Grading all 31 first-round picks after Week 11 of the 2023 NFL season

2T8JDH3 Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

• C.J. Stroud can't be stopped: While he did throw three interceptions this week, Stroud is guiding the Texans ever closer to a playoff spot with his stellar play.

• Will McDonald IV flashes potential on limited snaps: Among his 12 snaps were two pressures and a run stop. His speed off the edge gave both Buffalo tackles problems in pass protection.

• It's never too early to gear up for the 2024 NFL Draft: PFF has you covered throughout the college football season. Click here for our 2024 big board.

Estimated Reading Time: 13 minutes

Week 11 gave us another excellent performance from C.J. Stroud, as well as solid weeks from several first-round cornerbacks.

As always, we’ll continue to track every first-rounder’s progress and their principal opponents as the season progresses.

Pick No. 1: Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young

Overall Rookie Grade: 49.0 (Rank: 6/6)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 11 Snaps: 59
Week 11 Grade: 49.9

Young predictably struggled behind a pass-blocking unit that allowed a dismal 62.2% pressure rate. Despite the unit's struggles, he posted a reasonable 65.4 passing grade through the first three quarters before committing two turnover-worthy plays with the Panthers down multiple scores in the fourth. Young hasn’t played well, but Carolina’s 30th-ranked pass-blocking unit isn’t doing him any favors.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 83.7 (Rank: 1/6)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 11 Snaps: 66
Week 11 Grade: 80.9

Despite throwing three interceptions for the first time in his career, Stroud managed to make enough winning plays to beat Arizona. His chemistry with fellow rookie Tank Dell is incredible. That was displayed on Stroud’s deep touchdown throw after he was initially moved off his spot. He throws the deep ball with incredible touch and now ranks third in the NFL with a 97.1 deep passing grade.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 77.5 (Rank: 1/13)
Principal Opponent: Paris Johnson Jr.
Week 11 Snaps: 40
Week 11 Grade: 64.0

Anderson gave fellow rookie Paris Johnson Jr. and quarterback Kyler Murray fits all day. He racked up seven pressures, including a sack, and forced Murray to move from the pocket several times. No other Texans player had more than two pressures. Anderson also posted a solid 73.4 run-defense grade. His rematch against Jaguars first-rounder Anton Harrison looms large next week in a huge divisional game.

Pick No. 4: Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson

Overall Rookie Grade: 52.2 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 11 Snaps: 0
Week 11 Grade: N/A

Richardson suffered a shoulder injury in Week 5 and is out for the season.

Pick No. 5: Seattle Seahawks: CB Devon Witherspoon

Overall Rookie Grade: 84.8 (Rank: 1/20)
Principal Opponent: Demarcus Robinson
Week 11 Snaps: 67
Week 11 Grade: 82.7

Witherspoon was dominant again this week, posting a team-high 82.7 overall grade. He excelled in every facet, grading above 70.0 in run defense and coverage. He also sacked Matthew Stafford on a slot blitz on the second play of the game. Witherspoon’s newfound role in the slot has been well documented by now, but his impact has been incredible. Among 73 players with at least 100 snaps at slot cornerback, Witherspoon owns the sixth-highest grade in the NFL.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 51.7 (Rank: 6/6)
Principal Opponent: Will Anderson Jr.
Week 11 Snaps: 61
Week 11 Grade: 51.9

Johnson had a rough day in Houston, allowing five pressures for the second time in three weeks. Three of those pressures came from fellow rookie Will Anderson Jr. His play in the run game is even more concerning, as he earned three negative grades en route to a 46.4 run-blocking grade. His season-long 45.9 run-blocking grade is currently the lowest among all players with at least 200 snaps at right tackle.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 41.3 (Rank: 13/13)
Principal Opponent: Terron Armstead
Week 11 Snaps: 19
Week 11 Grade: 59.9

Wilson played sparingly but posted his second-best grade of the season against Miami. His best work came in the run game, where he made two stops en route to a 69.4 grade. He still isn’t quickly shedding blocks, but he has been more active in recent weeks in the run game and has made at least one run stop in three of the past four games.

Pick No. 8: Atlanta Falcons: RB Bijan Robinson

Overall Rookie Grade: 65.2 (Rank: 7/7)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 11 Snaps: 0
Week 11 Grade: N/A

Atlanta was on a bye this week.

Pick No. 9: Philadelphia Eagles: DI Jalen Carter

Overall Rookie Grade: 90.5 (Rank: 1/12)
Principal Opponent: Joe Thuney
Week 11 Snaps: 43
Week 11 Grade: 73.9

Carter continued his streak of recording at least one quarterback pressure in every game he has played in. He finished with three hurries and two stops, all while nearly coming away with an unprecedented interception on a spike.

Pick No. 10: Chicago Bears: OT Darnell Wright

Overall Rookie Grade: 60.8 (Rank: 2/6)
Principal Opponent: Aidan Hutchinson
Week 11 Snaps: 75
Week 11 Grade: 49.1

Wright struggled all day with Aidan Hutchinson on the edge. All four of his allowed pressures were to Hutchinson, including the game-sealing strip sack that Hutchinson turned into a safety. Wright has allowed multiple pressures in every game this year and seems to have hit a wall in the run game, as well. Over the past three weeks, Wright owns a 43.9 run-blocking grade.

Pick No. 11: Tennessee Titans: G Peter Skoronski

Overall Rookie Grade: 61.6 (Rank: 2/12)
Principal Opponent: Roy Robertson-Harris
Week 11 Snaps: 40
Week 11 Grade: 64.2

Tennessee’s offensive line struggled again this week, but they can’t lay the blame on Skoronski. He didn’t allow a single pressure against Jacksonville, and his 85.0 pass-blocking grade was by far his best of the season. He was one of just five guards this week to not allow any pressure.

Pick No. 12: Detroit Lions: RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Overall Rookie Grade: 74.7 (Rank: 2/7)
Principal Opponent: T.J. Edwards
Week 11 Snaps: 36
Week 11 Grade: 71.4

Gibbs posted his highest receiving total of the season against Chicago, hauling in six receptions for 59 yards, both ranking second on the team behind Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Lions are starting to use Gibbs in an Alvin Kamara-esque check-down role. Gibbs’ 37 receptions rank fourth among all running backs. He plays a crucial role in Detroit’s offense even though he is in a timeshare with David Montgomery.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 62.9 (Rank: 6/13)
Principal Opponent: Rashawn Slater
Week 11 Snaps: 12
Week 11 Grade: 61.9

Van Ness tied a season-low with just 12 snaps played against the Chargers. He was productive, though, coming away with two stops on four run-defense snaps. The lack of playing time may have been game plan-specific, as Green Bay rode with Rashan Gary and Preston Smith on the edges even more than usual.

Pick No. 14: Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Broderick Jones

Overall Rookie Grade: 62.8 (Rank: 1/6)
Principal Opponent: Ogbo Okoronkwo
Week 11 Snaps: 58
Week 11 Grade: 65.0

Jones has solidified his hold on the right tackle position in Pittsburgh and is now the highest-graded rookie tackle in the NFL. Though he did allow a sack to Ogbo Okoronkwo, Jones held up nicely against a tough Browns front. His 65.0 overall grade was his second best of the year, and he’s allowed only four pressures across 98 pass-blocking snaps at right tackle.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 76.9 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Dion Dawkins
Week 11 Snaps: 12
Week 11 Grade: 82.9

On what was an otherwise horrendous night for the Jets, McDonald finished as the team's highest-graded player in Week 11. Among his 12 snaps were two pressures and a run stop. His speed off the edge gave both Buffalo tackles problems in pass protection. His first career tackle for loss was also impressive, as he blew by Quintin Morris to make a tackle on Ty Johnson in the backfield. With their season now fully in the doldrums, the Jets may be wise to give their first-rounder more exposure moving forward.

Pick No. 16: Washington Commanders: CB Emmanuel Forbes

Overall Rookie Grade: 52.9 (Rank: 16/20)
Principal Opponent: Isaiah Hodgins
Week 11 Snaps: 43
Week 11 Grade: 74.3

Forbes bounced back with a solid effort after being ejected early in Week 10. While he did allow three catches for 32 yards, he also collected four tackles and two pass breakups. Forbes has played with much better fundamentals and positioning over his past two full games. Since Week 9, Forbes' 87.9 grade ranks fourth among qualified cornerbacks and his five pass breakups lead the NFL.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 80.8 (Rank: 2/20)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 11 Snaps: 0
Week 11 Grade: N/A

Gonzalez suffered a torn labrum in Week 4 and is likely out for the season.

Pick No. 18: Detroit Lions: LB Jack Campbell

Overall Rookie Grade: 45.7 (Rank: 3/4)
Principal Opponent: DJ Moore
Week 11 Snaps: 46
Week 11 Grade: 44.0

Campbell struggled in coverage again this week, allowing three receptions for 30 yards and missing two tackles on Cole Kmet. This continues to be a theme for Campbell, and he now owns a 37.2 coverage grade on the season, second worst among qualified linebackers.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 52.7 (Rank: 10/12)
Principal Opponent: Spencer Burford
Week 11 Snaps: 32
Week 11 Grade: 52.0

Kancey created a team-high three pressures against San Francisco in Week 11, though Brock Purdy got rid of the ball each time before Kancey could impact the throw. Kancey also had his trademark struggles in the run game, posting a 43.5 run-defense grade.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 61.6 (Rank: 11/15)
Principal Opponent: Jordan Fuller
Week 11 Snaps: 44
Week 11 Grade: 66.9

Smith-Njigba had a routine day against the Rams, catching three passes for a total of 40 yards. His lone highlight came on an excellent contested catch up the seam over Jordan Fuller. Smith-Njigba hasn’t produced at a high volume, but he has created an explosive play in seven straight games.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 58.0 (Rank: 13/15)
Principal Opponent: Carrington Valentine
Week 11 Snaps: 55
Week 11 Grade: 51.0

Johnston caught just two of his six targets in Week 11, gaining 21 yards in the process. The nadir of his day was a killer drop on the Chargers’ final drive after he beat Carrington Valentine on a go route. That play would’ve gotten Los Angeles at least into field goal range to tie the game. Johnston’s 0.75 yards per route run is currently the eighth-lowest mark among qualified wide receivers.

Pick No. 22: Baltimore Ravens: WR Zay Flowers

Overall Rookie Grade: 73.1 (Rank: 6/15)
Principal Opponent: DJ Turner II
Week 11 Snaps: 64
Week 11 Grade: 74.3

Flowers set the tone early against Cincinnati with a huge gain on a nasty whip route in the slot. That play set up the Ravens’ first touchdown in a game they never trailed in. Flowers’ stat line should’ve looked better, as he used his blazing speed to score a 68-yard touchdown on a screen. Unfortunately, the play was negated by a holding penalty. With Mark Andrews possibly out for the season, Flowers’ continued production will be vital to Baltimore’s Super Bowl chances.

Pick No. 23: Minnesota Vikings: WR Jordan Addison

Overall Rookie Grade: 71.5 (Rank: 7/15)
Principal Opponent: Pat Surtain II
Week 11 Snaps: 70
Week 11 Grade: 68.5

Addison had a modest night against a Denver defense that is suddenly playing reasonably well. He picked up 44 yards on three receptions, two of which were against Patrick Surtain II. Josh Dobbs seems to have a better rapport with Minnesota’s tight ends in his tenure with the team. Addison, however, continues to grind and currently ranks third among all rookies with 646 receiving yards.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 47.2 (Rank: 19/20)
Principal Opponent: Jahan Dotson
Week 11 Snaps: 81
Week 11 Grade: 66.6

The Giants finally took some pressure off Banks and played primarily zone coverage against Washington. That worked to his advantage, as he posted his best grade since Week 5. Of course, he was beaten in man coverage by Jahan Dotson for an eight-yard touchdown, but he allowed just one short catch on the day. This schematic change should stay in New York for the benefit of the team and their first-round pick, who had consistently been put in bad positions in shadow coverage.

Pick No. 25: Buffalo Bills: TE Dalton Kincaid

Overall Rookie Grade: 68.6 (Rank: 2/4)
Principal Opponent: Quincy Williams
Week 11 Snaps: 51
Week 11 Grade: 71.9

Kincaid continued his hot streak under new offensive coordinator Joe Brady. He hauled in six catches for 46 yards, moving the chains four times in the process. He and Khalil Shakir made key plays, as they ideally should, against a Jets defense that is tough against outside receivers. Kincaid now ranks fourth among tight ends with 51 receptions. His presence as a chain-mover is incredibly important for an offense trying to find consistency.

Pick No. 26: Dallas Cowboys: DI Mazi Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 54.3 (Rank: 9/12)
Principal Opponent: Chandler Zavala
Week 11 Snaps: 19
Week 11 Grade: 71.6

Smith shined as a pass-rusher against Carolina this week, posting an 87.7 pass-rush grade. He generated two pressures on just eight pass-rush snaps. The better of the two was when he blew by Chandler Zavala to hit Bryce Young as he just got to the top of his drop. He was pushed well off the ball a couple of times in run defense, but it’s encouraging to see Smith occasionally use his athleticism to make splash plays. He just needs to put together more complete efforts to earn more playing time.

Pick No. 27: Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Anton Harrison

Overall Rookie Grade: 55.2 (Rank: 4/6)
Principal Opponent: Harold Landry III
Week 11 Snaps: 71
Week 11 Grade: 59.8

Harrison allowed multiple pressures for the third straight week against Tennessee. He was also beaten on five other pass-rush reps. Harrison looks flat-footed at times, and the Titans’ edge rushers took advantage, beating him with multiple moves and stunts to his inside. Harrison will be in the spotlight against Will Anderson Jr. next week as the Jaguars and Texans battle for first place in the division.

Pick No. 28: Cincinnati Bengals: Edge Myles Murphy

Overall Rookie Grade: 53.7 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Morgan Moses
Week 11 Snaps: 28
Week 11 Grade: 53.7

With Sam Hubbard out due to injury, Murphy played a season-high 28 snaps on Thursday in Baltimore. He picked up two hurries and a run stop but also missed a tackle on a Keaton Mitchell carry. The experience is good for him, but Murphy has yet to consistently show he can shed blocks and win on the edge.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 51.3 (Rank: 11/12)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 11 Snaps: 0
Week 11 Grade: N/A

New Orleans was on a bye this week.

Pick No. 30: Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Nolan Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 47.7 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Jawaan Taylor
Week 11 Snaps: 5
Week 11 Grade: 57.6

Still yet to eclipse 10 snaps in a game this season, Nolan Smith stayed off the stat sheet across three run-defense snaps and two pass-rushing snaps.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 57.4 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 11 Snaps: 7
Week 11 Grade: 61.4

Anudike-Uzomah made one tackle across seven snaps against the Eagles. His workload has significantly decreased from earlier in the season, when he was playing upward of 15 snaps per game.


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