The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books, and it was a wild one full of uncertainty, multiple trades, and one major surprise fall.
The 33rd Team Scouting Dept. graded every pick in this year’s first round to give you an idea of how your team did in this year’s draft.
Led by T.J. McCreight, The 33rd Team Scouting Department evaluated nearly 300 players in this year’s class. A former player personnel executive for the Philadelphia Eagles and former director of college scouting for the Indianapolis Colts, McCreight has nearly 25 years of NFL scouting experience.
He is joined in the department by three scouts:
- Kevin Cohn, a former scouting assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars and assistant director of player personnel for the University of Connecticut.
- Justin Casey, who worked for the Arizona Cardinals in football administration and then as the senior player personnel executive for the Montreal Alouettes.
- Evan Pritt, a former scouting assistant for the Eagles and former player personnel assistant for the University of Maryland.
1. Carolina Panthers
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Everyone has been speculating about who the Carolina Panthers would select since they made the bold decision to trade up from the ninth spot in the draft to the first overall pick. In the end, they selected the player who was the presumed top quarterback entering the 2022 college football season in Bryce Young (scouting report). There are major concerns about his slender build, but he has elite field vision, pre-snap command and off-script playmaking abilities.
2. Houston Texans
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Since the consensus started forming around Young as the top pick, there has been wild speculation about what the Houston Texans might do with the second pick. All of the talk about the Texans passing on a quarterback early was just smoke. C.J. Stroud (scouting report) throws the ball with more accuracy, touch and consistency than any of the other quarterbacks in this class.
His performance against Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals alleviated many of the concerns about him playing out of structure. While he’s not a perfect prospect, it would have been difficult for the Texans to go with Davis Mills as their starter again.
>> READ: Texans Make Bold Draft Day Moves
3. Houston Texans
Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
The Texans made a huge move to come up from No. 12. They add a defensive building block in Will Anderson (scouting report) on top of grabbing their new franchise quarterback in Stroud. Anderson may not be a Myles Garrett or Von Miller in terms of freakish bend and explosiveness, but he has been one of the most productive pass rushers in college football while facing SEC competition and having a mark on his back every week.
4. Indianapolis Colts
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
The Indianapolis Colts didn’t have to give up anything to get their quarterback of the future. Anthony Richardson (scouting report) is one of the most athletic quarterbacks to ever enter the NFL. He has the talent and tools for Colts fans to get excited about, but his tape is extremely inconsistent, and he only has one season as a starter. Colts coach Shane Steichen showed he could design an offense around the strengths of Jalen Hurts. Richardson has Jalen Hurts‘ talent and then some, but what has made Hurts great goes far beyond talent.
>> READ: Colts Take Chance on Richardson
5. Seattle Seahawks
Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
This seems a little high for Devon Witherspoon (scouting report), but he has minimal bust potential in a class that lacks blue-chip players. He will likely play nickel corner and bring a needed attitude to their secondary. His size (5-foot-11, 181 pounds) is a little bit of a concern given how physically he plays, but the 12th-man crowd will love the swagger and confidence he plays with. He is going to be a great complement to Tariq Woolen, who the Seahawks stole in the fifth round last year.
6. Arizona Cardinals
*From RAMS VIA LIONS
Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
New Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort is being aggressive in his first draft. Arizona secured a 2024 first-round pick with their first trade out of No. 3, and get the player it had been targeting for the past week. Paris Johnson (scouting report) is a good athlete with rare length for an offensive tackle. It will be interesting to see where they line him up with incumbent left tackle D.J. Humphries as the lone entrenched player in their starting five. Johnson does have experience playing guard, where he lined up at Ohio State in 2021.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson (scouting report) ends up being drafted right in the range that his talent merits. The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t get the production they were hoping for from Chandler Jones when they signed him last offseason, but Wilson can hone his craft working with Jones and two-time Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby. Wilson has a 7’2″ wingspan with some pop and explosion in his game. He’s a bit of a late bloomer, but there are flashes of elite play littered throughout his tape.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
The Atlanta Falcons may get criticized for taking a running back this early, but Bijan Robinson (scouting report) may have been the only true clean blue-chip prospect in this draft. He was the No. 1 player on our big board and is one of the best running back prospects of this generation. He is a blend of smooth elusiveness and power. He is capable of being a difference-maker in the passing game, and he is already functional as a pass protector, which is usually one of the biggest impediments to running backs getting on the field early. On top of that, he has a clean injury history and top-notch personal and football character.
9. Philadelphia Eagles
*From PANTHERS VIA LIONS
Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
The rich get richer. Jalen Carter (scouting report) is the most talented defensive player in this draft. He is dominant and disruptive, a true game-plan wrecker. If he plays up to his potential, he is the type of player that keeps opposing coaches and offensive linemen up at night. His fall was predictable given his off-field concerns and poor pro day performance, but if there was a team in a position to take a gamble on his elite talent, it was the Philadelphia Eagles.
10. Chicago Bears
*From SAINTS VIA EAGLES
Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Darnell Wright (scouting report) is a good player, but No. 10 is high for him. They needed to improve their offensive line, and Wright will do that. He is not an elite athlete, but he has experience at left tackle and right tackle — and he could even kick inside. He is a power player who can maul in the run game, which should be a great fit for their quarterback run game. He opened a lot of eyes with how he dominated Will Anderson in their matchup last season.
11. Tennessee Titans
Peter Skoronski, OG, Northwestern
Peter Skoronski (scouting report) is a technically sound football player. However, his lack of length makes him difficult to project as an offensive tackle in the NFL. Offensive guard is not a premium position you draft this high unless that player is a truly special player and athlete. If Skoronski turns into a perennial Pro Bowl guard, the Tennessee Titans will be vindicated with this pick.
12. Detroit Lions
*From BROWNS VIA TEXANS AND CARDINALS
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Wow. So much for the Detroit Lions not taking a running back in the first round. Jahmyr Gibbs (scouting report) is an explosive player with the ball in his hands, and the Lions must have a specific plan for him. However, they signed David Montgomery in free agency, and they already have an explosive running back in D’Andre Swift. What this team needs is help on defense. The Lions do have four picks left in the first two days.
13. Green Bay Packers
Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
Aaron Rodgers is gone, but the Green Bay Packers still don’t draft an offensive player in the first round to support Jordan Love. However, they did need to address the edge rusher position with Rashan Gary’s injury history and Preston Smith aging. Luka Van Ness (scouting report) was not a starter at Iowa, but he has impressive speed-to-power to collapse pockets and a large tackle radius to corral quarterbacks. Whenever you were watching the Iowa defense last season, he would always pop, even if you weren’t focused on him. He’s going to need to add more to his pass rush arsenal to be a consistent impact player in the NFL.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The Pittsburgh Steelers moved up to No. 14 and land the top tackle on our draft board. The Steelers needed to address their tackle spot. Broderick Jones (scouting report) is a little unpolished, but he has outstanding athleticism and plays with a nasty streak. He should be a great fit.
15. New York Jets
Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State
The offensive line was a bigger need for the New York Jets, but the top linemen were already off the board. The Jets love to roll in pass rushers in waves. Will McDonald IV (scouting report) was 30th on our big board, but he has as much bend and twitch as any pass rusher in this class to go along with 35-inch arms. He was an extremely productive player despite being forced to play inside the tackle in some of Iowa State’s three-man fronts at less than 240 pounds. He will need to play stronger against the run, but he gives excellent pursuit and has some big-time athletic upside.
16. Washington Commanders
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Emmanuel Forbes (scouting report) went in the range that we had him ranked on our board, but it is a bit of a surprise he was taken before Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez. Forbes is an outlier-cornerback prospect at just 166 pounds, but he’s an outlier in ball production as well. He had 13 career interceptions and an FBS record six returned for touchdowns. While his weight is a concern, it did not show up on tape. He has good length and elite recovery speed. He is instinctive and combative in coverage, the type of player who will get under the skin of opposing receivers.
17. New England Patriots
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The New England Patriots traded back, accumulated an extra pick, and to their surprise, Christian Gonzalez (scouting report) was still on the board at No. 17. He was the No. 1 corner on our board. He has top-end size, length and athleticism. He is explosive and silky smooth. His main drawback, while he has the size, he wasn’t always dominant at the catch point.
18. Detroit Lions
Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
The Lions continued to surprise everyone. They had premium draft capital, and they squander it on two non-premium positions. With that being said, Jack Campbell (scouting report) may be a solid starter with surprising athleticism for his size. He can be an imposing figure in passing lanes, stack in the hole against the run and track sideline to sideline. With his height, he can struggle to break down in space vs. smaller quicker skill players.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
Calijah Kancey (scouting report) is a disruptive player, but where does he fit in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ scheme? This pick just doesn’t make sense. Maybe they think Vita Vea can protect him. There is no doubt they needed to bolster their pass rush, but this was not the way. There was hype around Kancey, and he is a fun player to watch, but he is not Aaron Donald.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
One would say it’s easy to nail the draft when you have two first-round picks, and then you see how the Lions executed this year’s draft. Seattle did much better for itself. The Seahawks nabbed a plug-and-play nickel corner with attitude, and now they add Jaxon Smith-Njigba (scouting report). He will complement DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to perfection, providing Geno Smith with a middle-of-the-field separator and chain mover.
21. Los Angeles Chargers
Quentin Johnston, WR, Ohio State
The Los Angeles Chargers needed to add speed on offense, and Quentin Johnston (scouting report) plays even faster than his timed speed (4.49 40-yard dash at TCU’s Pro Day). He has been a polarizing prospect throughout the process, but he is incredibly explosive and is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. He has some head-scratching plays but even more that make you say “wow.” The Chargers get the top receiver on our board. They are adding size to an already big room and a rare prospect with a high ceiling.
22. Baltimore Ravens
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
The Baltimore Ravens get game-changing over-the-top speed to add another weapon for recently re-signed Lamar Jackson. Zay Flowers (scouting report) can run past just about anybody on defense and also shows solid run-after-the-catch ability. He will be a nice complement to Odell Beckham and Rashod Bateman. Size is a bit of a concern for Flowers, but his quickness and ability to separate help dampen those concerns.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Jordan Addison (scouting report) is the purest route runner in this class. He plays fast and has good quickness to separate off the line of scrimmage. The former Biletnikoff winner will get to line up opposite Justin Jefferson and see single coverage looks the majority of the time. He can play inside and outside. He can run past you on the deep ball as well as grind out tough yards underneath.
24. New York Giants
Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Deonte Banks (scouting report) is a physical corner with ideal size and high-level athletic tools. He’s a twitchy player with speed but does not have great ball production. The New York Giants needed help on the back end of their defense and landed a good fit for Wink Martindale’s defense.
*From GIANTS VIA JAGUARS
Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Dalton Kincaid (scouting report) is the best receiving tight end in this draft class. He shows good speed and ability to uncover down the field. The back issue is a bit of a concern, but if Kincaid can stay healthy, the Buffalo Bills gave Josh Allen another young explosive weapon to throw to on offense.
26. Dallas Cowboys
Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
The Dallas Cowboys needed to improve the middle of their run defense so grabbing a defensive tackle makes sense. However, Mazi Smith (scouting report) is more of an athlete than a stout run defender. He has high bench press numbers but needs to be better in the run game. This may have been a reach for Dallas.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
Anton Harrison (scouting report) is the last left tackle with a first-round grade left on our board. With the news of Cam Robinson’s suspension dropping just hours before the draft, this quickly became a need for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Harrison should plug in and start immediately. He has prototype size, athletic feet and plays physically with the ability to move guys in the run game. This is great value for the Jaguars to get a potential franchise left tackle this late in the first round while adding two more picks in the process by moving down from No. 24 to No. 27.
28. Cincinnati Bengals
Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
Myles Murphy (scouting report) is long and brings some more athleticism to the Cincinnati Bengals‘ pass rush from the edge. He was a bit of an underachiever in college and doesn’t blow you away on tape, but he has the upside to be a good player. He fits in nicely with Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson in a room that can get after the quarterback.
29. New Orleans Saints
*From 49ERS VIA DOLPHINS AND BRONCOS
Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
The New Orleans Saints needed to beef up their defensive line with the losses of David Onyemata and Marcus Davenport. Bryan Bresee (scouting report) is a high-motor player who did not play as well later in his college career due to injuries. He also lost his sister early into the 2022 season after a battle with brain cancer. He showed flashes of athleticism, power and eased some concerns by testing well at the combine. He has the ability to play multiple different spots on the defensive line and can be a productive player in the run game and pass rush.
30. Philadelphia Eagles
Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
Didn’t we already say the rich keep getting richer? Give Howie Roseman the Executive of the Year Award again. The Eagles already selected the most dominant defensive prospect in this year’s class, and now they land perhaps the most explosive defensive player in the draft in Nolan Smith (scouting report). Smith may be undersized as a true edge player, but he plays extremely strong, with great leverage and instincts. He also has the versatility to play off the ball and over the tight end in their defense. This is a home run pick for Philadelphia.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State
Felix Anudike-Uzoma (scouting report) brings an interesting dynamic to the Kansas City Chiefs‘ defense. He has bend and explosiveness off the ball and has a nose for the quarterback. The Chiefs’ scouting department did their homework. He was hampered by injuries this year and did not show what he was capable of doing this past season. In 2021, he had much better film when totally healthy. He has tons of upside and should be a better pro player than collegiate player. He will get to the quarterback and make an impact early.