My Favorite Draft Pick for Every NFL Team
The NFL Draft is in the books, and all that’s left to do now is doll out arbitrary grades on players who have precisely zero NFL snaps. Just kidding! Draft grades are dumb, and we’re not doing that.
Instead, I will focus on individual players and teams and how they all tie together right now. For example, today, I’ve got a list of my favorite draft pick for every NFL team. This is simply my favorite pick. That’s it. No special formula, no grades. Just the player that I like best for that team today. Period. Simple enough?
Alright, let’s get right into it!
Arizona Cardinals — B.J. Ojulari, EDGE
Pick: No. 41 (Round 2)
I’ve made it pretty clear that I don’t like taking offensive linemen in the top 10, with a few exceptions, so I can’t go with Paris Johnson Jr. here. Not only did Arizona take an offensive lineman at No. 6, but they also traded back into the top ten to do it. However, I really like their second pick, B.J. Ojulari.
Ojulari earned first-team All-SEC honors in 2022, starting 11 games. He logged 58 tackles, 8.5 for loss, with 5.5 sacks. The LSU pass rusher is a bendy pass rusher who can wreak havoc once he puts together a more complete pass-rushing plan.
Atlanta Falcons — Bijan Robinson, Running Back
Pick: No. 8 (Round 1)
Bijan Robinson is the best RB prospect since Saquon, and I cautioned teams not to overthink this one. Atlanta didn’t, and they landed a running back that might be a top-ten rusher this season and one of the only three-down backs in the NFL these days.
Baltimore Ravens — Zay Flowers, Wide Receiver
Pick: No. 22 (Round 1)
School: Boston College
Baltimore locked up Lamar Jackson long-term and drafted my favorite wide receiver in the class in five hours on Thursday. Lamar is a Raven, and now he has Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and Mark Andrews to throw to as the Ravens try to stretch the field more in 2023.
Buffalo Bills — Dalton Kincaid, Tight End
Pick: No. 25 (Round 1)
Kincaid is one of the class’s premier pass-catchers, regardless of position. He can be a day-one starter for the Bills in the slot, giving Josh Allen some much-needed help and another dimension they lacked last season. Landing him in the back end of the first round is big-time value.
Carolina Panthers — Jonathan Mingo, Wide Receiver
Pick: No. 39 (Round 2)
School: Ole Miss
We knew that the Panthers were taking Bryce Young at No. 1 overall. There was no question about it; it was a no-brainer (although they should have taken Stroud). But GM Scott Fitterer doubled down on the offensive side of the ball at No. 39 and landed Young a wide receiver to go with the Adam Thielen and Hayden Hurst acquisitions in free agency.
Chicago Bears — Zacch Pickens, Defensive Tackle
Pick: No. 64 (Round 3)
School: South Carolina
I like much of the draft class for the Bears, but Zacch Pickens is the type of player that should have Bears fans excited. He’s a player that the Bears needed, and Ryan Poles loves. When defensive guru Rod Marinelli spoke to Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel on the Score last month, the broad jump was his best indicator for future success at the three-technique position. Pickens was No. 1 at his position in the 2023 class. He was also the sixth fastest DT in the class and has violent hands. He’ll be a project, but he has all the tools to be a mid-round steal for Ryan Poles.
Cincinnati Bengals — D.J. Turner, Cornerback
Pick: No. 60 (Round 2)
D.J. Turner is another one of my favorite prospects in the pre-draft process. Turner has elite speed and compete skills and has the inside-outside versatility to play multiple positions. He could be the first Bengals draft pick to see starting time this season outside of punter Brad Robbins. That’s pretty good, considering I really love the entire draft class for Cincinnati.
Cleveland Browns — Cedrick Tillman, Wide Receiver
Pick: No. 74 (Round 3)
Cedrick Tillman was limited by injury in 2022 but was a first-round talent heading into the season. His injury caused him to slide, and the Browns stole a strong candidate to be a day-one contributor in the middle rounds last weekend. An excellent pick for the Browns.
Dallas Cowboys — Mazi Smith, Defensive Tackle
Pick: No. 26 (Round 1)
Another Wolverine here, Mazi Smith, was a no-brainer for the Cowboys at No. 26, especially with some of their potential offensive targets off the board.
Denver Broncos — Marvin Mims Jr., Wide Receiver
Pick: No. 63 (Round 2)
The Broncos added another young wide receiver to a group that already features Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Sean Payton got his QB more help with their first pick in the draft late in round two. It’s not an overly exciting pick, but it was their best pick, nonetheless.
Detroit Lions — Brian Branch, Defensive Back
Pick: No. 45 (Round 2)
Nabbing Brian Branch at No. 45 was a massive win for the Lions, and that’s coming from someone who isn’t as down on their draft class as some others are. First, Green Bay will regret trading this pick inside the division and allowing Detroit to nab Branch. He was a do-it-all back at Alabama, and I see him being an early contributor for the Lions in the nickel role in Detroit.
Green Bay Packers — Luke Musgrave, Tight End
Pick: No. 42 (Round 2)
School: Oregon State
All it took for Brian Gutekunst to draft skill players was for Aaron Rodgers to leave! Gutekunst and the Packers took two tight ends and a wide receiver with three of their first four picks in the NFL Draft. I like what Oregon’s Luke Musgrave brings for the Packers. He can win in the seams and be a combo tight end for the Packers immediately.
Houston Texans — C.J. Stroud, Quarterback
Pick: No. 2 (Round 1)
School: Ohio State
Pre-draft hit pieces be damned, C.J. Stroud was my No. 1 quarterback in the draft, and Houston landed him. So, naturally, I love the pick for them.
A counterpoint to Stroud’s success is that he threw the ball to guys like Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr., and Emeka Egbuka during his time at Ohio State. It’s a lot easier to be a high-percentage passer when you have five potential first-rounders to throw to. However, Stroud’s 26.7 percent rate of perfectly placed passes is the best among all FBS QBs since 2021. The kid can sling it, and I think that he’s going to be just fine in the NFL.
Indianapolis Colts — Anthony Richardson, Quarterback
Pick: No. 4 (Round 1)
This pick might be the one that gets Chris Ballard fired, but I love everything about it. With Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud off the board, the Colts took a big swing (which we know I love to see inside the top ten) at the most athletic specimen in the NFL Draft. To make things even more interesting, Shane Steichen said that learning happens on the field and that Richardson is going to play from the get-go makes me so excited for the season to start. Of course, there will be a learning curve, but the ceiling here is exciting.
Jacksonville Jaguars — Tank Bigsby, Running Back
Pick: No. 88 (Round 3)
Jacksonville added a tackle and a tight end with their first two picks in the NFL Draft, addressing needs. But their most intriguing pick to me was their third pick, former Auburn running back Tank Bigsby. Travis Etienne is the lead back in Jacksonville. Still, I can see Bigsby playing a role in an offense that has many options for Trevor Lawrence in 2023.
Kansas City Chiefs — Rashee Rice, Wide Receiver
Pick: No. 55 (Round 2)
Adding another pass-catcher was a must for the Chiefs in this draft. I’m not overly excited about this pick. Still, it’s my favorite in a reasonably underwhelming class for the Chiefs this year.
Las Vegas Raiders — Michael Mayer, Tight End
Pick: No. 35 (Round 2)
Michael Mayer was my TE1 in this class, and the Raiders got a steal at No. 35. The Raiders landed the best tight end in the 2023 NFL Draft for my money. Sure, Dalton Kincaid was the superior vertical threat. But Mayer is a more well-rounded three-down tight end who can dominate the middle of the field and is a far better blocker than Kincaid. So, the Raiders replaced Darren Waller, whom they traded to the New York Giants last month.
Los Angeles Chargers — Quentin Johnston, Wide Receiver
Pick: No. 21 (Round 1)
Justin Herbert got another receiver on night one of the NFL Draft. While there are some concerns, Quentin Johnston is unarguably one of the more talented receivers in the class with massive upside if he can iron out some hands and concentration issues.
Los Angeles Rams — Steve Avila, Center/Guard
Pick: No. 36 (Round 2)
With their first pick, the Rams addressed an obvious need with one of the best interior offensive linemen prospects in the draft. Solid value smart pick.
Miami Dolphins — Devon Achane, Running Back
Pick: No. 84 (Round 3)
School: Texas A&M
Devon Achane’s track-star speed will be extremely fun to watch in Mike McDaniel’s offense in Miami. Great value, too, landing a potential home run hitter at No. 84.
Minnesota Vikings — Jordan Addison, Wide Receiver
Pick: No. 23 (Round 1)
I had the Chargers taking Jordan Addison, but they went with Quentin Johnston, and Addison fell to Minnesota. Addison is one of the best receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft, and his route-running ability will be fun to watch opposite Justin Jefferson in Minnesota. Kirk Cousins continues to be showered with elite weapons to prop him up.
New England Patriots — Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback
Pick: No. 17 (Round 1)
New England was able to trade back (with Pittsburgh) and still snag my CB2 in this draft, who cold have very easily gone to Detroit (No. 6) or Vegas (No. 7). Huge value here for Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
New Orleans Saints — Isaiah Foskey, EDGE
Pick: No. 40 (Round 2)
School: Notre Dame
New Orleans was going to draft and defensive lineman early, and snagging Isaiah Foskey at No. 40 after taking Clemson’s Bryan Bresee 11 picks earlier was an exciting double-dip. I love the pick, it’s got a ton of value.
New York Giants — John Michael Schmitz, Center
Pick: No. 57 (Round 2)
I really like the Giants’ draft class, and Deonte Banks and Jalin Jyatt were solid picks. Still, John Michael Schmitz is going to be one heck of a player, and I was rooting hard for the Bears to draft him on day two. Schmitz is day one NFL starter, and the Giants got a lock in the middle at No. 57 for years to come.
New York Jets — Joe Tippmann, Center
Pick: No. 43 (Round 2)
The Will McDonald pick (at No. 15) was a head-scratcher, possibly fueled by the shakeup inside the top 10 of the NFL Draft on Thursday night. Still, Tippmann is a solid day-two pick for the Jets.
Philadelphia Eagles — Nolan Smith, EDGE
Pick: No. 30 (Round 1)
Nolan Smith was one of my favorite players in the pre-draft process. Getting him at the first round’s tail end is great value for Philadelphia. Howie Roseman rolled the dice with Jalen Carter at No. 9, but landing his Bulldogs teammate at No. 30 gives them an explosive pass rusher and a fifth-year option for each of their new Georgia defensive lineman.
Pittsburgh Steelers — Joey Porter Jr., Cornerback
Pick: No. 32 (Round 2)
School: Penn State
I was surprised that the Steelers passed on Joey Porter Jr. at No. 17. Mike Tomlin and Pittsburgh saw a run on offensive linemen coming and selected Broderick Jones. The Steelers had multiple offers for the 32nd pick that started on day two, but they chose to stay put and not let Porter slip away. As I said, with Nolan Smith and the Eagles landing a player no one would have been surprised to see taken much earlier with the team’s second pick is considerable value.
San Francisco 49ers — Jake Moody, Kicker
Pick: No. 99 (Round 3)
Kyle Shanahan took a kicker with his second pick in the draft … in the third round … I love it.
Seattle Seahawks — Devon Witherspoon, Cornerback
Pick: No. 5 (Round 1)
It’s no secret that Devon Witherspoon was one of my favorite prospects in the entire class. I had him as CB1, and he went first to Seattle one pick ahead of where I had him projected. In his post-draft press conference, Witherspoon said he was excited to be heading to Seattle to match up with D.K. Metcalf in practice every day. I dig the confidence; he has the skill to back it up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Calijah Kancey, Defensive Tackle
Pick: No. 19 (Round 1)
Kancey logged 14.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss in his last two seasons at Pitt and was a unanimous All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2022. Kancey has elite lateral quickness and explosive hands and can drive blockers backward at the point of contact with above-average contact balance.
Tennessee Titans — Will Levis, Quarterback
Pick: No. 33 (Round 2)
Say what you will about Levis — and I’ve said plenty — but Tennessee snagging him at No. 33 was a huge steal. Aside from the Titans losing the fifth-year option, this pick has nothing but value. Levis was considered a potential top-10 pick, and Tennessee got him in round two after taking Peter Skoronski at No. 11. If Levis turns into a solid starting QB, it’s a massive win for the Titans.
Washington Commanders — Quan Martin, Safety
Pick: No. 47 (Round 2)
Martin was one of my favorite players in the draft. He can play safety or nickel and has off-the-charts athleticism and developing awareness. If he can clean up some finishing things, he can be an excellent NFL starter in the not-too-distant future.