1. San Francisco 49ers
It was never going to be easy for the 49ers to finagle a strong post-draft grade coming out of the 2023 draft. They held 11 picks, but their first selection wasn’t scheduled until No. 99 at the end of the third round. One trade moved them up to No. 87 and left them with nine total picks. Despite their limited draft capital, San Francisco salvaged a B- grade from Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar.
The 49ers very much drafted like a team looking to fill out some depth on its roster. They didn’t aim for high-end athletes with big upside that tend to garner higher grades in the immediate aftermath of the draft. Instead, they found a kicker, a pair of players who could compete for the backup tight end job, a linebacker who should be in the mix for the starting Sam LB spot and some depth pieces to battle for playing time along the defensive line, secondary and receiving corps.
It wasn’t a super inspiring draft, but it could bear fruit if it improves the depth on an already good roster.
– Kyle Madson of ninerswire.usatoday.com
2. Seattle Seahawks
It was a good draft overall – especially the first round. CB Devon Witherspoon AND WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba both go in the top 20 and should be key contributors right away. I particularly like Witherspoon’s personality fit with Head Coach Pete Carrol, and JSN’s fit on the field in the slot between Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf.
Seattle then kicked off Day 2 with edge rusher Derick Hall, so they looked to be addressing that horrid defensive front-seven from last year. Only…they didn’t go back to that room until late in the fourth round.
The Seahawks came into the weekend with five picks in the first 83 selections. Unfortunately they traded out of one of those picks, and spent another…on…A MID-ROUND RUNNING BACK!? A move I didn’t like after the fantastic season from Kenneth Walker last year. Seattle loves to have multiple running backs on the roster, and they did have 10 picks to play with. But take one in the seventh round…not the second…
Oh wait…they did that too.
I like Derrick Hall a lot, but other than that they completely mismanaged Day 2 of the draft, where they had a supreme advantage.
I do, however, think they got a potential Day 1 starting center in Olusegun Oluwatimi all the way down in the fifth round.
- Simon Shortt of www.fantomsportsindustries.com
3. Los Angeles Rams
What a save job by Les Snead. I can’t go higher when you give away the 6th pick in the draft but then again, the Rams did win a Super Bowl because of it. With that being kept in mind, let’s put that part aside for a second.
How about this draft? The Rams did very well and could push themselves back into contention shortly. Steve Avila was one of the best guards in the draft. Unlike prior years, it seems like the Rams actually understood that their line stinks. Warren McClendon was also added to that group collecting two guys that will likely start for them.
There are also gems littered in the later rounds. Well, I guess all these picks are later round picks but you get the point. Byron Young is a really intriguing pass rusher out of Tennessee. Brings a lot of speed to the table. Puka Nacua might just be the perfect underneath target they were missing. Had a strong predraft process.
– Trey Daubert of www.vendettasportsmedia.com
4. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals’ night began with the seemingly inevitable trade down the board they had been eying for months. They ultimately moved back up to sixth overall to get a blue-chip tackle, costing them some of the capital they had earned in the first trade, but Arizona still came away from Round One with the Texans’ first-round pick next year plus their third-round pick. As the Seahawks and Eagles just showed us, getting future firsts can be an extremely profitable business, especially when they are from shaky teams. Adding Clayton Tune—my QB6 in the class—as a potential backup for Kyler Murray was also a savvy move.
– Kyle Dvorchak of www.nbcsportsedge.com