Grading all 31 first-round picks after Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season

2RT7TR3 Houston Texans defensive end Will Anderson Jr. (51) in action during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

• Eagles' Jalen Carter looks dominant already: The lone first-rounder to earn a 90.0-plus grade in Week 1, Carter put on a show as a pass rusher.

• Zay Flowers sees plenty of action in Ravens debut: The speedy wideout caught nine passes for 78 yards and took two carries.

• C.J. Stroud the best of the first-round QBs in Week 1: It was a relatively uneventful Week 1 for the quarterback trio, and Stroud's 55.2 overall grade was the top mark among them.

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

The 2023 NFL regular season is underway, and we will be checking in weekly on the first-round rookies, grading their performances as well as highlighting who their principal individual opponent was in each game.

Here’s how the group fared in Week 1.

Pick No. 1: Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young

Overall Rookie Grade: 31.4 (Rank: 3/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 1 Snaps: 77

Young’s first game in the NFL was ugly. He was under pressure on more than 45% of his snaps, which didn’t help matters, but his 35.2 clean-pocket passing grade is concerning. Young's two interceptions were nearly identical, as he didn’t see a deep safety breaking on an in route on either of them. Carolina appears to have a long way to go offensively, starting with its quarterback.

Pick No. 2: Houston Texans: QB C.J. Stroud

Overall Rookie Grade: 55.2 (Rank: 1/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 1 Snaps: 77

Stroud drew a tough assignment in Baltimore for his first NFL game. Predictably, he struggled, posting a 55.2 overall grade. Stroud made some nice throws when kept clean but, as was the case in college, struggled mightily under pressure. He posted a 40.4 passing grade and made two turnover-worthy plays when under duress. He’ll need to be better protected and get some help in the running game in the near future.

Pick No. 3: Houston Texans: EDGE Will Anderson Jr.

Overall Rookie Grade: 83.1 (Rank: 1/12)
Principal Opponent: Morgan Moses
Week 1 Snaps: 48

Will Anderson Jr. was as good as advertised in Week 1, racking up five pressures, five defensive stops and a sack. He caused a lot of problems on the right side of Baltimore’s offensive line and overwhelmed any tight end tasked with blocking him. If Anderson consistently plays like he did Sunday, he will be a strong candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Pick No. 4: Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson

Overall Rookie Grade: 49.3 (Rank: 2/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 1 Snaps: 69

Richardson deployed a surprisingly conservative approach Week 1. His 5.3-yard average depth of target was the fifth lowest of any quarterback through Sunday night. This approach kept the Colts in the game, but Richardson just couldn’t make plays downfield. He completed just three of eight passes targeted 10 or more yards downfield and threw a costly interception with the game still in doubt. Richardson is known as a big-play machine, but he struggled to make them in his debut.

Pick No. 5: Seattle Seahawks: CB Devon Witherspoon

Overall Rookie Grade: N/A (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 1 Snaps: 0

Witherspoon didn’t play this week due to a hamstring injury.

Pick No. 6: Arizona Cardinals: OT Paris Johnson Jr.

Overall Rookie Grade: 52.2 (Rank: 2/4)
Principal Opponent: Montez Sweat
Week 1 Snaps: 62

Johnson’s debut at right tackle for Arizona was a mixed bag. He didn’t allow a single pressure against a tough Washington front and finished the day with a 74.8 pass-blocking grade. His struggles were primarily in the run game, especially when tasked with blocking Daron Payne inside.

Pick No. 7: Las Vegas Raiders: EDGE Tyree Wilson

Overall Rookie Grade: 40.5 (Rank: 11/12)
Principal Opponent: Garett Bolles
Week 1 Snaps: 32

Wilson had a rough Week 1, posting a team-low 40.5 overall grade. Used primarily in passing situations, he recorded just a single hurry on 32 pass-rush opportunities. Despite his length, Wilson struggled to shed blocks regardless of his matchup. He’ll likely stay in a rotational role going forward until he can consistently improve that facet of his game.

Pick No. 8: Atlanta Falcons: RB Bijan Robinson

Overall Rookie Grade: 71.2 (Rank: 2/6)
Principal Opponent: Shaq Thompson
Week 1 Snaps: 32

Robinson’s Atlanta debut was electric despite him being in a timeshare with Tyler Allgeier. Robinson finished the day with 83 total yards, five forced missed tackles and a touchdown. The Falcons are keen on taking advantage of Robinson’s receiving ability, as he lined up as a wide receiver on 10 of his 32 snaps. Conventional wisdom may see Allgeier as an obstacle to Robinson’s opportunities, but the Falcons are already finding ways to succeed with both.

Pick No. 9: Philadelphia Eagles: DI Jalen Carter

Overall Rookie Grade: 92.1 (Rank: 1/11)
Principal Opponent: Sidy Sow/Atonio Mafi
Week 1 Snaps: 40

Simply put, it is borderline unfair that Carter fell to Philadelphia in the draft. He was the best player on the field against New England, and his 92.1 overall grade ranked second among all defensive tackles on Sunday. Carter racked up eight pressures, including one sack, repeatedly forcing Mac Jones to get rid of the football early. He is already a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.

Pick No. 10: Chicago Bears: OT Darnell Wright

Overall Rookie Grade: 72.1 (Rank: 1/4)
Principal Opponent: Kingsley Enagbare
Week 1 Snaps: 74

Wright was easily the Bears’ highest-graded offensive lineman in Week 1. While he struggled in pass protection, allowing five pressures, he shined in the run game. His 77.0 run-blocking grade led the team. He showed good athleticism on several occasions, including a nice seal on Khalil Herbert’s touchdown run. Wright is off to a good start. The Bears are hoping the rest of their offense can follow suit.

Pick No. 11: Tennessee Titans: OG Peter Skoronski

Overall Rookie Grade: 81.3 (Rank: 1/7)
Principal Opponent: Nathan Shepherd
Week 1 Snaps: 63

Tennessee’s new left guard was the offense's best player in Week 1. Skoronski did allow a sack to Carl Granderson, but that ended up being his only pressure on the day. Skoronski showcased his ability in a multitude of run schemes, posting an 80.1 run-blocking grade that ranked second among all left guards through Sunday. He showed why he was considered one of the safest bets in the draft.

Pick No. 12: Detroit Lions: RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Overall Rookie Grade: 78.8 (Rank: 1/6)
Principal Opponent: Nick Bolton
Week 1 Snaps: 19

Gibbs played only 19 snaps with nine total touches, but he made the most of it. He recorded 60 total yards on that workload. His best work came on the ground, where he forced six missed tackles and gained 34 of his 42 rushing yards after contact. His speed is lethal and he may be Detroit's most explosive playmaker right now. Their offense will improve as Gibbs’ usage increases.

Pick No. 13: Green Bay Packers: DI Lukas Van Ness

Overall Rookie Grade: 60.8 (Rank: 6/12)
Principal Opponent: Darnell Wright
Week 1 Snaps: 35

Van Ness had a nice pass-rushing debut. His 69.2 pass-rush grade ranked third among rookie edge defenders on Sunday. He finished the game with five pressures, including a sack, and on multiple occasions disallowed Justin Fields from breaking contain. Van Ness struggled in the run game, but his ability as an athletic, wide-nine pass rusher looks like the right fit for Green Bay’s defense.

Pick No. 14: Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Broderick Jones

Overall Rookie Grade: 63.1 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Clelin Ferrell
Week 1 Snaps: 4

Jones filled in at left tackle after Chukwuma Okorafor suffered an injury. He allowed no pressures on four pass-blocking snaps and could be in line to start next week if Okorafor doesn’t recover from his injury in time.

Pick No. 15: New York Jets: EDGE Will McDonald IV

Overall Rookie Grade: MNF
Principal Opponent: MNF
Week 1 Snaps: MNF

*Pending Monday Night Football grades release

Pick No. 16: Washington Commanders: CB Emmanuel Forbes

Overall Rookie Grade: 67.2 (Rank: 3/11)
Principal Opponent: Terry McLaurin
Week 1 Snaps: 40

Forbes acclimated well in his Washington debut, racking up four tackles, two stops and a pass breakup. His one mistake was a busted coverage that went for a 31-yard gain, but he gave up only one other catch for eight yards. Forbes played a mostly sound game, and his development will be fun to watch against better competition.

Pick No. 17: New England Patriots: CB Christian Gonzalez

Overall Rookie Grade: 63.2 (Rank: 8/11)
Principal Opponent: A.J. Brown
Week 1 Snaps: 66

The Eagles made it a point to target Gonzalez early and often. Primarily lined up against A.J. Brown, Gonzalez allowed seven catches on 10 targets for 71 yards. On the bright side, he did break up a pass, notch a sack and earn a 77.4 grade in run defense. The Eagles are an extremely tough first assignment, but Gonzalez definitely didn’t look out of place in New England in Week 1.

Pick No. 18: Detroit Lions: LB Jack Campbell

Overall Rookie Grade: 53.2 (Rank: 3/3)
Principal Opponent: Rashee Rice/Kadarius Toney
Week 1 Snaps: 25

Campbell was used primarily in coverage in his NFL debut, playing 19 coverage snaps compared to six in run defense. He was touted for his coverage ability at Iowa, but Thursday night was more of a mixed bag. He was beaten on a short route by Rashee Rice for a 25-yard gain. He also bit hard on play action late in the game, allowing Kadarius Toney to run wide-open over the middle. It wasn’t all bad, though, as he did have a nice pass breakup against Toney, as well.

Pick No. 19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Calijah Kancey

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.2 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Ed Ingram
Week 1 Snaps: 11

Kancey was used primarily as a pass rusher in Week 1, tallying a hit and a hurry on nine pass rush snaps. His day was, unfortunately, cut short as he re-aggravated a calf injury that bothered him throughout the preseason.

Pick No. 20: Seattle Seahawks: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Overall Rookie Grade: 53.9 (Rank: 18/19)
Principal Opponent: Cobie Durant
Week 1 Snaps: 29

Smith-Njigba and the rest of the Seahawks struggled in Week 1. He hauled in just three catches for 13 yards and also dropped a pass. Seattle failed to create explosive plays against the Rams’ soft zone defense, forcing Smith-Njigba to primarily work close to the line of scrimmage. They need to find ways to get Smith-Njigba in the intermediate zone windows in order to force defenses to play them differently.

Pick No. 21: Los Angeles Chargers: WR Quentin Johnston

Overall Rookie Grade: 62.7 (Rank: 12/19)
Principal Opponent: Eli Apple
Week 1 Snaps: 22

In the midst of a shootout, Justin Herbert didn’t look Quentin Johnston’s way often. Johnston caught just two passes on three targets for 11 yards. It seemed like he should have been more of a factor when Mike Williams briefly exited with an injury, but Johnston wasn’t able to find his rhythm. This offense is likely to be a work in progress, and Johnston should be more involved moving forward.

Pick No. 22: Baltimore Ravens: WR Zay Flowers

Overall Rookie Grade: 78.2 (Rank: 3/19)
Principal Opponent: Steven Nelson
Week 1 Snaps: 54

Flowers was the Ravens’ best skill player against Houston. His nine catches and 78 yards led the team, and he also ran the ball twice for nine yards. His change of direction is incredible, as evidenced by his four forced missed tackles. Flowers lined up all over the field, and his prowess in the screen game (five catches on screens) makes him a dangerous weapon at all times.

Pick No. 23: Minnesota Vikings: WR Jordan Addison

Overall Rookie Grade: 67.4 (Rank: 8/19)
Principal Opponent: Jamel Dean/Ryan Neal
Week 1 Snaps: 36

Addison had a solid debut, hauling in four catches for 61 yards. His 39-yard touchdown was the non-Justin Jefferson highlight of the day for Minnesota. Addison has a good feel for finding space in zone coverage. Minnesota will continue to see a ton of it thanks to Jefferson’s presence, so Addison should continue to produce in a top-heavy receiving corps.

Pick No. 24: New York Giants: CB Deonte Banks

Overall Rookie Grade: 67.0 (Rank: 5/11)
Principal Opponent: Brandin Cooks
Week 1 Snaps: 25

Banks was the Giants’ highest-graded cornerback Sunday. He didn’t allow a catch on two targets and recovered nicely to force Brandin Cooks out of bounds after Cooks had a step on him down the field. Banks was used in press coverage on more than 70% of his snaps and generally was in an excellent position against Dallas’ receivers. It wasn’t a flashy debut by any means, but Banks’ athletic talent jumped off the tape.

Pick No. 25: Buffalo Bills: TE Dalton Kincaid

Overall Rookie Grade: MNF
Principal Opponent: MNF
Week 1 Snaps: MNF

*Pending Monday Night Football grades release

Pick No. 26: Dallas Cowboys: DI Mazi Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 69.7 (Rank: 5/11)
Principal Opponent: Ben Bredeson
Week 1 Snaps: 17

Smith bounced back nicely after a rough preseason, tallying a pressure and a run stop on his 17 snaps. He showed flashes of his quickness and power, bull-rushing Mark Glowinski onto his back in one instance. Smith will see the field more as he improves on his consistency, but contributing to an effort where his team allowed just 63 yards on 21 designed carries is a good start.

Pick No. 27: Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Anton Harrison

Overall Rookie Grade: 51.8 (Rank: 3/4)
Principal Opponent: Kwity Paye
Week 1 Snaps: 70

Harrison allowed a sack and a hurry to Kwity Paye but continued to battle his way to a decent 66.8 pass-blocking grade. The drawback, though, is that Harrison struggled mightily in the run game. His 41.2 run-blocking grade ranked fourth worst among qualified tackles through Sunday. His improvement there would greatly aid a Jaguars unit that finished Week 1 as the league’s worst run-blocking team.

Pick No. 28: Cincinnati Bengals: EDGE Myles Murphy

Overall Rookie Grade: 63.4 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Dawand Jones
Week 1 Snaps: 13

Murphy had a quiet day with an empty stat line on 13 snaps. He didn’t do anything particularly wrong. He just wasn’t in prime situations to make plays. Edge snaps will be hard to come by for Murphy, barring an injury to Trey Hendrickson or Sam Hubbard, but he will continue to work in the rotation.

Pick No. 29: New Orleans Saints: DI Bryan Bresee

Overall Rookie Grade: 47.8 (Rank: 11/11)
Principal Opponent: Daniel Brunskill
Week 1 Snaps: 26

Bresee displayed flashes of his pass-rush talent in his debut, racking up three pressures, including a sack. However, he posted a 45.1 grade as a run defender, a recurring problem from the preseason. Bresee sometimes plays too high and struggles to get off blocks, which could relegate him to a situational pass-rushing role in the near future.

Pick No. 30: Philadelphia Eagles: EDGE Nolan Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 66.3 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Trent Brown
Week 1 Snaps: 7

Smith played a light role in Week 1. He didn’t create any pressure but did turn the corner against Trent Brown once for a pass-rush win. He’ll have to make the most of lean opportunities along a deep Philadelphia defensive front.

Pick No. 31: Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah

Overall Rookie Grade: 68.8 (Rank: 3/12)
Principal Opponent: Taylor Decker
Week 1 Snaps: 19

Anudike-Uzomah enjoyed a nice debut, with his 68.8 overall grade leading all Chiefs defensive linemen in the absence of Chris Jones. On just 19 snaps, he recorded a run stop and two third-down hits that forced Jared Goff to release the football off balance. Anudike-Uzomah’s play strength isn’t quite ready for an every-down role, but he looked like a solid rotational piece in his first game.


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