The first round of the 2023 Draft was uneventful for the Miami Dolphins, who chose to stay put, waiting at pick 51. The first night still had a lot to offer for Dolphins fans who could sit back and relax as the drama unfolded for the other teams on the clock. Like most years, there were plenty of great surprises, shocking pick swaps, and head-scratching selections. Here are my grades on the first day of the NFL Draft.

1: Carolina Panthers 

Bryce Young

Quarterback, Alabama: A

They didn’t mess it up. Young is the clear best quarterback in the class and the only player worth trading up to the first overall pick. There is not much to say other than that the number one pick was without much surprise. The revolving door at the most valuable position finally ends for Carolina. Now to build a team around him. 

2: Houston Texans 

C.J. Stroud

Quarterback, Ohio State: C+

The Ohio State star had a bumpy road to the draft. At one point, he was the favorite to be the number one overall pick, but late reports about his S2 Cognition test scores sent him plummeting on several boards. But the Texans, surrounded by more rumors than nearly every other team in the league, remained committed. Stroud has great zip on the ball and way more size than Bryce Young. Personally, I was not crazy about Stroud when it felt clear that Houston’s guy was Young. I had a different player in mind for Houston, but the Texans wouldn’t leave him on the board for long…

3: Houston Texans via Arizona Cardinals 

Will Anderson

Linebacker, Alabama: A-

HOU GETS: 3, 105

ARI GETS: 12, 33, ‘24 1st, ‘24 3rd

This was a slam dunk pick, getting a blue-chip pass rusher right where he belonged. Unfortunately, Houston gave up a draft haul for him, but they had picks to spare. Anderson will be the franchise player in Houston for years to come, and the Texans can rest easy knowing the best defender on this year’s is now on the roster. 

4: Indianapolis Colts 

Anthony Richardson

Quarterback, Florida: B

Richardson is the highest-upside quarterback prospect in the class, with more raw athleticism than Stroud and Young combined. Richardson, however, needs a lot of polish, so it’s a shame there’s no veteran quarterback here to mentor him, but the sky is the limit for Indy and their new leader. After years of trying to make things work with old veteran signings, the Colts finally found a replacement for Andrew Luck. 

Dolphins Draft Cam Smith and Devon Achane

5: Seattle Seahawks

Devon Witherspoon

Cornerback, Illinois: B+ 

Seattle patched up their defense with a top-10 player; who can complain? Jalen Carter and Tyree Wilson were slightly higher-ranked prospects, but Witherspoon is a top-ranked defensive back in the class. This is a great pick to help bring their defense back to what it used to be and makes the Seahawks instantly better. 

6: Arizona Cardinals via Detroit Lions

Paris Johnson

Offensive Tackle, Ohio State: B


DET GETS: 12, 34

Arizona moved back into the top 10 almost as fast as they left it. Paris Johnson was the consensus top lineman, but trading up and still passing on Carter and Wilson was a bit of a head-scratcher. However, the Cardinals can rest easy knowing they have a ready-to-go starter at left tackle to keep Kyler Murray safe when he returns and plenty of extra picks after trading with the Texans earlier. 

7: Las Vegas Raiders 

Tyree Wilson

Defensive End, Texas Tech: A

The board could not have fallen better for the Raiders, who got a top-three talent on defense with incredible upside. Vegas will feature a brutal pass rush for offenses to try and handle for years to come. The Raiders still need a tackle, but with the best one off the board and an elite defensive end still available, the Raiders had an amazing pick. 

8: Atlanta Falcons 

Bijan Robinson

Running Back, Texas: B

Bijan Robinson is the single best player and the safest pick in the draft, and Atlanta clearly just took the best player available. Robinson is a 1300-yard rusher from day One who will be tough to stop in tandem with the other top-ten weapons Atlanta has amassed over the years. Still, the Falcons had far more pressing needs and a decent run game already last year. The fit is a little weird, but Bijan is undoubtedly worth a top-10 pick. 

9: Philadelphia Eagles via Chicago Bears

Jalen Carter

Defensive Tackle, Georgia: A+


CHI GETS: 10, ‘24 4th

Howie Roseman does it again! The Eagles gave up practically nothing to get a top draft talent that had no business even being available at 9th overall. The value is outrageous and Philly replaces their biggest offseason loss in Javon Hargrave. The Eagles front office can pop the champagne and celebrate making the best trade and pick of the Draft. 

10: Chicago Bears via Philadelphia Eagles 

Darnell Wright

Offensive Tackle, Tennessee: C

CHI GETS: 10, ‘24 4th


Not only did Chicago get peanuts for swapping picks with Philly, but they then passed on the second and third-highest-ranked tackles in Peter Skoronski and Broderick Jones. Wright is still a starting-grade lineman, but this is a heck of a reach to make when better prospects are still available. Passing on Carter for maybe the fourth-best tackle and not even getting an extra pick this year is a tough pill to swallow. 

Instant Reaction on Dolphins Drafting Smith and Achane

11: Tennessee Titans 

Peter Skoronski

Offensive Tackle, Northwestern: B+

Skoronski was the top-ranked lineman according to several experts, so for Tennessee to land him after two other tackles were already taken is a huge score. Finding a replacement for Taylor Lewan was not supposed to be this easy. The Titans fill one of many big holes and add a strong foundational piece that can immediately take to the field. 

12: Detroit Lions via Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans

Jahmyr Gibbs

Running Back, Alabama: F

DET GETS: 12, 34


What the heck? Some had a low first-round grade on Gibbs, but this one is just puzzling. 12th overall is a huge reach for the second-best running back and will leave Lions fans frustrated as the top defenders remain on the board for someone else to take. At least Detroit netted a very high second-round pick in the process. 

13: Green Bay Packers 

Lukas Van Ness

Defensive End, Iowa: C+

Van Ness shows a lot of promise as a pass rusher and should give the Packers’ defense some teeth next season, but passing on their choice of receiver here was a bad move. Jordan Love will need some weapons, and a top receiver could have helped him a lot in his first year as the starter. Green Bay mistakenly continues its tradition of ignoring offensive weapons in the first round at all costs. 

14: Pittsburgh Steelers via New England Patriots 

Broderick Jones

Offensive Tackle, Georgia: A


NE GETS: 17, 120

The going rate for a first-round pick swap was not too high this year, and Pittsburgh seized that to move up for Kenny Pickett’s pass protection as well as a blocking lane for Najee Harris. Jones should help to improve Pittsburgh’s offensive play more than any other player available here. This was one of the best moves of the night, and Steelers fans can sleep easy knowing how affordable the trade-up was. 

15: New York Jets

Will McDonald IV

Defensive End, Iowa State: D-

I decided that I was only going to give out one A+ and one F grade apiece, which is the only reason the Jets got a D- for this decision. This pick was the biggest reach of the night. Granted, the board did not fall kindly for New York, who many expected to pursue an offensive tackle for Aaron Rodgers, but they had the chance to do something about it, and do anything but take a player that would have certainly been available for them on Day Two at pick 43. McDonald IV was taken ahead of several far better pass rushers. Dolphins, Bills, and Patriots fans should be happy about this selection. 

16: Washington Commanders

Emmanuel Forbes

Cornerback, Mississippi State: D+

This was another overreach. Washington looked past players like Christian Gonzalez, Deonte Banks, Joey Porter Jr., and more to reach for what many had regarded as around the 5th best corner in the class. This is a bad value move when there was so much more to be had. Washington did need a cornerback, but Forbes will forever be compared to the player who immediately followed him. 

17: New England Patriots via Pittsburgh Steelers 

Christian Gonzalez

Cornerback, Oregon: A

NE GETS: 17, 120


Gonzalez was the first or second-best corner, depending on who you asked in this year’s class, and did not stand much chance of making it into the back half of the first round. New England traded back and still got the best player on the board when they were originally on the clock. Gonzalez has shutdown corner potential and was an absolute steal. Bill Belichick had his best first round in years.

18: Detroit Lions

Jack Campbell

Linebacker, Iowa: C-

I like Campbell as a player a lot. He’s the best inside linebacker in the draft by a healthy margin. But what is the value of drafting him with the 18th overall pick? Not good. Campbell can produce immediately, and Detroit is still flush with picks, which mitigates this huge reach just a little. With concerns in the secondary or the perfect chance to replace T.J. Hockenson right there, this selection does not sit well. 

19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Calijah Klancey

Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh: B-

Tampa Bay begins its rebuild by beefing up on the defensive line. DT was not their most pressing need, but outside of the still-untouched wide receiver group, Klancey was one of the top prospects available at the pick. Undersized defensive linemen have been hit or miss in the pros, but Klancey inspires a lot of confidence. 

20: Seattle Seahawks 

Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Wide Receiver, USC: A

I had a hunch a receiver would go to Seattle at 20, but I never expected them to get their pick of the litter. JSN was snuck by other receiver-needy teams like Green Bay, allowing Seattle to get their top guy for the second time in Day One. Geno Smith should be thrilled. 

21: Los Angeles Chargers 

Quinten Johnston

Wide Receiver, TCU: B+

Los Angeles added fresh hands to their receiver group with the big-bodied wideout from TCU. The Chargers reinforce their dangerous passing game as Justin Herbert will have another exciting weapon to work with this fall, and they got their man without having to reach for him. 

22: Baltimore Ravens 

Zay Flowers

Wide Receiver, Boston College: B+

The run on receivers continues! Flowers’ tight route running and blistering speed will instantly provide a much-needed boost to a lackluster receivers room in Baltimore. Pairing him up with the recently acquired Odell Beckham Jr. should help Lamar Jackson tremendously in the passing game. 

23: Minnesota Vikings 

Jordan Addison

Wide Receiver, USC: B+

Adam Thielen’s replacement falls nicely into the Vikings’ lap as the fourth WR in a row goes off the board. The Vikings had trade-back rumors surrounding them leading up to the draft, but the gap between Addison and the next-best receivers was pretty wide. Minnesota has a deadly duo with Addison and Justin Jefferson now that will be tough for most teams to cover. 

24: New York Giants via Jacksonville Jaguars 

Deonte Banks

Cornerback, Maryland: B-


JAC GETS: 25, 160, 240

The Jaguars traded back for the first time of the night with the Giants, who moved up for some extra help in the secondary while only giving up fifth and seventh-round picks to do so. Banks has amazing speed for his size, and the Giants will have a lot to look forward to if he can hit his ceiling. This wasn’t a critical need, but New York lands one of the better available players left. 

25: Buffalo Bills via Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants

Dalton Kincaid

Tight End, Utah: C+


JAC GETS: 27, 130

Kincaid was the top tight end on many boards, and Buffalo did not want to wait around to see if Dallas would take him or not. The fourth-round selection was a small price to pay to move up. But this pick still is not great in my eyes. The Bills had more pressing issues elsewhere and there were good linemen on both sides of the ball that could have helped a lot more. 

26: Dallas Cowboys

Mazi Smith

Defensive Tackle, Michigan: C

Dallas could have gone several different ways with this pick. Top tight ends, linemen, and pass rushers were all available. Smith fills a need right away, which is good, but it feels like the Cowboys let Kincaid slip through their fingers. Smith should be a nice piece to clog up running lanes inside, but with players like Nolan Smith and Brian Bresee still on the board, I cannot help but feel like Dallas whiffed here. 

27: Jacksonville Jaguars via Buffalo Bills

Anton Harrison

Offensive Tackle Oklahoma: A-

With reports that Cam Robinson is facing a PED usage suspension, the Jaguars saw their need for a tackle skyrocket. But the Jaguars didn’t just address their need; they added a fourth, fifth, and seventh as well in the process. Cornerback is still a top priority, and Cam Smith or Joey Porter Jr. could have fit in nicely here, but there is not much to complain about in Jacksonville right now. 

28: Cincinnati Bengals 

Myles Murphy

Defensive End, Clemson: B

There is nothing at all wrong about this pick. Murphy is a first-round talent that will give the Bengals’ pass rush some help. Running back or tight end would have been ideal, but the backs went early, and the ends are mostly all sliding. Cincinnati can tackle those positions on Day Two. 

29: New Orleans Saints 

Brian Bresee

Defensive Tackle, Clemson: A-

The Saints dealt away Sean Payton earlier this offseason to get back into the first round and got excellent value out of it. Bresee is a clear first-round talent, and New Orleans fills a big gap on defense who had little business being available this late in the night. The Saints had to feel good about the Clemson standout falling safely to them. 

30: Philadelphia Eagles 

Nolan Smith

Linebacker, Georgia: A-

Another awesome pick by the Eagles, who just went with the best player available. Smith has rare speed and agility that he put on full display at the combine. Philadelphia’s defense is quickly becoming a Bulldogs family reunion. The Eagles continue to invest in the league’s best pass rush, and so far it has continued to pay out for them. 

31: Kansas City

Felix Anudike-Uzomah

Defensive End, Kansas State: B

Day One draws to a close with a fine selection. Anudike-Uzomah was one of those guys that could have gone anywhere between picks 25 and 40, so Kansas City drafted him right where he belonged. He should help the Chiefs to keep the pressure on the other top quarterbacks in the AFC. A receiver to replace JuJu Smith-Schuster would have been ideal, but after the run of four in a row earlier, it makes sense why the defending champions passed for now.