Image Credit: (Jordan Prather/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
Gosh time has gone by so fast with Day 2 of the draft happening tonight. So like I did last year I will be grading every selection that was made in every round of the 2023 NFL Draft. I previously did round 1 and now I will be doing Round 2. As always If I give a HACKENBERG Grade that is of course a failing grade (F). I call it a HACKENBERG as a reminder of former Jets prospect Christian Hackenberg who is the worst draft choice in New York Jets History. Let’s get right into the grade where the Pittsburgh Steelers are now on the clock.
Previous Rounds Graded
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (from Chicago Bears) - CB Joey Porter Jr (Pittsburgh Steelers) Grade A+
There were rumors that the Steelers were going to trade down, but obviously that did not happen. I was surprised the Steelers did not use a 1st on Joey Porter Jr, but they made the right choice taking an offensive tackle which has been a need for a few years now. Porter not being drafted in the first round was also a big surprise. The Steelers need to improve their secondary as they lost Cam Sutton and excluding S Minkah Fitzpatrick that secondary is terrible. I like the section a lot as he fills a big need and will get along with the coaching staff as Porter’s dad is close to Tomlin.
33. Tennessee Titans (from Houston Texans via Arizona Cardinals) - QB Will Levis (Kentucky) Grade A
The Titans have traded up to take a quarterback. I like this selection a lot for the Titans as they had to get their QB of the future and get a prospect many considered to be a Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft. I can’t hate the pick. It looks like Malik Willis’s days are numbered in Tennessee as this pretty much confirms 100% that he had fallen out of favor in Tennessee.
34. Detroit Lions (from Arizona Cardinals) - TE Sam LaPorta (Iowa) Grade B+
I prefer Mayer over LaPorta, but I really like this pick for the Lions. I had LaPorta as a 2nd round prospect in this class as he is such a dynamic receiving threat. He also comes from Iowa which has been very credible for how their Tight End’s pan out in the NFL. The Lions needed to take a tight end as Brock Wright and James Mitchell did not impress when Hockenson got traded.
35. Las Vegas Raiders (from Indianapolis Colts) - TE Michael Mayer Grade A
I like it. We are on a role with 4 straight great picks in the 2nd round. This is of course the Darren Waller replacement on offense who just did not fit in Josh McDaniels offense. In McDaniels’s offense he loves to utilize tight ends, and he had to get one on his offense. Mayer to me was a Top 15 prospect in this class, so getting him in the 2nd round is a steal.
36. Los Angeles Rams - OG/C Steve Avila (TCU) Grade B+
The Rams offensive line has been a mess since Andrew Whitworth announced his retirement last season. Getting Avila is a smart choice and while I prefer John Mitchell Schwartz over Avila as an interior o-lineman, I don’t hate the Rams taking Avila who should be a nice boost towards protecting Stafford. Avila can play guard or center too, so he has position versatility. I give the pick a thumbs up here.
37. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) - DE/EDGE Derrick Hall (Auburn) Grade B+
Many are going to think I am going to trash on this pick, but it's not happening. Hall is a great fit to the Seahawks defensive scheme and I actually had him going here in the mock draft I made before the draft began 30 minutes ago. Hall is a very athletic player and has tremendous upside as a pass rusher. This pick fills a need as well for the Seahawks, so it makes sense.
38. Atlanta Falcons (from Las Vegas Raiders, via Indianapolis Colts) - OT/G Matthew Bergeron (Syracuse) Grade A-
I prefer Dawand Jones and Blake Freeland as tackle prospects, but Bergeron is a solid choice as well. There was a report awhile ago that the Falcons were considering going offensive line 8th overall, but of course that did not happen. Bergeron to me is likely going to play guard as the Falcons already have Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary at tackle, but he is a very versatile blocker. The Falcons o-line is sneakily a very good unit with Bergeron’s edition.
39. Carolina Panthers - WR Jonathan Mingo (Ole Miss) Grade B
A bit early for me to take Mingo as I had him as a late 2nd/Early 3rd, but I don’t hate it. The Panthers needed youth and dependability at wide receiver. Adam Thielen regressed last season and D.J. Chark has durability issues. Mingo gives Young another receiver to work with and surrounding him with talent is a great idea. Especially with the size Mingo has and how smooth of a route runner he is.
40. New Orleans Saints - DE/EDGE Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame) Grade B+
While watching the draft with my friends, I said this was either going to be Keion White or Isaiah Foskey and it turned out to be Foskey. The Saints lost a lot of defensive lineman talent, so it makes sense they would double down with this pick. This is likely the Marcus Davenport replacement on defense and if Foskey can fix his weaknesses, then he could be the guy that eventually replaces Cameron Jordan who showed signs of decline last season.
41. Arizona Cardinals (from Tennessee Titans) - DE/EDGE/LB BJ Ojulari (LSU) Grade A
The Cardinals finally went pass rusher, too little too late as this position was a weakness for a few years now, but hey better late than ever. I find it interesting that they announced him as a linebacker, but if they utilize him at linebacker I would not mind either. I also had Ojulari as an Late 1st/Early 2nd, so him getting taken here makes sense.
42. Green Bay Packers (From Cleveland Browns via New York Jets) - TE Luke Musgrave (Oregon State) - Grade B -
Over Darnell Washington and Tucker Kraft? I don’t hate the Musgrave pick and they probably chose him as Washington has medical issues, but the upside was there with him and Kraft. However this pick makes sense as the Packers needed a tight end after the departure of Rob Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis, they had to pick a Tight End. Musgrave is a playmaker and the Packers needed another player on this team not named WR Christian Watson.
43. New York Jets - C/OG Joe Tippman (Wisconsin) Grade B
Over John Michael Schmitz? I am kind of surprised they passed on him, but Joe Tippmen is a solid choice too. This team has not had a center since Nick Mangold and while they did bring back Connor McGovern he did not do well last season. Getting Aaron Rodgers more protection is a great idea as well. Tippman also has versatility and can also play guard as well.
44. Indianapolis Colts (from Atlanta Falcons) - CB Julius Brents (Kansas State) Grade C
The Colts go Brents here, Huh? I don’t hate the Colts drafting cornerback here, but there were much better prospects to choose at this spot. I also think this is a round early for Brents as well, but I guess the length he has is just too good for them to pass on. I don’t blame them as the length and height made me love Tariq Woolen in last year's draft. Brent's pick may have also been made as he fits the defensive scheme more.
45. Detroit Lions (from Green Bay Packers) - S Brian Branch (Alabama) Grade A+
I don’t understand why the Packers traded down here and especially with the Lions as the Packers needed secondary help and Branch was right there. All for a 5th round pick is a bit of a head scratcher to me. Their loss, Detroit’s gain. I did not like what the Lions did in the 1st round, but I really love what the Lions did in the 2nd round. Brian Branch is the best prospect on the board and the Lions secondary was bad last season. Drafting him is a no brainer.
46. New England Patriots - DE/EDGE Keion White (Georgia Tech) Grade A
Makes sense. I looked at the free agency class in 2024 and the Patriots have a lot of expiring contracts at DE/EDGE. They needed an insurance policy, but White was getting rumblings of sneaking into the 1st round of the draft. The Patriots did need pass rushing help as well and one of the teams I saw as a great fit to White was in New England.
47. Washington Commanders - S/CB Jartavius “Quan” Martin (Illinois) Grade B+
The Commanders secondary was awful and I don’t blame the Commanders for using another pick in the secondary. I actually had Jartavius Martin going to Washington at this spot as well and it makes a lot of sense. He has position versatility and can play either at cornerback or safety which both are positions of need. I think the Commanders were upset Branch got taken, but this is a nice Plan B option.
48 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Detroit Lions via Green Bay Packers) - OT/G Cody Mauch (North Dakota State) Grade A-
Tampa’s o-line is horrendous if you exclude Tristan Wirfs. Mauch to me is a very good pick for Tampa Bay. I see him more as a guard, but he can be playable as well at tackle. I don’t think the Buccaneers needed to trade up, but I guess it is better to be safe, then sorry. Mauch will absolutely be a week one starter if he plays the way he did in North Dakota State.
49. Pittsburgh Steelers - DT Keeanu Benton (Wisconsin) Grade A
The Steelers run defense was not great last season. Honestly I don’t think the run defense has been great since Ryan Shazier suffered that brutal injury years ago. Benton is a great edition to the Pittsburgh Steelers who need another defensive tackle to pair with Cam Heyward. Benton is a great run stopper and he should contribute rushing the passer as well. I like what the Steelers have been doing.
50. Green Bay Packers (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - WR Jayden Reed (Michigan State) Grade D
Ehh, I don’t like the Packers trading down as much as they have and I really don’t like Reed that much in the 2nd round. I saw him as a 3rd/4th round prospect and I think he was drafted too early. I mean he is fine as the Packers needed a wide receiver and Reed is very explosive, but to me there were better options to take.
51. Miami Dolphins - CB Cam Smith (South Carolina) Grade A+
Wow, the Dolphins secondary just terrifies me. Having Xavien Howard, Jalen Ramsey and now Cam Smith at cornerback, I am trembling with fear right now and I am not even on the football field. This pick does not bode well for Noah Igbinoghene, but Smith is definitely an upgrade. Easy A+ here.
52. Seattle Seahawks - RB Zach Charbonnet (UCLA) Grade D+
Now there’s the Seahawks we know and love. Taking a prospect that is very weird in their system. However, it is somehow going to work because Pete Carroll is a fantastic coach and John Schneider is a genius as the GM of that team. Now this grade is not going after the player as I like Charbonnet the player, but the Seahawks don’t need a running back at all. Maybe he will be utilized as a pass catching running back, but they could have waited later in the draft to take him.
53. Chicago Bears (from Baltimore Ravens) - DT Gervon Dexter (Florida) Grade A
The Bears needed defensive line help and it has been very difficult for the Bears to replace Akiem Hicks. There is a real chance they can by drafting Dexter as there is a lot to like about him. He is flexible, quick, and tackles with power. I like the move for Chicago and this pick should improve there run defense.
54. Los Angeles Chargers - DE/EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu Grade C+
Woah did not see the Chargers taking Tuli Tuipulotu. I mean I understand why they did, as they needed a pass rusher, but I am not confident that he is a fantastic fit on the Chargers defense. He has upside as he is very explosive and could be the eventual Khalil Mack replacement on defense. I think in time this pick should pan out for the Chargers if he develops properly.
55. Kansas City Chiefs (from Minnesota Vikings via Detroit Lions) - WR Rashee Rice (SMU) Grade B-
Congratulations Rashee Rice, you have a stud QB throwing the football to you in the NFL. The Chiefs need to keep surrounding Mahomes with receivers. I get why they picked him, but I don’t think they needed to trade up for him as Rice is a bit raw and inconsistent. There is upside and he is a solid route runner.
56. Chicago Bears (from Jacksonville Jaguars) - CB Tyrique Stevenson (Miami) Grade B
I remembered there was once a time Stevenson was considered to be a 1st round selection in this draft class. The problem was he had character concerns and a mediocre performance at the senior bowl resulted in his fall. However his versatility, size, and tackling technique make him worth the bill of a 2nd round pick. The Bears did need secondary help as well and Stevenson should contribute immediately.
57. New York Giants - C John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota) Grade A+
Now that is a picture perfect selection for the New York Giants. The Giants need to protect their QB and have a big need at center. They can wait until the 3rd round to take a receiver as in my opinion the offensive line is more important than wide receiver. Excellent work Giants.
58. Dallas Cowboys - TE Luke Schoonmaker (Michigan State) Grade D
I did not see Schoonmaker going anywhere near the 2nd round of the draft. I had him as a 5th round prospect in this class. Look Shoonmaker is a tall and fluid tight end and showed solid receiving skills, but he has little to no speed, is not a great blocker, and he is a super sloppy route runner. This was almost a HACKENBERG (F) Grade here, but because the cowboys needed a tight end I will give it a D.
59. Buffalo Bills - OG O’Cyrus Torrance (Florida) Grade A+
Buffalo just got themselves a steal as I had Torrance as the 2nd best guard in the class. This is the Rodger Saffold replacement on the offensive line and the Bills did not do much to replace him. Torrance can help improve as he is a good contributor as a run and pass blocker. This is a great bargain for the Buffalo Bills, especially in the 2nd round.
60. Cincinnati Bengals - CB DJ Turner (Michigan) Grade A
Bengals going Turner is a solid pick to make as they needed a cornerback. The thing that stands out to me with Turner is his speed. He is very fast and it is not only because he ran the fastest 40 yard dash at the combine. He has huge upside and can be a nice attribute in Zone and Press Coverage.
61. Jacksonville Jaguars (from San Francisco, via Carolina, via Chicago) - TE Brenton Strange (Penn State) Grade: HACKENBERG
Ok, now I will give a HACKENBERG (F) grade. I had Strange going nowhere near Day 2 of the draft. I had him as a 6th/7th round prospect. I legit had 10 tight end prospects ranked ahead of him. He is a terrible blocker, has poor awareness, is a sloppy route runner, struggles to create separation (Especially for man to man coverage), does not have the greatest high point ability and his hands are inconsistent. Tight end is not even a big need for the team at all either. I get they want to replace Dan Arnold, but there was no need to spend a high pick here on one.
62. Houston Texans (from Philadelphia Eagles) - C Juice Scruggs (Penn State) Grade C
First off, Juice Scruggs is an awesome name. Second, the Texans needed a center, but I had Scruggs as a 4th round prospect. I don’t think they needed to trade up for him, but it never hurts to strengthen the offensive line, so I get it.
63. Denver Broncos (from Kansas City Chiefs) - WR Marvin Mims (Oklahoma) Grade B+
I am kind of surprised Denver traded up for Mims, but I don’t hate that they gave Wilson another tool to utilize. I also had Mims going in this range as well. Mims has a lot of speed, explosiveness, and play recognition that is super intriguing. The thing that concerns me about Mims though is that he does not have the smoothest route running and his frame is not great. Besides that this is a good pick for Denver.