After a wild offseason of franchise-altering player movement, NFL teams built up their rosters in a more traditional way at the end of April: the 2023 NFL Draft. Three potentially […]
After a wild offseason of franchise-altering player movement, NFL teams built up their rosters in a more traditional way at the end of April: the 2023 NFL Draft.
Three potentially franchise-altering quarterbacks came off the board in the first four selections: with Alabama QB Bryce Young heading to the Carolina Panthers with the first overall pick, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud joining the Houston Texans via the second overall pick, and the Indianapolis Colts selected Florida QB Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall pick.
Some teams had high quality picks, and some had a high quantity of picks. Some teams have better drafts than others, but at the end of the day, no team gets worse by adding talent from the top college programs in the country in the draft process.
Read on for my Post-Draft Power Rankings, and if you’d like to debate or discuss any rankings, or want to follow for more NFL content including Picks and Power Rankings, be sure to connect with Sak Sports Blog on Twitter or on Facebook!
The defending Super Bowl champions didn’t hit the most or the biggest home runs in the 2023 NFL Draft, but they didn’t necessarily have to. Just keep adding guys that can do their job, and let Patrick Mahomes do the rest: it’s a strategy that’s worked pretty well so far for the Kansas City Chiefs. One of Mahomes’ most important asset classes, his wide receivers, will see some change though: a season after Tyreek Hill skipped town for Miami, Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster left this off-season. Enter second round pick WR Rashee Rice out of SMU, a “do-it-all” receiver who could provide a nice complement to Kadrius Toney. Kansas City spent its remaining picks on the defensive line, offensive line, and secondary.
Philadelphia Eagles [Post-Free Agency Rank:2]
The second-best team in the NFL from last season only got better in the draft. Georgia DT Jalen Carter is a stud, and will instantly bolster the Philadelphia Eagles’ pass rush. Fellow Georgia Bulldog, edge rusher Nolan Smith, was also nabbed in the first round. Did we mention the Eagles also flipped picks for Lions running back D’Andre Swift? The Eagles got decisively better over draft weekend: a scary prospect for NFC opponents.
Cincinnati Bengals [Post-Free Agency Rank:3]
Roster-wise, last year’s Cincinnati Bengals team was stacked with more high-caliber personnel than the version of the team that appeared in Super Bowl 56: Joe Burrow and company are that close to being the best team in the NFL. Cincinnati used their early picks on potential defensive starters: Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy and Michigan CB D.J. Turner. If any of the late offensive picks (3 WR’s, 1 RB) pan out, Burrow’s high-flying offense could get even better.
Buffalo Bills [Post-Free Agency Rank:4]
Like the Bengals, the Buffalo Bills have an immensely talented roster and have been on the cusp of reaching the Super Bowl for the past few seasons. But championship windows never last forever, and Buffalo spent their top two picks on offensive re-enforcements: Utah TE Dalton Kincaid, who will back up and complement Dawson Knox, and G O’Cyrus Torrence, a physical interior lineman who can buy Josh Allen some more time in the pocket, as well as open up the running game.
San Francisco 49ers [Post-Free Agency Rank:5]
The San Francisco 49ers reached back-to-back NFC Championships with different looking rosters and they will likely have to adapt again in 2023 to remain successful. The quarterback position is sketchy due to injury concerns to both Trey Lance and Brock Purdy, but San Francisco has some of the most skilled players in the league on both sides of the ball. The 49ers spent their first pick on Penn State S Ji’Ayir Brown, but then reached in the third round, selecting kicker Jake Moody. The rest of San Francisco’s draft simply added depth across the board.
Dallas Cowboys [Post-Free Agency Rank:6]
The Dallas Cowboys have been great in the regular season, but just need a little more something to make a true, deep playoff run. I’m not sure the Cowboys 2023 Draft Class, described by some as safe and lackluster, will do that single-handedly, but Dallas did add valuable depth at key positions: going DT, TE, LB, EDGE, OL, CB, and then finally RB, WR.
Baltimore Ravens [Post-Free Agency Rank: 10]
The biggest recent development out of Baltimore is that Lamar Jackson is staying with the team long-term. As long as Jackson stays healthy (a big if,) the Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl contenders: and Jackson has his best offensive arsenal in Baltimore yet. Odell Beckham Jr. joined the team in free agency, The Ravens then spent their first 2023 Draft selection on speedy Boston College WR Zay Flowers. giving Jackson a new target to open up the offense even more. After using that first pick to keep their franchise quarterback happy, the Ravens got down to business, selecting LB Trenton Simpson, EDGE Tavius Robinson, and CB Kyu Blu Kelly to make sure both sides of the ball remain competitive.
New York Giants [Post-Free Agency Rank:8]
New York Giants GM Joe Schoen quietly put together one of the strongest draft classes of 2023, giving second-year head coach Brian Daboll more talent to build off last years NFC Wildcard playoff berth. With their first pick, New York selected lockdown cover corner Deonte Banks out of Maryland. Second round pick C John Michael Schmitz will likely be starting by Week 1, and third round pick WR Jalin Hyatt out of Tennesee gives Daniel Jones another weapon after the Giants already traded for TE Darren Waller this offseason.
Minnesota Vikings [Post-Free Agency Rank: 7]
The Minnesota Vikings had a stellar 13-4 regular season, but fizzled out in just one round in the playoffs after running away with the NFC North title. The Packers, Bears, and Lions will all look different next season, and Minnesota was relatively quiet in free agency. In the draft, the Vikings replaced cut veteran WR Adam Thielen with WR Jordan Addison, selected with the 23rd overall pick. It’s a solid selection, but with one WR in and one out, will it really put the Vikings over the top?
Detroit Lions [Post-Free Agency Rank:9]
The Detroit Lions ended last season on an astronomical rise, nearly sneaking in the the payoffs at 9-8. Detroit didn’t stand pat though, executing a wild draft that will shake up the roster heading in to 2023. The Lions first pick, Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs, was a bit of a surprise, and it allowed Detroit to swing D’Andre Swift over to Philadelphia for more picks. Detroit’s second first round pick was Iowa LB Jake Campbell, who slid a little after being slotted as a top prospect at the position. The Lions also took TE Sam LaPorta and in another shocker: Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker.
New York Jets [Post-Free Agency Rank:13]
Securing Aaron Rodgers (and just about every wide receiver he’s ever played with) ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft was necessary for the New York Jets to have a proper plan of attack. However unlike some recent years, the Jets draft haul was considered pretty ho-hum in 2023. Nevertheless, New York added EDGE Will McDonald IV, C Joe Tippmann, OT Carter Warren, RB Israel Abanikanda, and LB Zaire Barnes: re-enforcing the depth chart across the board.
Jacksonville Jaguars [Post-Free Agency Rank:11]
The Jacksonville Jaguars spent big last offseason in free agency, and while I didn’t love most of the signings (or rather, their dollar amounts) at the time, Trevor Lawrence and company pulled off a late-season run to win the AFC South as well as a playoff game over the Chargers. In 2023 Free Agency, Jacksonville couldn’t be as aggressive. The Jaguars traded back in the first round of the draft, and ultimately ended up with 13 picks over seven rounds. First round pick OT Anton Harrison should make the most immediate impact, but Jacksonville selected players all across the board.
Los Angeles Chargers [Post-Free Agency Rank:12]
On paper, the Los Angeles Chargers should be a Top 10 team, but the way they faded away at the end of last season still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Los Angeles went with TCU WR Quentin Johnston in the first round, adding insurance to Justin Herbert’s receiving unit. The Chargers quite necessarily went defense with their following two selections: DT Tuli Tuipulotu and LB Daiyan Henley.
Seattle Seahawks [Post-Free Agency Rank: 15]
The Seattle Seahawks had excellent draft positioning once again this year after last year’s Russell Wilson trade. Among the 10 selections Seattle made, first round picks CB Devon Witherspoon and WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and second round pick EDGE Derick Hall will all be Day One starters for an up-and-coming Seahawks team that made the playoffs last season. Devon Witherspoon was the draft’s top cornerback prospect, selected fifth overall via a Broncos pick, and Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be a valuable weapon for Geno Smith.
Miami Dolphins [Post-Free Agency Rank:14]
The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first round pick after a tampering violation, and only selected four players in total. But CB Cam Smith and RB Devon Achane could make immediate impacts as second and third round picks, strengthening a Miami team that was already on the rise.
Pittsburgh Steelers [Post-Free Agency Rank: 16]
The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the best-reviewed draft classes of 2023, highlighted by their first two picks: OT Broderick Jones out of Georgia, selected with the 14th overall pick, and CB Joey Porter Jr., son of the NFL All-Pro linebacker player of the same name and selected with the 32nd overall pick.
New Orleans Saints [Post-Free Agency Rank: 18]
The new-look Derek Carr-led New Orleans Saints started their 2023 draft in the defensive trenches, adding Clemson DT Bryan Breese and Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey. Unfortunately, neither is considered a can’t-miss prospect. Third round pick RB Kendre Miller could provide a succession plan, if Alvin Kamara isn’t in New Orleans forever.
Los Angeles Rams [Post-Free Agency Rank: 20]
The Los Angeles Rams had a loaded 14-player 2023 draft class, which was probably needed after last season’s injury woes. G Steve Avila and EDGE Byron Young, the Rams first two picks, should see the field early and often. Los Angeles left no stone unturned in the selection process: nabbing a quarterback, tight end, wide receiver, cornerback, offensive tackle, running back, safety, punter, and defensive tackle.
New England Patriots [Post-Free Agency Rank: 17]
Chess master Bill Belichick got some more tools for his roster in a 12-pick 2023 draft class. At the top, the New England Patriots selected Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez with the 17th overall pick. The Patriots’ next two picks were on the defensive side of the ball as well, with EDGE Keion White and S Marte Mapu. New England even selected a a kicker (Chad Ryland) and punter (Bryce Baringer) in what is probably some genius salary cap move to fill the positions on rookie contracts.
Chicago Bears [Post-Free Agency Rank: 24]
After receiving a king’s ransom from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for the first overall pick, the Chicago Bears got to work. OT Darnell Wright and DT’s Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens will help elevate the roster from the bottom up, and CB Tyrique Stevenson will bolster the secondary. Chicago also loaded up Justin Fields’ offense with RB Roschon Johnson and WR Tyler Scott.
Carolina Panthers [Post-Free Agency Rank: 21]
The Carolina Panthers only made five picks, but they got their guys: first overall pick Bryce Young, Carolina’s quarterback of the future out of Alabama, and complementary WR Jonathan Mingo. Can a Carolina team that showed some grit at the end of last season keep it rolling with some fresh talent? Andy Dalton also provides a valuable veteran presence, and can be the starter in Week 1 if needed.
Washington Commanders [Post-Free Agency Rank: 19]
The Washington Commanders didn’t have a particularly impressive draft, and have a bit of a revolving door at the quarterback position lately. But many outlets are ranking Washington as a bottom of the barrel team, and I simply don’t think that’s the case: an 8-8-1 finish and near-playoff berth last season despite a failed Carson Wentz experiment shouldn’t go overlooked.
Green Bay Packers [Post-Free Agency Rank: 22]
As tradition goes, the Green Bay Packers didn’t go with a flashy WR in the first round, even in the first year of the Jordan Love era, but instead opted for Iowa EDGE Lukas Van Ness. The Packers next three picks were offensive however, with two tight ends (Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft) as well as a wide receiver (Jayden Reed.) Green Bay even got another quarterback side project: Penn State signal-caller Sean Clifford.
Tennessee Titans [Post-Free Agency Rank: 25]
The Tennessee Titans selected dependable OT Peter Skoronski in the first round, but then shocked the NFL by taking first round-talent Kentucky QB Will Levis with the 33rd overall pick. Levis joins a crowded, if not confused, quarterback room with Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis.
Cleveland Browns [Post-Free Agency Rank: 27]
The Cleveland Browns didn’t have a pick until the third round and yet had a solid seven-player draft, starting with Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman. Still, as evidenced by this situation, the Deshaun Watson trade will cripple this franchise for years to come.
Las Vegas Raiders [Post-Free Agency Rank: 23]
The Derek Carr-less Las Vegas Raiders added EDGE Tyree Wilson and TE Michael Mayer in the first two rounds, and both prospects are expected to be NFL-level contributors. Las Vegas got better on draft weekend, but I’m still not completely sure which direction this franchise is headed.
Denver Broncos [Post-Free Agency Rank: 26]
All things considered, the Denver Broncos probably shouldn’t have used their top selection, a second round pick, on a wide receiver. Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims Jr. is an exciting prospect, but Denver had plenty of other holes in 2022. The Broncos next two picks, LB Drew Sanders and DB Riley Moss, should add depth to Denver’s defense.
Arizona Cardinals [Post-Free Agency Rank: 30]
The Arizona Cardinals, much like the Chicago Bears, already have their quarterback of the future, yet had a high draft spot due to injury-riddled season. This allowed Arizona scoop up OT Paris Johnson Jr., EDGE B.J. Ojulari, and CB Garrett Williams. Arizona made nine picks in total, after trading back in the first round, and definitely improved their roster heading in to the 2023-24 season, despite injury concerns with Kyler Murray and trade rumors around Deandre Hopkins.
Atlanta Falcons [Post-Free Agency Rank: 29]
The Atlanta Falcons swung for the fences on explosive Texas RB Bijan Robinson. Spending a high pick on a running back is both risky and somewhat uncommon in today’s NFL, but if Robinson pans out, the Falcons could have a game-breaker on their hands. Second round pick Matthew Bergeron slots in as a potential Week 1 starter on the offensive line.
Houston Texans [Post-Free Agency Rank: 32]
Nothing the Houston Texans could have done would have made them Super Bowl contenders overnight, but pound-for-pound, Houston had one of the best drafts of 2023. Of course, it starts with taking Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud with the second overall pick. But Houston shocked the league by trading in to the third spot in the first round as well to take EDGE Will Anderson Jr. out of Alabama. This one-two punch on the offensive and defensive side of the ball should immediately give Houston a little more relevance, something they didn’t have a ton of last season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers [Post-Free Agency Rank: 28]
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers somewhat interestingly didn’t select any quarterbacks in the 2023 draft. Not risking a high pick on one is sensible, but you would think Tama Bay might throw in a Day 3 project guy with Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Tampa Bay took DT Calijah Kancey in the first round and OT Cody Mauch in the second round, starting in the trenches as they rebuild the team in the post-Tom Brady era.
Indianapolis Colts [Post-Free Agency Rank: 31]
The Indianapolis Colts simply couldn’t pass up on a quarterback with the fourth overall pick, swinging for what some consider to be boom-or-bust prospect Anthony Richardson out of Florida. Richardson may very well be a solid NFL starter, but unlike other Top 5 picks, doesn’t necessarily slot in as a guaranteed Week 1 starter. Indianapolis still had a solid draft after that, selecting CB Julius Brents, WR Josh Downs, and OT Blake Freeland with their next three picks. The Colts added 12 players in total as they begin to overhaul their roster.
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