• First-rounder Jack Campbell gets off to a good start: The Lions linebacker earned a 90.6 overall grade after making two run stops and not allowing a catch in coverage.
• Even with only one catch, Jordan Addison earns an 84.3 grade: One of his targets was ruled incomplete despite his impressive toe-tapping effort.
• Eagles CB Eli Ricks surpasses a 95.0 mark: The rookie undrafted free agent returned an interception for a touchdown and played tough coverage on every target he faced.
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes
Preseason grades are to be taken with a grain of salt, particularly after only one week of action. Nevertheless, here was each NFL team's highest-graded player in Week 1 of the 2023 preseason, with the requirement that they played at least 10 snaps.
JUMP TO A TEAM:
Arizona Cardinals: LG Hayden Howerton (93.4, 21 snaps)
The 2022 undrafted free agent proved stout in pass protection on 17 such snaps, and he earned a positive grade on three of his four run-blocking reps.
Atlanta Falcons: WR Xavier Malone (91.0, 12 snaps)
Malone hauled in two deep catches, including one where he held on despite taking a big hit in the back. The undrafted Henderson State product earned an 89.9 receiving grade for his efforts.
Baltimore Ravens: WR Sean Ryan (86.6, 32 snaps) & QB Tyler Huntley (86.6, 24 snaps)
While Ryan’s final stat line finished at a pedestrian four catches for 37 yards, a contested grab in the fourth quarter on a near interception boosted his PFF numbers. Huntley looked like the Ravens’ clear second-string quarterback, making one big-time throw and recording an efficient 81.8% adjusted completion rate.
Buffalo Bills: QB Matt Barkley (93.4, 34 snaps)
Barkley’s lone incompletion on 15 passing attempts against the Colts was a drop, and he ended his outing with a 92.7 passing grade.
Carolina Panthers: CB Donte Jackson (84.6, 13 snaps)
A tripping penalty negated Jackson’s best play, a pass breakup up in the end zone on a Zach Wilson throw.
Chicago Bears: RG Ja’Tyre Carter (93.9, 39 snaps) & LT Larry Borom (93.9, 41 snaps)
Neither Carter nor Borom was tagged with pressure allowed and both earned 90.0-plus run-blocking grades — a microcosm of a performance that earned the Bears’ offensive line a spot on the preseason Week 1 Team of the Week.
Cincinnati Bengals: S Tycen Anderson (97.3, 44 snaps)
With two interceptions and not a single yard allowed across 22 coverage snaps, Anderson was about as good as it gets in coverage.
Cleveland Browns: QB Kellen Mond (90.8, 21 snaps)
A fourth-quarter big-time throw through traffic to Mike Harley Jr. helped Mond finish as one of four quarterbacks to earn a 90.0-plus passing grade in preseason Week 1.
Dallas Cowboys: TE Jake Ferguson (91.5, 10 snaps)
Ferguson hauled in all three of his targets for 38 yards. His 4.75 yards per route led the team in preseason Week 1.
Denver Broncos: EDGE Nik Bonitto (90.1, 14 snaps)
Bonitto managed two quarterback pressures and another winning rep on just nine pass-rushing snaps.
Detroit Lions: LB Jack Campbell (90.6, 25 snaps)
A rookie leading their team in overall grade in the preseason is a welcomed sight. Campbell made two run stops and didn’t let up a catch in coverage.
Green Bay Packers: RB Emanuel Wilson (93.5, 15 snaps)
The undrafted free agent out of Fort Valley State broke off three big runs, including an 80-yard touchdown scamper down the sideline. He was the highest-graded running back in preseason Week 1.
Houston Texans: QB Davis Mills (91.4, 23 snaps)
While six of Mills’ nine completions stemmed from passes targeted nine or fewer yards downfield, he was still efficient. He made no big-time throws but recorded a 91.7% adjusted completion rate after accounting for drops.
Indianapolis Colts: LB Grant Stuard (90.9, 41 snaps)
Stuard thrived in coverage, where he allowed three yards on one catch and forced a fumble off a big hit over the middle.
Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Gregory Junior (89.1, 30 snaps)
Junior saw just one target across 20 coverage snaps. However, it was an effort-driven forced fumble on his tackle of Cowboys running back Rico Dowdle that sent his grade into elite territory.
Kansas City Chiefs: CB Lamar Jackson (91.8, 17 snaps)
No, not that Lamar Jackson. The Chiefs cornerback is likely tired of the name mix-ups, but if he continues to force incompletions and allow five yards on four targets in coverage, he won’t be out of the spotlight anytime soon.
Las Vegas Raiders: TE Cole Fotheringham (94.3, 31 snaps)
Three Raiders finished with 90.0-plus grades, including rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who earned Offensive Player of the Week honors. Fotheringham, a 2022 undrafted free agent, hauled in five passes for 71 yards His 7.10 yards per route ranked first among all players in preseason Week 1 with at least 10 receiving snaps.
Los Angeles Chargers: EDGE Chris Rumph II (93.2, 11 snaps)
The 2021 fourth-rounder saw only seven pass-rushing snaps but managed to win two of them as he finished with two quarterback knockdowns — one sack and one hit.
Los Angeles Rams: WR Tyler Johnson (82.2, 27 snaps)
A hefty target share (seven) allowed Johnson to thrive in the second half of the Rams’ Week 1 affair. The former Buccaneer ended the game with 39 yards after the catch, a forced missed tackle and a contested reception.
Miami Dolphins: RB Myles Gaskin (92.4, 15 snaps)
Gaskin forced an incredible five missed tackles on just seven carries, helping him rack up 54 yards after contact.
Minnesota Vikings: WR Jordan Addison (84.5, 27 snaps)
It was a quiet week for the first-round rookie receivers, and while Addison ended up with just one catch, he showed tons of promise. One of his targets was ruled incomplete despite his toe-tapping effort, a play for which PFF gave him a positive grade.
This was ruled incomplete.
Did Jordan Addison get both feet down? ???? pic.twitter.com/eQmx2wsWZH
— PFF (@PFF) August 11, 2023
New England Patriots: EDGE Keion White (89.9, 27 snaps)
The rookie totaled three quarterback pressures on 13 pass-rushing snaps, plus three defensive stops on his other snaps. His stock is on the rise.
New Orleans Saints: LB Anfernee Orji (93.4, 16 snaps)
Orji earned a 75.0-plus grade in all three facets — pass rushing (92.2), coverage (78.2) and run defending (78.6). He won both of his pass-rush reps and recorded a quarterback hit.
New York Giants: LB Micah McFadden (90.5, 14 snaps)
The 2022 fifth-rounder out of Indiana ended Week 1 with one run stop and just six yards allowed in coverage on his 14 snaps.
New York Jets: DI Bruce Hector (90.7, 30 snaps)
Hector’s third-quarter strip-sack was part of a dominant effort from the Jets’ defense. He was one of four defensive linemen on the team to earn an 85.0-plus grade for the game.
Philadelphia Eagles: CB Eli Ricks (96.7, 21 snaps)
Ricks was up for the challenge in his NFL preseason debut. The undrafted Georgia product finished with a pick-six and a pass breakup on the outside, in the end allowing one catch for seven yards on four targets.
Pittsburgh Steelers: TE Connor Heyward (93.7, 12 snaps)
Heyward saw just two targets — both of which he caught — but earned a positive grade on three of his 12 snaps, the most impressive being a catch over Buccaneers linebacker SirVocea Dennis.
San Francisco 49ers: TE Troy Fumagalli (90.8, 15 snaps)
Fumagalli, a fifth-round pick of the Broncos in 2018, caught two passes and forced a missed tackle while earning a positive grade on one of his four run-blocking snaps.
Seattle Seahawks: LB Devin Bush (87.3, 29 snaps)
Bush kicked off his tenure in Seattle in style as one of two Seahawks defenders to earn an 80.0-plus grade in Week 1. He made a run stop in the backfield on a first-and-goal play en route to an 82.9 run-defense grade.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE Markees Watts (92.1, 23 snaps)
The undrafted free agent out of Charlotte managed two quarterback pressures on just seven pass-rushing snaps.
Tennessee Titans: LB Ben Niemann (90.3, 26 snaps)
Niemann, after signing with the Titans this offseason following stints in Kansas City and Arizona, let up only four yards in coverage and made a team-leading three run stops in Week 1.
Washington Commanders: CB Christian Holmes (91.8, 13 snaps)
While he played only 10 snaps in coverage, Holmes forced two incompletions on three targets into his coverage.