Grading all 31 first-round picks after Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season

2RTK9DK New England Patriots' Christian Gonzalez against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

• Falcons' Bijan Robinson already putting on a show: A true dual threat, he racked up 172 total yards in Week 2, forcing five missed tackles along the way.

• Patriots' Christian Gonzalez leads the way in Week 2: His 90.9 overall grade was the top mark among all qualified cornerbacks this past week.

• Colts' Anthony Richardson impresses before injury: He earned a 73.2 grade for his efforts before exiting with a concussion.

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

With their debuts out of the way, the NFL’s first-round rookies are into the meat of their first season. We’ll continue to check in on their performances and principal opponents each week.

Pick No. 1: Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young

Overall Rookie Grade: 40.8 (3/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 2 Snaps: 59
Week 2 Grade: 57.2

Young made one big-time throw and three turnover-worthy plays on Monday Night Football in Week 2. It was a better performance for him — but still not one conducive to winning games. His 7.1% turnover-worthy play rate on the season ranks third worst among quarterbacks.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 60.7 (Rank: 1/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 2 Snaps: 84
Week 2 Grade: 65.7

Stroud dropped back more than 50 times for the second straight week and produced mixed results. He looked solid from a clean pocket but folded under pressure again. Stroud is currently ranked 12th in the NFL with a 79.3 clean-pocket passing grade. His 31.0 passing grade under pressure ranks second worst, though. Stroud will have to improve under duress and take care of the football as the season wears on.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 72.1 (Rank: 1/12)
Principal Opponent: Braden Smith
Week 2 Snaps: 41
Week 2 Grade: 56.0

Anderson had an ordinary day in Week 2, posting a 56.0 overall grade. He did rack up two pressures and a run stop. He had limited opportunities when pass rushing, given Anthony Richardson’s quick release and mobility. He occasionally struggled to match Braden Smith’s play strength and earned his first two negatively graded plays of the season in run defense.

Pick No. 4: Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson

Overall Rookie Grade: 55.3 (Rank: 2/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 2 Snaps: 18
Week 2 Grade: 73.2

Richardson played only 18 snaps before suffering a concussion, but he did showcase his trademark athletic ability. He rushed for 35 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries. Richardson was again safe in the passing game, averaging a 2.9-yard average depth of target in Week 2. Despite that low figure, Richardson still committed a turnover-worthy play for the second straight week. His injury puts his status for Week 3 in doubt.

Pick No. 5: Seattle Seahawks: CB Devon Witherspoon

Overall Rookie Grade: 57.4 (Rank: 6/11)
Principal Opponent: Josh Reynolds
Week 2 Snaps: 66
Week 2 Grade: 57.4

Witherspoon played every snap at left cornerback for Seattle after missing Week 1 due to an injury. He was beaten in coverage three times for 64 yards and a touchdown where he kept his eyes in the backfield too long watching a trick play develop. On the positive side, he did record his first career pass breakup and posted a 75.2 run-defense grade with two stops.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 58.8 (Rank: 2/4)
Principal Opponent: Jihad Ward
Week 2 Snaps: 64
Week 2 Grade: 65.7

Johnson showed improvement this week with a 65.7 overall grade. He struggled a bit in pass protection, allowing two hurries and losing four other pass-blocking reps. He did, however, improve in the run game with three positively graded blocks across 29 such snaps after having none last week. His contributions helped the Cardinals rush for more than 150 yards on the day.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 35.3 (Rank: 12/12)
Principal Opponent: Dion Dawkins
Week 2 Snaps: 38
Week 2 Grade: 39.2

Wilson struggled mightily for a second straight week, putting up a team-low 39.2 overall grade. He failed to record any pressure on 22 pass-rush snaps and had four negatively graded run-defense snaps while also missing a tackle. Wilson repeatedly failed to get off blocks from Dion Dawkins and the Bills’ tight ends.

Pick No. 8: Atlanta Falcons: RB Bijan Robinson

Overall Rookie Grade: 86.1 (Rank: 1/6)
Principal Opponent: Quay Walker
Week 2 Snaps: 59
Week 2 Grade: 88.2

Through two weeks, Robinson is easily the highest-graded running back in the NFL. A true dual threat, he racked up 172 total yards, forcing five missed tackles along the way. His 6.2 yards per carry ranks second behind Christian McCaffrey among running backs with at least 20 carries. Robinson is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL already.

Pick No. 9: Philadelphia Eagles: DI Jalen Carter

Overall Rookie Grade: 90.2 (Rank: 1/12)
Principal Opponent: Ezra Cleveland
Week 2 Snaps: 28
Week 2 Grade: 64.8

It was a more normal week for Carter after his record-setting debut. He posted a 64.8 overall grade on his 28 snaps. Despite the mediocre grade, Carter still came away with three pressures and made two run stops on just three run-defense snaps. His playmaking ability is off the charts, and he has only one play with a negative grade through two games.

Pick No. 10: Chicago Bears: OT Darnell Wright

Overall Rookie Grade: 67.3 (Rank: 1/4)
Principal Opponent: Shaquil Barrett
Week 2 Snaps: 52
Week 2 Grade: 58.2

Following a solid showing in Week 1, Wright was mediocre in Week 2, posting a 58.2 overall grade. His lowlight was being badly beaten outside by Shaquil Barrett for a sack. It was one of three times Barrett had his number on the day, struggling with his speed rush and counter move inside. Wright’s job doesn’t get any easier this week. He may see a bit of Chris Jones, who played 23 snaps at or over the right tackle in Week 2.

Pick No. 11: Tennessee Titans: OT Peter Skoronski

Overall Rookie Grade: 81.3 (Rank: 1/9)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 3 Snaps: 0
Week 2 Grade: N/A

Skoronski did not play this week due to illness.

Pick No. 12: Detroit Lions: RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Overall Rookie Grade: 66.5 (Rank: 4/6)
Principal Opponent: Jordyn Brooks
Week 2 Snaps: 32
Week 2 Grade: 56.0

Gibbs’ role in Detroit’s offense continues to expand. He finished Week 2 with 14 touches for 56 total yards. Although he struggled in the run game with just 17 yards on seven carries, he did have a team-leading seven catches on nine targets. Damaging his grade is a drop on a slant route that would likely have gone for an explosive play had he held on. Despite his up-and-down day, Gibbs will continue to be an integral part of the Lions’ offense.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 66.3 (Rank: 5/12)
Principal Opponent: Kaleb McGary
Week 2 Snaps: 18
Week 2 Grade: 71.6

Van Ness played limited snaps again in Week 2, but his 71.6 overall grade ranked third on the team. He had a nice pressure against Kaleb McGary that was negated on the stat sheet due to a penalty elsewhere. He also showed excellent quickness on his lone run stop, knifing between McGary and all-world guard Chris Lindstrom for a tackle for loss. Small yet meaningful contributions like this will earn Van Ness more playing time.

Pick No. 14: Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Broderick Jones

Overall Rookie Grade: 63.1 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 2 Snaps: 0
Week 2 Grade: N/A

Jones did not play in Week 2. He is currently the primary backup tackle in Pittsburgh.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 65.7 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 2 Snaps: 0
Week 2 Grade: N/A

McDonald was a healthy scratch this week.

Pick No. 16: Washington Commanders: CB Emmanuel Forbes

Overall Rookie Grade: 48.5 (Rank: 10/11)
Principal Opponent: Courtland Sutton
Week 2 Snaps: 44
Week 2 Grade: 36.4

Forbes struggled badly against Denver in Week 2, allowing four catches for 86 and posting a paltry 25.7 run-defense grade. He also missed two tackles and committed a penalty in coverage. On the bright side, he collected his first career interception and broke up another pass. The Broncos made it a point to target Forbes, and they did so more often than any other Commanders defender.

Interestingly, they repeatedly targeted him on out routes. On three targets on such plays, he allowed two catches and committed the penalty. He’ll look to adjust on the fly against a tough Buffalo team next week.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 82.6 (Rank: 1/11)
Principal Opponent: Tyreek Hill
Week 2 Snaps: 63
Week 2 Grade: 90.9

Gonzalez could not have drawn tougher matchups in his first two games, facing Philadelphia and Miami. He excelled against the latter, producing a 90.9 grade that led all qualified cornerbacks in Week 2. He out-jumped Tyreek Hill for an interception while playing his only rep of the game at free safety. He didn’t allow a reception to Hill and let up only one catch for 15 yards to Jaylen Waddle. He may be New England’s best cornerback right now.

Pick No. 18: Detroit Lions: LB Jack Campbell

Overall Rookie Grade: 56.5 (Rank: 4/4)
Principal Opponent: D.K. Metcalf
Week 2 Snaps: 23
Week 2 Grade: 61.1

Campbell was mediocre in limited work this week, as evidenced by his 61.1 overall grade. He allowed two catches for 21 yards and a first down. He was active with five total tackles but is used primarily in coverage packages to maximize his skill set.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.2 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 2 Snaps: 0
Week 2 Grade: N/A

Kancey did not play in Week 2 due to injury.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 55.2 (Rank: 11/11)
Principal Opponent: Brian Branch
Week 2 Snaps: 40
Week 2 Grade: 57.5

Smith-Njigba had another relatively quiet day in Week 2, catching five passes for 34 yards. He has been Seattle's primary slot receiver, finding windows in zone coverage and catching short passes. His best play of the day came on a scramble drill where he made a nice adjustment back across the field as Geno Smith broke the pocket. Smith just seems reluctant to look Smith-Njigba’s way when he runs more vertical routes.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.2 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Roger McCreary
Week 2 Snaps: 10
Week 2 Grade: 54.3

Johnston made a seven-yard reception on the second play of the game and then disappeared in Week 2. He seems to be clearly behind Joshua Palmer on the depth chart, at least for now. Johnston isn’t a polished route runner and his lack of versatility is affecting his playing time.

Pick No. 22: Baltimore Ravens: WR Zay Flowers

Overall Rookie Grade: 74.8 (Rank: 4/11)
Principal Opponent: Cam Taylor-Britt
Week 2 Snaps: 58
Week 2 Grade: 70.6

Flowers made the biggest play of the day on either side, hauling in a 52-yard catch on a post route that set up an eventual touchdown. The rest of his day was quiet, as he otherwise caught three screens for 10 yards. His 13 catches through two weeks ranks second among rookies. He is the movable chess piece in Baltimore’s offense, and they’ll continue to find creative ways to get him the ball.

Pick No. 23: Minnesota Vikings: WR Jordan Addison

Overall Rookie Grade: 67.5 (Rank: 6/11)
Principal Opponent: Josh Jobe
Week 2 Snaps: 40
Week 2 Grade: 65.2

Addison is quickly becoming the Vikings' WR2. For the second straight week, he hauled in a long touchdown that got Minnesota back in the game. Encouragingly, that touchdown came against press coverage, his only catch so far on 27 snaps against it. He’ll continue to see press looks as the primary X receiver, but the Vikings may benefit from using him in the slot at a higher rate than his current 26.1% clip.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 50.8 (Rank: 8/11)
Principal Opponent: Marquise Brown
Week 2 Snaps: 64
Week 2 Grade: 44.5

Banks surrendered four catches for 49 yards and three first downs against Arizona. He also busted a deep-third assignment, leaving Zach Ertz open down the sideline. Luckily, Joshua Dobbs missed the throw, but that doesn’t absolve Banks of his error. His team-low 39.0 coverage grade for the week was a bottom-10 mark among all cornerbacks. The Giants ask a lot of Banks in their man-heavy scheme, and he will likely experience more growing pains along the way.

Pick No. 25: Buffalo Bills: TE Dalton Kincaid

Overall Rookie Grade: 58.9 (Rank: 3/3)
Principal Opponent: Robert Spillane
Week 2 Snaps: 47
Week 2 Grade: 60.1

Kincaid has played a ton during the first two weeks since the Bills lead the league in 12 personnel usage. He has made nine catches for 69 yards through two games, making the most of what he can in the short passing game. Kincaid has yet to create an explosive play, but that’s in part because Buffalo’s opponents have been sitting back preventing deep shots. Kincaid’s substantial playing time will allow him to make big plays eventually.

Pick No. 26: Dallas Cowboys: DI Mazi Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 72.6 (Rank: 4/12)
Principal Opponent: Laken Tomlinson
Week 2 Snaps: 11
Week 2 Grade: 70.0

Smith had another quiet day, playing only 11 snaps without any statistical accomplishments. His one impactful play was cutting off Breece Hall on a screen pass that allowed Micah Parsons to collect his second sack of the day. Smith has played just 26 snaps in the first two games, but he has not been downgraded on any of them.

Pick No. 27: Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Anton Harrison

Overall Rookie Grade: 46.2 (Rank: 4/4)
Principal Opponent: George Karlaftis/Chris Jones
Week 2 Snaps: 66
Week 2 Grade: 45.7

Harrison was the primary victim of Chris Jones’ return in Week 2. Harrison faced Jones in pass protection 13 times and allowed two sacks and a hurry with another four lost reps, including one that led to a batted pass. This was arguably the biggest mismatch in the NFL this week, as Harrison posted an ugly 29.6 pass-blocking grade. There will be better days ahead for the rookie, but this will be a matchup to watch if the Jaguars see Kansas City again in the postseason.

Pick No. 28: Cincinnati Bengals: Edge Myles Murphy

Overall Rookie Grade: 64.6 (Rank: 6/12)
Principal Opponent: Patrick Mekari
Week 2 Snaps: 19
Week 2 Grade: 63.8

Once again, Murphy primarily played when Trey Hendrickson needed a breather. He made a scant impact, though, outside of one hurry where Lamar Jackson predictably scrambled away. Murphy will have to battle for more reps by making an impact on his current workload.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 63.2 (6/12)
Principal Opponent: James Hurst/Cesar Ruiz
Week 2 Snaps: 28
Week 2 Grade: 77.3

Bresee was the Saints' fifth-highest-graded defender on Monday Night Football, racking up two quarterback pressures after securing three in Week 1.

Pick No. 30: Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Nolan Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 60.9 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: David Quessenberry
Week 2 Snaps: 6
Week 2 Grade: 53.9

Similar to last week, Smith saw a light workload on the edge for Philadelphia, making little impact on only six snaps. He’ll continue to rotate in occasionally with Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham in front of him.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 71.1 (Rank: 2/12)
Principal Opponent: Walker Little
Week 2 Snaps: 16
Week 2 Grade: 69.0

Anudike-Uzomah fits into the Chiefs’ defense nicely as a situational pass rusher. On 15 pass-rush snaps in Week 2, he collected a hurry and an odd sack of Trevor Lawrence during which he was credited with a forced fumble. Nevertheless, his ability as a speed rusher is evident and he is firmly in the Chiefs’ rotation while he refines his other skills behind the scenes.


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