Because none of the teachers at the schools I attended were willing to give out all A’s and B’s, I’m not that type of grader.
While it’s a nice sentiment to believe that every team did a good-to-great job during the NFL draft, decades of evidence show that this is not the case.
Some teams scored, while others did not.
Here are The Washington Post’s first 2023 NFL Draft ratings for each franchise, with a curve for first-, second-, and third-round choices with a focus on quality and value.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (A+)
Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia), Nolan Smith (Edge, Georgia), Tyler Steen (OT, Alabama), Sydney Brown (S, Illinois), and Kelee Ringo (CB, Georgia) were all selected.
Analysis: If Carter hadn’t dropped to No. 9, no one would have blinked if the Eagles had selected Smith. Instead, Smith (Haason Reddick 2.0) dropped to No. 30, ensuring that a decade of defensive-line dominance will continue. Ringo is the Eagles’ seventh Georgia product in the previous two years.
2. Texans of Houston
A is the grade.
C.J. Stroud (QB, Ohio State), Will Anderson (Edge, Alabama), Juice Scruggs (C, Penn State), and Tank Dell (WR, Houston) are among the top picks.
For months, the question was whether Stroud or Anderson should be ranked second. Answer: Stroud at No. 2 and Anderson at No. 3 (trade up from No. 12 to No. 3). Fortune favors the bold, and it was the draft’s most significant move. Dell caught 23 touchdown catches from the slot.
3. Steelers of Pittsburgh
A is the grade.
Broderick Jones (OT, Georgia), Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State), Keeanu Benton (DT, Wisconsin), and Darnell Washington (TE, Georgia) are among the key selections.
Analysis: After acquiring protection for their young quarterback — always a good idea — the Steelers began the second round by selecting the son of one of their greats. Porter is physically strong, but he only got one interception in college. One of the biggest mysteries is the 6-foot-7 Washington’s tumble to No. 93.
4. New York Giants.
A is the grade.
Deonte Banks (CB, Maryland), John Michael Schmitz (C, Minnesota), Jalin Hyatt (WR, Tennessee), and Eric Gray (RB, Oklahoma) are among the key selections.
GM analysis Joe Schoen spoke on how to utilize draft money to target certain players. He moved up twice, addressed the roster’s four largest needs, and picked three separate players as the Giants’ first-round pick (at Nos. 24, 57, and 73).
5. Seahawks of Seattle
A is the grade.
Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois), Jax Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State), Derick Hall (Edge, Auburn), and Zach Charbonnet (RB, UCLA) were among the key selections.
After dominating the 2022 class, the Seahawks struck again with the top cornerback and receiver. Witherspoon and Tariq Woolen, and Smith-Njigba and D.K. Metcalf, are also terrifying couples. It was strange that they selected a running back in the second round for the second consecutive season, particularly following Kenneth Walker’s rookie success.
6. A- for the New England Patriots
Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon), Keion White (Edge, Georgia Tech), Marte Mapu (LB/S, Sacramento State), and Chad Ryland (K, Maryland) are key picks.
The rest of the league will be disappointed that Gonzalez, a top-10 prospect, fell to No. 17 and predicted first-round pick White fell to No. 46. The flexible Mapu is a traditional Patriots selection. You know how much Bill Belichick enjoyed disrupting the Jets’ plans with a first-round transaction.
Tennessee Titans 7th
The grade is A-.
Important selections include Peter Skoronski (OL, Northwestern), Will Levis (QB, Kentucky), and Tyjae Spears (RB, Tulane).
Some teams were foolish enough to let Skoronski’s short arms steer them away from the best offensive lineman in the class. Some experts project Levis to go as high as No. 4 overall, and he could follow in the footsteps of Jalen Hurts as a second-round steal in line to start in 2024.
A- for the Arizona Cardinals
Paris Johnson Jr. (OT, Ohio State), B.J. Ojulari (Edge, LSU), Garrett Williams (CB, Syracuse), Michael Wilson (WR, Stanford), and Clayton Tune (QB, Houston) are among the top picks.
Analysis: In the first two rounds, new GM Monti Ossenfort made three deals, resulting in an additional 2024 first-round selection, a player the Cardinals wanted (Johnson) at No. 6 instead of No. 3, and Ojulari to solve a pass-rush need. If not for their injury histories, the two third-round choices would have gone higher.
9. Carolina Panthers (B+)
QB is a key pick. Alabama’s Bryce Young, Mississippi’s Jonathan Mingo, Oregon’s D.J. Johnson, and North Carolina State’s Chandler Zavala
All that counts is if Young, the consensus #1 quarterback, improves enough to justify the cash expended in a deal. They followed the rookie QB-WR tandem formula, but Mingo only reached 400 yards once in four collegiate seasons. It was a stretch to trade up in the third round for Johnson.
Buffalo Bills (10)
Dalton Kincaid (TE, Utah), O’Cyrus Torrence (G, Florida), and Dorian Williams (LB, Tulane) are among the key selections.
Kincaid is the red-zone weapon that the Bills were lacking. Torrence is a first-round talent if he can keep his weight under control. And the underappreciated Williams should be able to replace most of Tremaine Edmunds’ yearly 100-plus tackles at a fraction of the expense.
Baltimore Ravens (11th) Grade: B
WR is a key pick. Tavius Robinson (Edge, Mississippi), Zay Flowers (WR, Boston College), Trenton Simpson (LB, Clemson)
The Ravens made another good draft pick. What else has changed? Flowers’ outstanding speed and ability to separate makes him, along with Odell Beckham Jr., one of Lamar Jackson’s top weapons. Simpson, the draft’s top covering linebacker, was a steal at No. 86.
Green Bay Packers (12th)
Lukas Van Ness (Edge, Iowa), Luke Musgrave (TE, Oregon State), Jayden Reed (WR, Michigan State), and Tucker Kraft (TE, South Dakota State) are among the key selections.
The double-tight end draft plan succeeded for the Patriots in 2010 and, to a lesser degree, the Ravens in 2018. After picking defense for the 12th time in their past 13 first-round choices – Van Ness never started a collegiate game — the Packers surrounded QB Jordan Love with youthful weapons to expedite his assessment.
Indianapolis Colts Rating: B
Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida), Julius Brents (CB, Kansas State), Josh Downs (WR, North Carolina), and DT Adetomiwa Adebawore are among the key selections.
Analysis: A boom-or-bust quarterback indicates that this rating is either too high or too low. For years, Richardson will be compared to Titans’ Will Levis and Texans’ C.J. Stroud in his division. As Richardson develops, Downs might be an 80-catch security blanket. After two second-round trades, Brents could be a Week 1 starter on the outside.
Chicago Bears Grade: B-
Darnell Wright (OT, Tennessee), Gervon Dexter (DT, Florida), Tyrique Stevenson (CB, Miami), and Zacch Pickens (DT, South Carolina) are among the key selections.
Yes, those are four potential starters. However, trading from No. 1 to No. 9 and then to No. 10 should result in more than a class that is reliant on the development of two defensive tackles, neither of whom has more than four sacks in any college season.
15. Los Angeles Raiders
The grade is B-.
Tyree Wilson (Edge, Texas Tech), Michael Mayer (TE, Notre Dame), Byron Young (DT, Alabama), Tre Tucker (WR, Cincinnati), and Aidee O’Connell (QB, Purdue) were all selected.
Analysis: Drafting Mayer renders free-agent signings O.J. Howard and Austin Hooper obsolete. It’s surprised they didn’t go after the offensive line or cornerback sooner. Wilson has never had more than seven sacks and is coming off a foot ailment — dangers for a team that has had too many first-round misses recently.
B- for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Calijah Kancey (DT, Pittsburgh), Cody Mauch (OL, North Dakota State), and Yaya Diaby (Edge, Louisville) are among the top picks.
Stop comparing Kancey to Aaron Donald, another tiny Pittsburgh-bred defensive lineman. Nonetheless, he could be a sleeper Rookie of the Year candidate. Mauch’s gap-toothed appearance suggests he should play for the Lightning, but he also has tackle/guard versatility. Diaby is a risk-reward play.
Chargers of Los Angeles
The grade is C+.
Tuli Tuipulotu (Edge, USC), Daiyan Henley (LB, Washington State), and Derius Davis (WR/RET Derius Davis) are key picks.
Analysis: Johnston matches the Chargers’ need for a large, powerful target. Can he overcome his drop issues in order to capitalize on Pro Bowl talent? Is Tuipulotu a good fit, or are they trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole? Henley is a full-fledged linebacker.
Denver Broncos Grade: C+
Important selections include Marvin Mims (WR, Oklahoma), Drew Sanders (LB, Arkansas), and Riley Moss (DB, Iowa).
Mims offers a vertical threat, but the Broncos already have a plethora of young wideouts. Sanders was selected 49 spots lower than the Lions’ Jack Campbell (No. 18), and he may be superior if only for his pass-rushing skills. Moss has 11 career interceptions as a safety/cornerback hybrid.
Detroit Lions Grade: C
Jahmyr Gibbs (RB, Alabama), Jack Campbell (LB, Iowa), Sam LaPorta (TE, Iowa), Brian Branch (S, Alabama), Hendon Hooker (QB, Tennessee), DT Brodric Martin (Western Kentucky) are among the key selections.
Analysis: A weighted D in the first round for two large reaches, and an A on Day 2 for stealing Branch and Hooker. Despite this, they utilized four of the first 68 selections on non-premium positions and one on a backup quarterback.
New York Jets (20th)
C is the grade.
Will McDonald (Edge, Iowa State), Joe Tippmann (C, Wisconsin), Carter Warren (OT, Pittsburgh), and Israel Abanikanda (RB, Pittsburgh) are among the key selections.
Analysis: The Jets were caught off guard by a Patriots deal and were forced to settle with another pass-rusher in their deep rotation rather than an offensive lineman. They have the No. 1 center on their board for 2024 and beyond, but Warren, who missed most of last season due to injury, cannot compensate for that first-round blunder.
Dallas Cowboys (21st)
C is the grade.
Mazi Smith (DT, Michigan), Luke Schoonmaker (TE, Michigan), and DeMarvion Overshown (LB, Texas) are among the key selections.
Analysis: When everyone knows you have a significant need, you get jumped in the first round, as the Cowboys did with TE Dalton Kincaid. Schoonmaker is at least two steps down the ladder. Smith is a good consolation prize, giving inside push to compliment Micah Parson’s off-ball moves.
Washington Commanders number 22.
C is the grade.
Emmanuel Forbes (CB, Mississippi State), Quan Martin (S, Illinois), and Ricky Stromberg (C, Arkansas) are key picks.
Even though Forbes is a rare ball hawk with six career pick-sixes, a 166-pound cornerback is a durability concern. Especially when picked ahead of consensus top-tier CB Christian Gonzalez. According to one Big Ten coach, Martin might be “the steal of the draft.” Stromberg has the potential to be a starter.
Atlanta Falcons Grade: C
Bijan Robinson (RB, Texas), Matthew Bergeron (OT, Syracuse), Zach Harrison (Edge, Ohio State), and Clark Phillips III (CB, Utah) are among the key selections.
What a fantastic fantasy football team! Robinson alongside previous first-round choices Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Otherwise, determining the Falcons’ strategy is difficult. Bergeron may have to relocate inside. Why didn’t they move up to get Will Levis or draft Hendon Hooker?
Los Angeles Rams (24th) Grade: C-
Steve Avila (G, TCU), Byron Young (Edge, Tennessee), Kobie Turner (DT, Wake Forest), and Stetson Bennett (QB, Georgia) are among the key selections.
The Rams grew too nimble, and their first three choices should help them regain some physicality and toughness. As a pass rusher, Young may be a great steal. Bennett (all he does is win) will be tutored by Matthew Stafford, a fellow Georgia graduate.
Cincinnati Bengals (25th)
The grade is C-.
Clemson’s Myles Murphy (Edge), Michigan’s D.J. Turner (CB), Alabama’s Jordan Battle (S), and Purdue’s Charlie Jones (WR).
After losing Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell, and Eli Apple, the secondary need adjustment. Enter two rookies who can fight for starting spots, including the NFL Scouting Combine’s quickest player (Turner). The decision to go with a flashes-only Murphy instead of a tight end was unusual.
Jacksonville Jaguars (26th) Grade: D+
Anton Harrison (OT, Oklahoma), Brenton Strange (TE, Penn State), and Tank Bigsby (RB, Auburn) are among the key selections.
Analysis: Because Cam Robinson is projected to be suspended for PED usage, Harrison seemed like a “need” choice after two first-round trades. Strange (No. 61) was the first player picked who was not ranked in The Washington Post’s Top 100. Bigsby is the ideal partner for Travis Etienne.
Cleveland Browns Rating: D+
Cedric Tillman (WR, Tennessee), Siaki Ika (DT, Baylor), Dawand Jones (OT, Ohio State), and Dorian Thompson-Robinson (QB, UCLA) were among the top picks.
For years, the Browns’ first-round draft capital was diminished by trading for Deshaun Watson. They must capitalize on mid-round choices. Tillman is a risk, but Ika is just what the doctor prescribed for a line in desperate need of a space-eating run-stuffer. Thompson-Robinson is fascinating, but how did he make it to the field?
28. New Orleans Saints (D+)
Bryan Bresee (DT, Clemson), Isaiah Foskey (Edge, Notre Dame), Kendre Miller (RB, TCU), and Jake Haener (QB, Fresno State) are among the key selections.
The Saints needed inside assistance, but Bresee underperformed at Clemson. Foskey is Notre Dame’s all-time sack leader based on effort rather than domination. Haener is friends with starter Derek Carr at Fresno State and has been likened to a young Drew Brees.
Minnesota Vikings (29th) Grade: D
Jordan Addison (WR, Pittsburgh), Mekhi Blackmon (CB, USC), and Jay Ward (CB, LSU) were among the top picks.
Analysis: A 79-pick disparity, widened by a trade-down, weakens a draft class. Addison, the team’s fourth first-round choice in a row, may be the finest route runner. In important games, the secondary was exposed, and there were better play-now choices than Blackmon.
Miami Dolphins Grade: D
Cam Smith (South Carolina CB), and Devon Achane (Texas A&M RB) are key selections.
Analysis: Giving up your first-round choice for interfering with Tom Brady’s free agency is a recipe for disaster. The Dolphins bounced back with Smith, but Achane is an odd decision after Miami re-signed free agents Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and Myles Gaskin.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (D)
Wanya Morris (OT, Oklahoma), Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Edge, Northwestern), Rashee Rice (WR, SMU).
Analysis: The same plan as last year: choose a pass-rusher in the first round (George Karlaftis). Rice’s 41-inch vertical leap will make Patrick Mahomes’ jump balls a lot more entertaining. Morris is only the most recent example of the Chiefs’ disregard for character red flags.
32. San Francisco 49ers Rating: F
Ji’ayir Brown (S, Penn State), Jake Moody (K, Michigan), and Cameron Latu (TE, Alabama) are among the key selections.
Analysis: Due to trades, the 49ers didn’t choose until No. 87, but they were busy from there thanks to a league-high seven compensatory choices. Moody was the first kicker to be selected in the first three rounds since 2016.