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NFL Draft Grades: Steelers Ace Test, Lions Don Dunce Cap

With the 2023 NFL Draft finished, it’s time to look at each team’s class and give grades. Did they address their needs? Did they get good value with their picks? The first round of the draft is a good representation of how each team did. Some squads made shocking reaches, while others got fantastic value with sliding prospects.

Check out our grades for the 2023 NFL Draft and how they could impact NFL odds.

NFL Draft Grades: Steelers Ace Test, Lions Don Dunce Cap
Darius Slayton #86 of the New York Giants - Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

Arizona Cardinals: A

The Arizona Cardinals got off to a strong start. NFL expert picks linked offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. to the Cards after reports emerged that quarterback Kyler Murray wanted the Ohio State product. However, the third pick felt too high for Johnson. After a couple of trades, the Cardinals still got Johnson while gaining extra draft capital.

In the second round, Arizona addressed a need an edge rusher with BJ Ojulari of LSU. The Cards got good value on the third day of the draft with linebacker Owen Pappoe of Auburn and defensive tackle Dante Stills of West Virginia. Arizona had one of the strongest classes of 2023.

Atlanta Falcons: B-

The Atlanta Falcons had a solid draft but they seemed too focused on the run game. Bijan Robinson is an elite talent, but taking a running back with the eighth pick is risky. Robinson will be among the sportsbook’s favorites to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, but how long will he last? Offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron will likely fill in a guard spot, bringing a boost to Atlanta’s run-blocking. The Falcons’ run game will significantly improve, but their defense still lacks talent.

Baltimore Ravens: A

Following an excellent 2022 class, the Baltimore Ravens crushed it once again. Quarterback Lamar Jackson’s five-year extension was the biggest news of the week, but don’t overlook this draft class. With the 22nd pick, Baltimore got a difference-maker with wide receiver Zay Flowers. It also got great value in the third round with one of the top linebackers of the class, Trenton Simpson. Guard Andrew Vorhees was an underrated pick. He tore his ACL during draft prep but could become a starter with his excellent run-blocking.

Buffalo Bills: B

The Buffalo Bills took tight end Dalton Kincaid in the first round. Kincaid will bring a boost to the passing game, but the Bills had more pressing needs. Buffalo did well after the first round, led by guard O’Cyrus Torrence in the second round and linebacker Dorian Williams in the third round. If the Bills made a better first-round selection, this could be an A grade.

Carolina Panthers: B-

Quarterback Bryce Young could change the franchise, which is what matters the most. The Carolina Panthers made the correct selection with the No. 1 pick. However, the rest of their class is underwhelming. Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo and edge rusher DJ Johnson were Carolina’s second- and third-round picks. Both have the traits to be successful but need to be developed.

Chicago Bears: A

We could see the Chicago Bears dramatically improve in the 2023 season. In fact, NFL lines have the Bears as the third choice to win the NFC North (+300). Chicago drafted perhaps the second-best offensive tackle of the 2023 class in Darnell Wright. He can protect quarterback Justin Fields’ blindside and adds a mean streak to the run game. The Bears also boosted their defense’s talent with second-round picks defensive tackle Gervon Dexter Sr. and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. Linebacker Noah Sewell was also an excellent value in the fifth round.

— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) April 26, 2023

Cincinnati Bengals: A

I loved the Cincinnati Bengals’ picks through the fifth round. Myles Murphy was good value at No. 28 and will bring versatility and pass-rushing upside. Cincy got perhaps the draft’s most athletic cornerback, DJ Turner II, in the second round. Safety Jordan Battle could have been the best pick out of anyone in the third round. The Bengals needed a safety, and Battle is great in coverage with potential in the box. Wide receiver Charlie Jones and running back Chase Brown were also sneaky picks on day three of the draft.

Cleveland Browns: B

The Cleveland Browns did well considering they did not have a pick until the third round. Wide receiver Cedric Tillman and defensive tackle Siaki Ika were exceptional third-round picks. Tillman gives the Browns a reliable possession receiver and Ika is good against the run with a pass-rushing upside. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson could also develop into a quality backup.

Dallas Cowboys: B+

The Dallas Cowboys did not have a “sexy” draft but they addressed clear needs. Defensive tackle Mazi Smith finally addresses Dallas’ need for a run stuffer and pocket pusher in the middle of its defense. Tight end Luke Schoonmaker felt like a reach in the second round, but his athleticism gives him good upside as a receiver. Linebacker DeMarvion Overshown should be an excellent fit with his range and athleticism. Running back Deuce Vaughn was also an exciting sixth-round pick with his electric ability in the open field.

Denver Broncos: B+

The Denver Broncos had few picks to work with, but they made the most of them. Wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. could become a big-play machine for Denver with his elite athleticism. Linebacker Drew Sanders was a terrific value in the third round, and cornerback Riley Moss and safety JL Skinner have starter potential with their exciting traits.

Detroit Lions: C-

After a turnaround 2022 season, it seemed the Detroit Lions finally had it figured out. We are second-guessing the Lions after their 2023 NFL Draft. Detroit’s first-round selections of running back Jahmyr Gibbs and linebacker Jack Campbell were head-scratching. Both are good players and should be day-one starters. However, Detroit took both players far too high. Fortunately, the Lions bounced back with a strong second round, selecting tight end Sam LaPorta and defensive back Brian Branch. Detroit also got good value in the third round with quarterback Hendon Hooker, who some NFL predictions had as a first-round pick.

Green Bay Packers: B

The Green Bay Packers had one clear goal: Get quarterback Jordan Love more targets. The tight end room was revamped with big, athletic targets in Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. Wide receiver Jayden Reed should be a good fit with his ability to win contested catches. Edge rusher Lukas Van Ness was also a great pick in the first round. Van Ness has all of the traits you want in a pass rusher.

Houston Texans: A-

The Houston Texans traded their 12th and 33rd picks and a 2024 first-rounder and third-rounder for the Cardinals’ third pick. Did the Texans give up too much? Defensive end Will Anderson Jr. fills Houston’s need for a premier edge rusher, and the 2024 defensive line class could be far weaker, especially at the top. The Texans could have turned their franchise around with this class, led by quarterback C.J. Stroud and Anderson. Wide receiver Tank Dell was another great pick in the third round. The NFL’s latest line dropped Houston’s odds to win the AFC South from +900 to +800.

Indianapolis Colts: A+

After becoming nearly unwatchable last season, the AFC South should be exciting in the 2023 season. The Indianapolis Colts had one of the best drafts. Anthony Richardson has the highest ceiling among quarterbacks in the 2023 class. In the second round, the Colts added 6-foot-3 cornerback Julius Brents, who was drawing some first-round hype. Josh Downs fills the need for a slot wide receiver, and defensive tackle Adetomiwa Adebawore was perhaps the best pick of the fourth round.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B-

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a decent draft. Offensive tackle Anton Harrison was not an exciting pick, but it filled a clear need after losing Jawaan Taylor in free agency. Tight end Brenton Strange seemed like a reach in the second round. The Jags made several impressive picks in the later rounds, including running back Tank Bigsby in the third, safety Antonio Johnson in the fifth, and wide receiver Parker Washington in the sixth.

Kansas City Chiefs: C

Rookies made a huge impact on the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl run. They could lack that in the 2023 season after an underwhelming draft. Edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah was a solid first-round selection and gives Kansas City more pass-rushing depth. Wide receiver Rashee Rice in the second round was the Chiefs’ best pick. Rice could be an immediate impact as an all-around receiver with ability after the catch.

Las Vegas Raiders: A-

The Las Vegas Raiders crushed it with their first two picks. Edge rusher Tyree Wilson was too talented to pass on at No. 7. Wilson’s physicality and length should be an excellent pairing with edge rusher Maxx Crosby. The Raiders drafted one of the top tight ends in the class Michael Mayer in the second round. They also did well on day three with the selections of cornerback Jakorian Bennett, quarterback Aidan O’Connell, and safety Christopher Smith II.

Los Angeles Chargers: C

The Los Angeles Chargers drafted wide receiver Quentin Johnston with the 21st pick. This felt like the wrong pick with the electric Flowers on the board. The Chargers could have used more speed with the ability to work in the middle of the field. Instead, they took another big-bodied receiver that has similar skill sets to Mike Williams. Edge rusher Tuli Tuipulotu of USC was Los Angeles’ best pick of the draft.

Los Angeles Rams: B+

With a first-round pick, the Los Angeles Rams did well. Guard Steve Avila was an excellent pick in the second round. He can play guard or center and should be big a boost to the Rams’ offensive line. Edge rusher Byron Young of Tennessee was also a terrific pick in the third round. Los Angeles lacked edge rushing in the 2022 season, and Young has an exciting upside. The Rams continued to get good value in the later rounds, like cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and running back Zach Evans in the sixth.

Miami Dolphins: B

The Miami Dolphins had only four 2023 draft picks. Good luck making much noise with that capital. However, the Dolphins did a good job, specifically with their second and third-round picks. Miami got exceptional value with cornerback Cam Smith in the second and running back Devon Achane in the third.

Minnesota Vikings: C

The Minnesota Vikings took wide receiver Jordan Addison with the No. 23 pick. He should be a good fit alongside wide receiver Justin Jefferson. However, the Vikings continue to overlook their weak defense. Taking a cornerback in the first round would have been the better choice. Minnesota did not pick again until the fourth round. The Vikings attempted to address their secondary with defensive backs Makhi Blackmon and Jay Ward, but neither will be immediate quality starters. According to Las Vegas odds, Minnesota’s chances to win the NFC North went from +250 to +275.

New England Patriots: A-

The New England Patriots seem to make interesting picks every year. Most of the time, New England ends up with underwhelming classes. However, the Pats did well in 2023. They got fantastic value with their first two picks – cornerback Christian Gonzalez and edge rusher Keion White. I was not a fan of linebacker Marte Mapu in the third round, but many believe his versatility will be a great fit in New England. The Patriots drafted some potential steals as well, like wide receiver Kayshon Boutte in the sixth round.

New Orleans Saints: A

The New Orleans Saints’ defensive line is scary after drafting defensive tackle Bryan Bresee and edge rusher Isaiah Foskey in the first two rounds. In the third round, the Saints took running back Kendre Miller, who is a great fit with Alvin Kamara. Quarterback Jake Haener also has starter upside and should be a quality backup. Wide receiver A.T. Perry in the sixth round could end up as one of the steals of the 2023 NFL Draft.

New York Giants: A+

It is amazing how quickly the New York Giants have turned around. They had one of the best drafts hands down. You cannot get much better than the Giants’ first three picks. They started with Deonte Banks, one of the most athletic cornerbacks in 2023. In the second round, New York filled its dire need for a center with John Michael Schmitz, who was a borderline first-round selection according to NFL betting odds. The Giants also added a vertical threat in the third round with wide receiver Jalin Hyatt.

New York Jets: C

The New York Jets’ first-round pick could have been their worst selection of the draft. Edge rusher Will McDonald IV at No. 15 felt far too high. Instead of reaching, the Jets could have traded down while gaining draft capital. New York improved with its next two picks, taking center Joe Tippmann and offensive tackle Carter Warren.

Philadelphia Eagles: A

The Philadelphia Eagles are getting out of hand at this point. After losing defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, the Eagles’ defensive line could be even better after drafting defensive tackle Jalen Carter and edge rusher Nolan Smith. The Eagles got the best player in the draft with the ninth pick, and Smith was selected at No. 30 despite being a top-15 prospect on most big boards. Philly continued to land more steals with safety Sydney Brown in the third round and cornerback Kelee Ringo in the fourth. The Eagles’ odds to win the NFC East shifted from +115 to +105.

Pittsburgh Steelers: A+

The AFC North could be the best division in football in the 2023 season. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the worst team in the division, but they had the best draft among all NFL teams. In the first round, Pittsburgh made a wise trade-up to get offensive tackle Broderick Jones. The Steelers made perhaps the best pick of the second round with cornerback Joey Porter Jr. Pittsburgh continued to make tremendous picks, including defensive tackle Keeanu Benton in the second round and tight end Darnell Washington in the third round.

San Francisco 49ers: C

The San Francisco 49ers started strong, selecting safety Ji’Ayir Brown with the 87th pick. Then, the 49ers made one of the most surprising picks of the draft with kicker Jake Moody at No. 99. San Francisco took many raw prospects that need to be developed. Brown and linebacker Dee Winters of TCU could be the 49ers’ best picks.

Seattle Seahawks: A+

The Seattle Seahawks have another terrific draft haul. They had an outstanding first round with cornerback Devon Witherspoon at No. 5 and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba at No. 20. Seattle also has a two-headed monster in the backfield after selecting running back Zach Charbonnet in the second round. Center Olu Oluwatimi in the fifth round could also be one of the steals of the draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A-

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a strong draft through the first three rounds with defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, offensive lineman Cody Mauch and edge rusher YaYa Diaby. Tampa Bay’s offense could struggle in the 2023 season, but the defense could improve with instant-impact rookies joining the defensive line.

Tennessee Titans: B+

The Tennessee Titans went all offense in the 2023 NFL Draft. That’s right, all six picks were spent on offense. It makes sense; Tennessee’s offense has lacked everything outside of running back Derrick Henry. With the 11th pick, the Titans added a potential premier tackle in Peter Skoronski. Quarterback Will Levis falling to the second round was one of the biggest stories of the draft. Tennessee scooped up a signal-caller with a high ceiling. In the third round, the Titans took one of 2023’s top running backs, Tyjae Spears.

Washington Commanders: C

The Washington Commanders made a lot of gambles in the draft. With the 16th pick, Washington took cornerback Emmanuel Forbes. NFL betting lines had Forbes as a borderline first-rounder, so going this high was a surprise. Safety Jartavius Martin felt like a reach in the second round. The Commanders ignored their offense for too long and will hope center Ricky Stromberg or tackle Braeden Daniels can become immediate impacts.

Before placing a bet on the NFL game, it’s important to check the latest NFL lines and NFL Vegas odds to make an informed decision.

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