helped turn Jalen Hurts into a highly-paid elite dual-threat QB in Philadelphia. It’s an excellent fit.

5. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

  • Grade: B-

The only reason I add the – is because the Seahawks really need help rushing the passer and Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech as well as Jalen Carter from Georgia were still on the board. But don’t get me wrong, Devon Witherspoon is an athletic freak and they will not regret this pick. The Seahawks added Witherspoon, to play opposite Tariq Woolen as they rebuild that secondary in Seattle.

NFL Draft 2023: Round 1 Grades, Picks 1-10

6. Arizona Cardinals (from Lions through Rams): Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

  • Grade: C

The Cardinals opted for Paris Johnson, a tackle from Ohio State, after trading down. While Johnson is a sound tackle with great athleticism and footwork, it is curious that the Cardinals chose to upgrade their tackle position instead of addressing their huge defensive needs. This decision may have missed an opportunity to add a transcendent disruptor on the defensive side of the ball, which could have been a better fit for new coach Jonathan Gannon.

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

  • Grade: B

Part of me feels like the Raiders went with Wilson over Jalen Carter here mostly because they never planned for Carter to be available and they all agreed on Wilson if he was there. Still, they made a great move by selecting pass rusher Tyree Wilson, one of my favorite athletes in this draft.  Wilson is a freakish athlete who can line up in multiple spots and play the run well. He will be a great addition to the Raiders’ defensive front, working alongside Maxx Crosby and learning from Chandler Jones.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Grade: B-

I absolutely love Bijan Robinson. He has the ability to be a generational RB. He reminds me of Saquaon Barkley when he was coming out. But I’m surprised Atlanta didn’t want to helo their defense here. This was a luxury pick as they aim to recreate the success Arthur Smith had in Tennessee with a heavy focus on the running game. While Robinson is a first-round-worthy talent with explosive potential, it’s questionable whether Atlanta can afford to use such high capital on an already good rushing attack when they have so many other pressing needs.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (from Bears through Panthers): Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

  • Grade: A+

Getting someone this good in the draft at 9th is absolutely absurd. He is arguably the best overall player in the draft and is most likely the best defensive player in the draft. He joins Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean on the front seven and will be groomed behind Fletcher Cox to be a quick penetrator, capable of disrupting many plays in the backfield, whether against the run or pass.

NFL Draft 2023: Round 1 Grades, Picks 1-10

10. Chicago Bears (from Eagles through Saints): Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

  • Grade: B-

The Chicago Bears addressed their urgent requirement for a left tackle to protect Justin Fields, but instead of selecting highly-touted prospects like Johnson, Skoronski, or Jones, they opted for Darnell Wright. Despite being a powerful blocker and showing late improvement in his athleticism, it’s a bit shocking he was taken this early over the other available at his position.

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