Many NFL teams came away with quality rookie classes in the 2023 NFL Draft, but what were the best overall selections from each round? Here, we run through the draft, from Rounds 1 through 7, and make our choices.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts
I’m a big fan of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson, but Richardson’s landing spot with Shane Steichen is a particularly exciting accelerant for his growth. In Indianapolis, he has the rocket-powered mobility and rocket arm to take over the league.
Christian Gonzalez, CB, New England Patriots
On my board, the Patriots walked out of Round 1 with the best CB prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Christian Gonzalez might not be extra with his physicality, but he’s a rare size-speed athlete with quickness, fluidity, keen eyes in zone, and true playmaking potential.
Dalton Kincaid, TE, Buffalo Bills
I mocked Dalton Kincaid to Buffalo earlier in 2023, and made the clarification: He’s not just a TE for Josh Allen. He’s a weapon.
Kincaid is an explosive, flexible separator, and a high-level RAC threat with his contact balance, plus elite coordination and hand strength.
Brian Branch, DB, Detroit Lions
Whatever you think of the Lions’ first round, they made up for it with Brian Branch. Branch can be an elite nickel with his press-man footwork, physical edge, fluidity, and ball skills, and he has projected versatility across the secondary alongside C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
Jayden Reed, WR Green Bay Packers
Jayden Reed is the perfect complement to Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in Green Bay’s offense. He brings similar vertical speed but also has the sharp route-running skills, versatility, and elite conversion ability to help Jordan Love acclimate as a starter.
Rashee Rice, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
If he can stay healthy, Rashee Rice has tremendous three-level upside in the Chiefs’ offense. At 6’1″, 204 pounds, with near-33″ arms, he’s a high-level RAC threat with his explosiveness, twitch, and density, and he overwhelms DBs at the catch point.
Cedric Tillman, WR, Cleveland Browns
Cedric Tillman was my WR3, and the Browns got him midway through Round 3. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, Tillman has an impressive blend of burst, foot speed, and alpha ability at the catch point, but he’s also a nuanced, flexible separator across from Amari Cooper.
Josh Downs, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Josh Downs is a perfect fit to play the slot role between Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce. Not only is Downs an explosive athlete and a high-level separator with his spatial awareness, but he’s also unnaturally consistent converting past his frame for high passes.
Tank Bigsby, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
With a stable NFL offensive line, Tank Bigsby could erupt at the NFL level. He has the size to be a volume back at 5’11”, 215 pounds, and he’s supremely flexible, an adaptable runner with spry short-area agility, vision, and seam-stretching speed.
Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL, Indianapolis Colts
Adetomiwa Adebawore had no business lasting to Day 3 on the virtue of his tools alone. At 6’2″, 282 pounds, with 34″ arms, he’s a freak athlete whose power can be devastating off the snap. Play Adebawore at 5-tech on early downs, and let him wreak havoc at 3-tech as a pass rusher.
Clark Phillips III, CB, Atlanta Falcons
Clark Phillips III may be undersized at 5’9″, 184 pounds, but he has the profile to be a starting slot DB between A.J. Terrell and Jeffrey Okudah. Phillips’ ability to read and react, and ultimately convert at the catch point, will be a welcome addition to Atlanta’s defense.
Isaiah McGuire, EDGE, Cleveland Browns
Isaiah McGuire was a top-50 prospect on my board. At 6’4″, 268 pounds, with 34″ arms and high-end burst, his power profile is obvious. But he also has the bend, active hand usage, and relentlessness in pursuit to stay productive.
Darius Rush, CB, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts got three very good CB prospects in Julius Brents, Jaylon Jones, and fifth-rounder Darius Rush. Rush was just outside my top 50. He has it all from a traits perspective — 4.36 speed, 33″ arms, snappy fluidity, and the ball skills of a former WR.
SirVocea Dennis, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This pick flew under the radar, but especially with Devin White trade rumors swirling and Lavonte David aging, I like it a lot. SirVocea Dennis is an absolute banshee in the box, with elite explosiveness (41″ vertical), proportional length (33″ arms), and physicality.
Christopher Smith, DB, Las Vegas Raiders
One knock on the Raiders’ draft is that they didn’t address the secondary soon enough, but Christopher Smith has the profile to be a solid glue guy. He’s not an elite athlete, but Smith has the functional mobility and football IQ to play the slot or match in space.
Kei’Trel Clark, CB, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals might’ve scored two starters at CB in Garrett Williams and Kei’Trel Clark. I think Clark can be your slot defender from Day 1. He’s a feisty competitor with searing closing burst, corrective mobility, and route identification skills.
A.T. Perry, WR, New Orleans Saints
A.T. Perry was just outside my top 50, so to get him in Round 6 is incredible value. At around 6’4″, 200 pounds, Perry has the length to drape over defensive backs at the catch point, while also bringing size-defying burst, flexibility, and nuance as a route runner.
Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Houston Texans
The Texans got Tank Dell for Stroud, but an even better value get at wide receiver was Xavier Hutchinson in Round 6. Hutchinson is a quality rotational WR right away with his size, hands, and release work. Don’t be surprised if his reliability earns him more volume.
Carrington Valentine, CB, Green Bay Packers
Carrington Valentine needs to mature more as a player with his discipline in both man and zone. But with 4.44 speed, elite explosiveness and twitch, over 32″ arms, and smothering physicality, he has the tools to be an eventual starter.
Cory Trice, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Cory Trice was a Day 2 prospect on my board, who likely fell to Round 7 because of medicals. He’s outrageously fluid for his 6’3″, 206-pound frame, and he offers exciting man-zone versatility and aggression.
Moro Ojomo, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
Moro Ojomo is another Round 7 selection who scored a Day 2 grade on my board. At 6’3″, 292 pounds, with massive 34 1/2″ levers for arms and elite explosiveness off the snap, Ojomo has rare tools for the Eagles to mold.
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