Daigle's 2023 AFC Draft Grades

May 02, 2023
Daigle's 2023 AFC Draft Grades

Below you'll find summaries and grades for all the AFC teams following the 2023 NFL Draft.

More NFL Draft-related Content: NFC Draft Grades | 9 Impact Rookies | Round 1 Winners & Losers | Player Profiles | 18 Impact Rookies After Round 1 | Winners & Losers Rounds 2-7

Baltimore Ravens

1 (22) - WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

3 (86) - LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson

4 (124) - EDGE Tavius Robinson, Ole Miss

5 (157) - CB Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford

6 (199) - OG Sala Aumavae-Laulu, Oregon

7 (229) - OG Andrew Vorhees, USC

Overview: Baltimore's front office has catered its offseason towards Lamar Jackson and OC Todd Monken and Thursday proved no different, adding Flowers (5’9/182) to the mix alongside Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham, and Nelson Agholor. Even in stopping Simpson’s slide in the third, the Ravens arguably leave this draft having glossed over their biggest needs; perhaps the team should have invested in an answer across from Marlon Humphrey earlier than Round 5. Friendly reminder this draft class also includes MLB Roquan Smith, who was acquired for second- and fifth-round selections at last year’s trade deadline.

Grade: C

Buffalo Bills

1 (25) - TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah

2 (59) - G O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida

3 (91) - LB Dorian Williams, Tulane

5 (150) - WR Justin Shorter, Florida

7 (230) - OG Nick Broeker, Ole Miss

7 (252) - CB Alex Austin, Oregon State

Overview: Bills swapped the No. 27 overall pick and a fourth-rounder in order to leapfrog Dallas and give Josh Allen yet another option against two-high safeties; 24 in October, Kincaid led the Utes with 70-890-8 receiving as a fifth-year senior who logged 55% of his career snaps from the slot. I expect him to rival for a league-high rate of routes in that area at his position. Given a handful of first-round grades before he flunked his medicals in the final hours, Torrence allowed zero sacks in his lone year with the Gators and will push RG Ryan Bates for the team’s starting job through camp. Williams led the 12-2 Green Wave defense in tackles and sacks, registering a career-high 17 tackles (and Defensive MVP honors) in the team’s Cotton Bown win over Lincoln Riley’s USC program. Given the current state of Buffalo’s roster, this group needs only Kincaid and Williams to hit in year one to be deemed a successful class.

Grade: B-

Cincinnati Bengals

1 (28) - EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson

2 (60) - CB DJ Turner, Michigan

3 (95) - S Jordan Battle, Alabama

4 (131) - WR Charlie Jones, Purdue

5 (163) - RB Chase Brown, Illinois

6 (206) - WR Andrei Iosivas, Princeton

6 (217) - P Brad Robbins, Michigan

7 (246) - CB DJ Ivey, Miami (FL)

Overview: Cincinnati’s plethora of departures on defense led to the team responsibly staying in place and taking a ‘best player available’ approach to its draft. Murphy’s production didn’t leap off the page in his final year, but he remains a traitsy project under DC Lou Anarumo, benching 405 pounds with a 505-pound deadlift and 335-pound power-clean at 13.5% body fat. Turner may not crack the starting lineup out of camp but offers insane 4.26 40-speed that will earn him rotational reps from the boundary. Battle was a necessary addition after the Falcons poached Jessie Bates on a four-year deal. Brown (5’10/209) was day three’s winner among running backs, lacking the pass-pro chops of Samaje Perine but toting 22.6 carries per game over his last two seasons at Illinois. I'm curious where he'll be targeted in dynasty drafts. The team’s tight ends room offers nothing as of May 1, but that does not deter the big-picture high floor of this haul.

Grade: B

Cleveland Browns

3 (74) - WR Cedric Tillman, Tennessee

3 (98) - DI Siaki Ika, Baylor

4 (111) - T Dawand Jones, Ohio State

4 (126) - EDGE Isaiah McGuire, Missouri

5 (140) - QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson

5 (142) - CB Cameron Mitchell, Northwestern

6 (190) - C Luke Wypler, Ohio State

Overview: The Browns basically traded pick Nos. 42 and 74 for Elijah Moore and Cedric Tillman, preparing to build on their usage of three-wide sets with Deshaun Watson under center (76.5% in 2022, per Sports Info Solutions). The prototypical OT who gets drafted for his size, Jones (6’8/374) brings a Senior Bowl-record 7-foot-6 wingspan to the Browns as a project RT. 23-year-old Thompson-Robinson scored 69 touchdowns from scrimmage under Chip Kelly in the past two years. At the end of the day, Cleveland’s 2023 class includes the first- and third-rounder used to acquire Watson. And following last year’s piss-poor debut, the jury is very much out on that decision at this time.

Grades: D+

Denver Broncos

2 (63) - WR Marvin Mims, Oklahoma

3 (67) - LB Drew Sanders

3 (83) - CB Riley Moss, Iowa

6 (183) - S JL Skinner, Boise State

7 (257) - C Alex Forsyth, Oregon

Overview: Denver’s haul includes Sean Payton and Adam Trautman for a 2023 first- and sixth-rounder and a second-round selection in 2024. A reactionary pick (and the first of the Payton era), Mims (5’11/183) threatens Tim Patrick’s role in three-wide sets out the gate, leveraging his 4.38-second 40 into a career 19.5 yards per catch. Sanders was universally downgraded prior to night one for medical reasons but was previously a five-star recruit out of high school who finished with All-American honors. Moss was voted team captain of the same Hawkeyes defense that rostered Lukas Van Ness (No. 13 overall) and Jack Campbell (18). Much like Cleveland’s final grade, I’m setting aside my personal opinion and downgrading Denver’s crop for the ongoing outcome of Russell Wilson’s monumental deal.

Grade: D+

Houston Texans

1 (2) - QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

1 (3) - EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

2 (62) - C Juice Scruggs, Penn State

3 (69) - WR Nathaniel Dell, Houston

4 (109) - EDGE Dylan Horton, TCU

5 (167) - Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama

6 (201) - C Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame

6 (205) - WR Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State

7 (248) - S Brandon Hill, Pittsburgh

Overview: Regardless of how C.J. Stroud performs, he cannot salvage the treasure trove of Nos. 12 and 34, not to mention the first- and third-round picks in 2024 that Nick Caserio hemorrhaged to trade back into the top 10 of what was widely regarded as the flattest group of talent in any draft in some time. The Texans, bereft of playmakers, suddenly have a vision under center but are forced to carry out that plan with only one pick in each of the first three rounds next year. I question the receivers in place elevating Stroud given that all outside of pint-sized ‘Tank’ Dell (5’8/165) are superior run-blocking options with little juice. Securing RG Shaq Mason from the Bucs for a day-three pick is an unheralded move that quietly gives the Texans a stout line (L to R: Laremy Tunsil-Kenyon Green-Juice Scruggs-Shaq Mason-Tytus Howard) in the Ohio State product's first year.

Grade: C+

Indianapolis Colts

1 (4) - QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

2 (44) - CB Julius Brents, Kansas State

3 (79) - WR Josh Downs, North Carolina

4 (106) - T Blake Freeland, BYU

4 (110) - EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

5 (138) - CB Darius Rush, South Carolina

5 (158) - S Daniel Scott, Cal

5 (162) - TE Will Mallory, Miami (FL)

5 (176) - RB Evan Hull, Northwestern

6 (211) - EDGE Titus Leo, Wagner

6 (221) - CB Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M

7 (236) - OT Jake Witt, Northern Michigan

Overview: Chris Ballard has a type: Indianapolis’ last two draft classes (consisting of 20 total players) have averaged 9.48 and 9.49 Relative Athletic Scores headlined by Richardson, the most athletic quarterback in combine history. The Colts also opened day two by trading back twice from No. 35, adding freakish 3-tech Adebawore and Mallory in return, the former who clocked a 4.49 40 at 6’2/282 and reportedly squats 685 pounds and power-cleans 375. Downs (5’9/171) earned a 30.8% target share from NFL prospects Sam Howell (Commanders) and Drake Maye the last two years as the Tarheels’ slot receiver. Brents (6’3/198) registered the second-fastest three-cone (6.63 seconds) and short-shuttle (4.05) times of any player at the combine and will start in Week 1. Either Freeland or Witt will push second-year LT Bernhard Raimann in camp. I would not be shocked if Indy's rookies provide similar production to Seattle’s class last year.

Grade: A

Jacksonville Jaguars

1 (27) - T Anton Harrison, Oklahoma

2 (61) - TE Brenton Strange, Penn State

3 (88) - RB Tank Bigsby, Auburn

4 (121) - LB Ventrell Miller, Florida

4 (130) - EDGE Tyler Lacy, Oklahoma State

5 (136) - EDGE Yasir Abdullah, Louisville

5 (160) - S Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M

6 (185) - WR Parker Washington, Penn State

6 (202) - CB Christian Braswell, Rutgers

6 (208) - S Erick Hallett II, Pittsburgh

7 (226) - OT Cooper Hodges, Appalachian State

7 (227) - DI Raymond Vohasek, North Carolina

7 (240) - FB Derek Parish, Houston

Overview: Being slapped with LT Cam Robinson’s suspension only 24 hours prior to night one, Trent Baalke essentially packaged the Nos. 24 and 25 picks for Harrison, Lacy, Antonio Johnson, and Parish. The last of the highly regarded first-round tackles, Harrison will be 21 throughout his rookie season and allowed only one hit on 425 pass-blocking snaps in his final year with the Sooners. Bigsby has the size (6’0/210) and pedigree (career 15.4 carries per game and 15.4% target share in the SEC) to handle any spot-starts if Travis Etienne were injured. Washington, who destroyed Ohio State for 11-179-1 in October, would have been selected on day two had he been healthy through the draft process. Including Calvin Ridley, who was acquired for a 2023 fifth-rounder and conditional second-/third-round selection next year, the Jaguars inarguably exit this draft as an improved team in a weak division.

Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs

1 (31) - EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah

2 (55) - WR Rashee Rice, SMU

3 (92) - T Wanya Morris, Oklahoma

4 (119) - S Chamarri Conner, Virginia Tech

5 (166) - EDGE BJ Thompson, Stephen F. Austin

6 (194) - DI Keondre Coburn, Texas

7 (250) - CB Nic Jones, Ball State

Overview: An EDGE was top of mind following Frank Clark’s release and Anudike-Uzomah fits the bill as a hyper-productive pass rusher with length (33.5-inch arms). I’m assuming Patrick Mahomes personally lobbied for Rice (6’1/204) after the two trained together in Dallas. Morris, a former five-star recruit saddled behind No. 27 overall pick Anton Harrison in 2021, has above-average traits to push RT Lucas Niang in Week 1. Kadarius Toney is also a part of this draft in exchange for third- and sixth-round picks. Sound.

Grade: B+

Las Vegas Raiders

1 (7) - EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

2 (35) - TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

3 (70) - DI Byron Young, Alabama

3 (100) - WR Tre Tucker, Cincinnati

4 (104) - CB Jakorian Bennett, Maryland

4 (135) - QB Aidan O’Connell, Purdue

5 (170) - S Christopher Smith, Georgia

6 (203) - LB Amari Burney, Florida

7 (231) - DI Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State

Overview: Flunked medically by some teams for November’s Jones fracture, Wilson’s slide rightfully ended for a Raiders defense that ranked 27th in pressure rate last year; Chandler Jones' dead cap hit plummets from an unsheddable $25.6 million in 2023 to $7.2 million next season. That resounding "Let's f*cking go!" you heard on Friday came from Evan Silva after Las Vegas traded No. 38 and a fifth-rounder to move up three spots for Mayer, a Jason Witten clone who lacks pizazz but will lead the team’s tight ends in catches this year. Josh McDaniels moved up twice on day three, sending a fifth- and sixth-round pick to the Patriots for O’Connell, and packaged sixth- and seventh-round picks to jump back into the fifth round for Smith. 25 in September, O’Connell is a pocket sloth who leveraged the team’s quarterback-friendly spread offense into the Boilermakers’ school record for career completion rate (66.6% percent). Nothing special but a couple of fair pieces regardless.

Grade: C+

Los Angeles Chargers

1 (21) - WR Quentin Johnston, TCU

2 (54) - EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu, USC

3 (85) - LB Daiyan Henley, Washington State

4 (125) - WR Derius Davis, TCU

5 (156) - T Jordan McFadden, Clemson

6 (200) - DI Scott Matlock, Boise State

7 (239) - QB Max Duggan, TCU

Overview: Johnston doesn’t necessarily add a downfield threat to Los Angeles’ offense so much as he provides juice underneath, averaging a career 7.7 YAC per reception at 6’3/208. Tuipulotu registered an FBS-high 13.5 sacks in 2022 as a standup EDGE similar to Kwity Paye sans the burst. Henley has only been playing the position since 2020 but is adept at special teams (630 career snaps) and coverage. Adding three Horned Frogs on offense suggests OC Kellen Moore has more pull in the room than perceived. No complaints.

Grade: B-

Miami Dolphins

2 (51) - CB Cam Smith, South Carolina

3 (84) - RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M

6 (197) - TE Elijah Higgins, Stanford

7 (238) - OT Ryan Hayes, Michigan

Overview: Miami’s lack of capital can be attributed to bringing in Bradley Chubb (No. 29 overall), Jalen Ramsay (third-rounder), Tyreek Hill (2023 fourth- and sixth-round picks), and Jeff Wilson (fifth-rounder). Tampering with Tom Brady additionally ensured the Dolphins would not pick before No. 51 this year. Even so, Smith was considered a first-round player early in the draft process and, while a starter on a handful of teams, suddenly has time to develop. Mike McDaniel literally fist pumped in the war room upon adding Achane’s 4.32 40 (at 188 pounds) alongside Jaylen Waddle’s (4.37), Raheem Mostert’s (4.43), Elijah Higgins’ (4.54 at 6’3/235) and Hill’s (4.34). Miami went 1-2 against the Bills by a combined -4 point margin last year and came away from this draft as the more talented team on paper.

Grade: A

New England Patriots

1 (17) - CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
2 (46) - EDGE Keion White, Georgia Tech
3 (76) - S Marte Mapu, Sacramento State
4 (107) - C Jake Andrews, Troy
4 (112) - K Chad Ryland, Maryland
4 (117) - OG Sidy Sow, Eastern Washington
5 (144) - Atonio Mafi, UCLA
6 (187) - WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU
6 (192) - P Bryce Baringer, Michigan State
6 (210) WR Demario Douglas, Liberty
6 (214) - CB Ameer Speed, Michigan State
7 (245) - CB Isaiah Bolden, Jacksonville State

Overview: Much like Parasite, New England’s draft featured twists and turns carefully interwoven between satire. Thursday included the typical Bill Belichick free square in trading back twice only to land Gonzalez, a versatile man/zone coverage corner who was favored for playing across punt and kick return units with the Ducks, and White (6’5/285) offers elite burst (32-inch vertical) and strength (38 bench reps of 225 pounds) that project him as a rotational bull rusher. 'Act II' however begins with the team plucking Andrews, who The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had a seventh-round grade on, and trading up for a kicker in the fourth round. New England also drafted a punter because of course. Though I expect this haul to produce a starter or two, there’s a reason why no one takes the Patriots seriously anymore.

Grade: C-

New York Jets

1 (15) - EDGE Will McDonald IV, Iowa State

2 (43) - C Joe Tippmann, Wisconsin

4 (120) - OT Carter Warren, Pittsburgh

5 (143) - RB Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh

6 (184) - LB Zaire Barnes, Western Michigan

6 (204) - CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse, LSU

6 (220) - TE Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion

Overview: New York’s class includes pick Nos. 13 and 43 dangled to bring Aaron Rodgers over from Green Bay and hand-deliver him two potential starters in Tippman, the class’ highest-ranked C, and Warren from day one. I expect the Jets were sniped for Broderick Jones, who had been linked to the team for weeks before Pittsburgh leaped one spot ahead, but made due with a 239-pound force around the edge in McDonald. Joe Douglas put a bow on this one by shipping No. 170 in the fifth round to the Raiders for No. 204 (sixth round) and 220 (seventh round), that last pick which became 6-foot-7 98th percentile SPARQ freak, Kuntz. I have no idea if Rodgers will be rejuvenated ahead of his age-39 season but the pieces are in place for a run if so.

Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 (14) - OT Broderick Jones, Georgia

2 (32) - CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

2 (49) - DI Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

3 (93) - TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

4 (132) - EDGE Nick Herbig, Wisconsin

7 (241) - CB Cory Trice Jr., Purdue

7 (251) - OG Spencer Anderson, Maryland

Overview: With three picks in the top 49 to start the weekend, the Steelers sent No. 17 overall and a fourth-rounder to the Patriots to leap the Jets at No. 14 for Jones, a 311-pound athlete with 4.97 40-speed (!) and LT experience in Todd Monken’s pro-ready scheme. Porter joins a long list of athletes out of Penn State who warranted first-round capital for their traits alone. Benton led the nation in batted passes as a 6-foot-4 A- and B-gap DT. The team later traded back 13 spots with the Panthers, adding another fourth-rounder and Washington, who matched Michael Mayer with a career 2.75 Yards Per Route Run (on 45 catches) with the Bulldogs. Allen Robinson (from the Rams) is a weak point, but only for a seventh-round swap. What a haul!

Grade: B+

Tennessee Titans

1 (11) - OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern

2 (33) - QB Will Levis, Kentucky

3 (81) - RB Tyjae Spears, Tulane

5 (147) - TE Josh Whyle, Cincinnati

6 (186) - OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland

7 (228) - WR Colton Dowell, Tennessee-Martin

Overview: With far too many holes to fill and the league's largest cap hit looming under center, Tennessee wisely sat on its hands for Skoronski, who will be given ample reps both on the interior and outside to figure out which suits his 4th-percentile arm length more. Levis’ foreseeable slide beyond the first 10 picks restored my faith in humanity as the Titans ate a 2024 third-rounder for the chance at a franchise signal-caller. Spears' long-term career is in doubt with only one ACL and arthritis. And whatever you do, don’t look at the WRs on this team.

Grade: D

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