Grading all 31 first-round picks after Week 6 of the 2023 NFL season

2T1WTWM Houston Texans defensive end Will Anderson Jr. (51) celebrates after a play during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

• Devon Witherspoon is morphing into a force to be reckoned with: He stuffed the stat sheet with five total tackles, a pressure and two pass breakups while allowing three catches for just 14 yards against a dangerous Bengals attack.

• Will Anderson Jr. flashes as best player on the field for Texans: He racked up eight pressures and three other pass-rush wins to earn an 85.0-plus overall grade.

• 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: 11 minutes

The NFL season continues to be as unpredictable as ever, and the rookie class is beginning to have some separation between the studs and those who may need some further development.

We’ll continue to track their progress, as well as principal opponents, each week.

Pick No. 1: Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young

Overall Rookie Grade: 51.0 (Rank: 3/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 68
Week 6 Grade: 62.6

Young is showing signs of improvement despite mediocre results. Week 6 was his first outing without a turnover-worthy play. He’s starting to display more comfort when throwing intermediate balls over the middle. In fact, Young was the only quarterback through Sunday to have multiple big-time throws in the intermediate (10-19 yards) range this week. Young and the Panthers are struggling in obvious passing situations, but he needs to continue to succeed with his strengths.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 73.3 (Rank: 1/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 63
Week 6 Grade: 58.2

Stroud’s day was a tale of two halves. His first half included 141 yards, two touchdowns, his first interception and a 70.2 passing grade. He went just 3-of-10 with 58 yards in the second half, though the Saints had the ball for the vast majority of it. Nevertheless, he escaped with a win against New Orleans’ excellent defense. Stroud continues to throw the ball with excellent timing and an innate ability to manipulate defenses with his eyes, both showcased on his touchdown throw to Robert Woods.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 80.3 (Rank: 1/13)
Principal Opponent: Ryan Ramczyk
Week 6 Snaps: 57
Week 6 Grade: 85.7

Anderson and the Texans’ defense won the day for Houston. He was the best player on the field, racking up eight pressures and three other pass-rush wins. He didn’t come away with a sack, but Saints quarterback Derek Carr was repeatedly disturbed by Anderson’s presence. The rookie's 84.6 pass-rush grade for the week is the third best among players with at least 15 pass-rush snaps through Sunday.

Pick No. 4: Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson

Overall Rookie Grade: 52.2 (Rank: 2/3)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 0
Week 6 Grade: N/A

Richardson was out this week due to injury.

Pick No. 5: Seattle Seahawks: CB Devon Witherspoon

Overall Rookie Grade: 84.4 (Rank: 1/17)
Principal Opponent: Ja’Marr Chase
Week 6 Snaps: 54
Week 6 Grade: 83.0

Witherspoon is morphing into a force to be reckoned with. He stuffed the stat sheet with five total tackles, a pressure and two pass breakups. He allowed three catches for just 14 yards against a dangerous Bengals attack. Interestingly, Seattle has shifted Witherspoon to the slot over the past two games, and he’s responded with a 91.4 overall grade in that span, the best in the NFL. His aggression in run support has solidified a previous weakness. The idea of him and Jamal Adams roaming inside the numbers is going to give offensive coordinators headaches.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 53.8 (Rank: 6/6)
Principal Opponent: Michael Hoecht
Week 6 Snaps: 76
Week 6 Grade: 50.6

Week 6 was a tough outing for Johnson, as he allowed seven pressures, the second most of any tackle in the league this week. The Rams attacked him with inside moves and stunts to his inside shoulder. The same was true in the run game, as he finished with a team-low 45.2 run-blocking grade. He wasn’t the biggest culprit for Arizona’s performance Sunday, but he's still enduring some growing pains.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 33.7 (Rank: 13/13)
Principal Opponent: Trent Brown
Week 6 Snaps: 22
Week 6 Grade: 33.8

Wilson continues to get rotational reps as the bookend to Maxx Crosby, with little to show for it. He came away empty-handed on 15 pass-rush snaps. His poor overall grade was dragged down by an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty. It’s been a tough year for rookie edge defenders, other than Will Anderson Jr., and Wilson is having the toughest time among the group.

Pick No. 8: Atlanta Falcons: RB Bijan Robinson

Overall Rookie Grade: 73.7 (Rank: 5/8)
Principal Opponent: Khaleke Hudson
Week 6 Snaps: 64
Week 6 Grade: 59.9

Robinson racked up another 80 total yards in Week 6, but Atlanta continues to give him and Tyler Allgeier an equal share in the running game. Allgeier is a good player, but he is averaging 3.2 yards per carry compared to 5.0 for Robinson. Robinson is also much more dynamic in the passing game. At some point, the Falcons will need to give their most explosive playmaker the lion’s share of the work.

Pick No. 9: Philadelphia Eagles: DI Jalen Carter

Overall Rookie Grade: 91.8 (Rank: 1/12)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 0
Week 6 Grade: N/A

Carter was out this week due to injury.

Pick No. 10: Chicago Bears: OT Darnell Wright

Overall Rookie Grade: 70.4 (Rank: 1/6)
Principal Opponent: Danielle Hunter
Week 6 Snaps: 66
Week 6 Grade: 66.9

Consistency is a theme with Wright. He posted a 60.0-plus grade for the fourth straight week. He has allowed multiple pressures in every game, but this was the first time since Week 1 that he didn’t allow a sack. He also leads the team in snaps played. Wright plays a little tall in the run game at times, but the Bears are running for 5.2 yards per carry to the right side. He’s been a major factor in that.

Pick No. 11: Tennessee Titans: G Peter Skoronski

Overall Rookie Grade: 68.2 (Rank: 1/11)
Principal Opponent: Travis Jones
Week 6 Snaps: 55
Week 6 Grade: 65.7

Skoronski bounced back after a rough performance in Indianapolis last week. His 67.5 pass-blocking grade was the best for a unit that otherwise mightily struggled. He’s showing flashes in Tennessee’s zone run scheme and just needs continued repetition to improve. He’s currently the highest-graded rookie guard, which is impressive, given that he did not play a single snap at guard in college.

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Pick No. 12: Detroit Lions: RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Overall Rookie Grade: 62.1 (Rank: 8/8)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 0
Week 6 Grade: N/A

Gibbs was out this week due to injury.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 62.4 (Rank: 4/13)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 0
Week 6 Grade: N/A

Green Bay was on a bye this week.

Pick No. 14: Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Broderick Jones

Overall Rookie Grade: 66.5 (Rank: 2/6)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 0
Week 6 Grade: N/A

Pittsburgh was on a bye this week.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.8 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Jack Driscoll
Week 6 Snaps: 6
Week 6 Grade: 53.9

Most of the first-round edge defenders continue to see light work, and McDonald is no exception. He played just six snaps with no impact. We have to wonder if the Jets could have made a pick that would’ve filled a need instead of overloading an already crowded edge group.

Pick No. 16: Washington Commanders: CB Emmanuel Forbes

Overall Rookie Grade: 37.0 (Rank: 17/17)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 0
Week 6 Grade: N/A

Forbes did not play any snaps this week after being benched late in Week 5 against Chicago.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 80.8 (Rank: 3/17)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 0
Week 6 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: 50.6 (Rank: 3/5)
Principal Opponent: Rachaad White
Week 6 Snaps: 29
Week 6 Grade: 66.7

Contrary to his prior reputation, Campbell is consistently putting out good work in the run game and struggling in coverage. His fantastic 86.5 run-defense grade in Week 6 ranked fourth at the position. His contributions are part of why Detroit leads the NFL with a 79.4 run-defense grade. Consequently, teams are using his aggression against him, as he has allowed 91 yards on play-action passes, the fourth most in the NFL among linebackers.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 50.5 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Graham Glasgow
Week 6 Snaps: 40
Week 6 Grade: 49.0

Kancey returned to action and showcased his greatest skills and biggest flaws. He led Tampa Bay with six pressures and recorded his first NFL sack. His 21.4% pressure ranked fourth this week among defensive tackles with at least 10 pass-rush snaps. Lions quarterback Jared Goff was forced to get rid of the ball several times as Kancey’s quickness wreaked havoc up front. Kancey also posted a team-low 32.2 run-defense grade, grading out negatively on six of his 12 run-defense snaps.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 56.0 (Rank: 13/13)
Principal Opponent: Logan Wilson
Week 6 Snaps: 52
Week 6 Grade: 69.3

The Seahawks finally got Smith-Njigba involved in the passing game. He finished Week 6 with four catches for 48 yards and a season-high 69.1 receiving grade. Seattle isn’t particularly creative in how they deploy Smith-Njigba, but they need to emphasize his ability to find holes in zone coverages. Interestingly, he played a season-high 13 snaps and made three of his four catches as an outside receiver. Perhaps an escape from the slot is what he needed.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 56.0 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Stephon Gilmore
Week 6 Snaps: 34
Week 6 Grade: 48.6

Johnston's lone target in Week 6 came on a late Justin Herbert interception to seal the Chargers' loss — a play on which it could be argued Johnston needed to do a better job of fighting for position. He has just six catches for 44 yards on 12 targets this season.

Pick No. 22: Baltimore Ravens: WR Zay Flowers

Overall Rookie Grade: 71.7 (Rank: 4/13)
Principal Opponent: Kristian Fulton
Week 6 Snaps: 63
Week 6 Grade: 66.1

Flowers doesn’t dominate games like a WR1 yet, but he has been a steady presence for Lamar Jackson. Facing Tennessee in London, he hauled in six catches, including a nice scramble adjustment for his first career touchdown. His electric quickness continues to be a factor before and after the catch. Now he just needs help, as his 367 yards accounts for 47% of the Ravens' wide receiver production.

Pick No. 23: Minnesota Vikings: WR Jordan Addison

Overall Rookie Grade: 64.0 (Rank: 9/13)
Principal Opponent: Tyrique Stevenson
Week 6 Snaps: 49
Week 6 Grade: 58.1

Addison’s four touchdowns lead all Minnesota players. His production is inconsistent, though, as he caught three passes for 28 yards against Chicago. His best explosive opportunity came on a nicely run go route, but he couldn’t corral the pass on a diving attempt. Minnesota’s game plans will continue to be conservative without Justin Jefferson, and Addison will need to make the most of his opportunities in the spotlight.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 56.2 (Rank: 11/17)
Principal Opponent: Stefon Diggs
Week 6 Snaps: 61
Week 6 Grade: 43.9

On paper, Banks did not allow a catch to Stefon Diggs across three targets. However, he was beaten on all three plays, two of which were misses by Josh Allen and the third of which was a clean drop by Diggs. Banks also committed a penalty, which contributed to a rough 39.5 coverage grade on the night. He should be commended for competing with some of the best receivers in football, but Sunday wasn’t his best night.

Pick No. 25: Buffalo Bills: TE Dalton Kincaid

Overall Rookie Grade: 56.6 (Rank: 4/4)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 6 Snaps: 0
Week 6 Grade: N/A

Kincaid did not play this week due to injury.

Pick No. 26: Dallas Cowboys: DI Mazi Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 48.2 (Rank: 8/12)
Principal Opponent: Zion Johnson
Week 6 Snaps: 18
Week 6 Grade: 67.7

Smith was mostly kept off the stat sheet, but it was an encouraging performance nonetheless. He wasn't downgraded on any of his 18 snaps, winning one of his pass-rush reps and helping out on a tackle in the run game.

Pick No. 27: Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Anton Harrison

Overall Rookie Grade: 57.6 (Rank: 5/6)
Principal Opponent: Kwity Paye
Week 6 Snaps: 64
Week 6 Grade: 74.4

Week 6 was Harrison’s best day as a pro, as he produced a team-high 74.4 offensive grade. For the second time in three weeks, he allowed no pressure, getting the better of Kwity Paye in a rematch of their Week 1 duel. His 83.5 pass-blocking grade was the best of any right tackle on Sunday. He still needs to improve in the run game, but stellar work in pass protection is extremely important to a potentially injured Trevor Lawrence.

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Pick No. 28: Cincinnati Bengals: Edge Myles Murphy

Overall Rookie Grade: 54.6 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Charles Cross
Week 6 Snaps: 1
Week 6 Grade: 59.2

Murphy played just one snap in Week 6. It appears he is the odd man out of the edge rotation as Joseph Ossai’s health continues to improve. He also did not participate in practice this week for personal reasons, potentially contributing to his lack of playing time.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 45.2 (Rank: 10/12)
Principal Opponent: Shaq Mason
Week 6 Snaps: 29
Week 6 Grade: 44.3

Bresee struggled for the second straight week, collecting just one pressure and finishing with a team-low 49.7 pass-rush grade on 21 reps. He leads all Saints defensive tackles with 13 pressures, but his play has been inconsistent and his 46.3 run-defense grade needs to improve before he can become a primary contributor.

Pick No. 30: Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Nolan Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 48.6 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Mekhi Becton
Week 6 Snaps: 3
Week 6 Grade: 65.8

Smith played just three snaps in Week 6 with little impact. He continues to play mostly special teams as he awaits a chance to legitimately crack Philadelpiha’s edge rotation.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 60.2 (Rank: 8/13)
Principal Opponent: Garett Bolles
Week 6 Snaps: 5
Week 6 Grade: 56.7

Anudike-Uzomah recorded just five snaps in the second quarter on Thursday Night Football. Kansas City’s defense was on the field for only 52 snaps total. They chose to ride their starters through the second half, leaving Anudike-Uzomah little opportunity to work.


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