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2023 NFL Draft Grades (Round 3)

Image Credit: (Saul Young/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick

Twitter: @NicholasMullick

Gosh time has gone by so fast as we are almost halfway through with the draft. 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 & 2 and now I will be doing Round 3. As always If I give a HACKENBERG Grade that is of course a failing grade. 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 Chicago Bears are now on the clock.

Previous Rounds Graded

64. Chicago Bears - DE/EDGE/DT Zacch Pickens (South Carolina) Grade B+

Chicago yet again strengthens the offensive line by going Zacch Pickens who is a very versatile player. You can put him at either defensive tackle or defensive end/EDGE and he would fit like a glove. He has athletic upside, hits with power, and has a strong tackling technique. Him and Gervon Dexter are going to be a great pairing on the defensive line if developed properly.

65. Philadelphia Eagles (from Houston Texans) - OT/G Tyler Steen (Alabama) Grade A

A bit surprised Blake Freeland and Dawand Jones are available, but I am a Tyler Steen guy and I think the Eagles got a great one with this pick. Especially with his versatility he can play guard or tackle and he has the posture you want to see in a blocker. Steen is also very athletic for a guy his size as well. Now if he can clean up his technique and be more physical as a run blocker, the Eagles have another excellent blocker for Hurts.

66. Philadelphia Eagles (from Arizona Cardinals) - S Sydney Brown (Illinois) Grade B+

Another great pick by the Eagles as they needed a safety in the draft. This is either the Marcus Epps or Chauncey “C.J.” Gardner-Johnson replacement as I was not a big fan of the free agents that brought in. He has strong athleticism, instincts, and is versatile. He could clean up his coverage skills especially man to man and be more fluid with his hips, but the upside is clearly there.

67. Denver Broncos (from Indianapolis Colts) - LB Drew Sanders (Arkansas) Grade A

The Broncos don’t need Sanders on their team, but he is just way too good to pass on. I thought he was going to be the first linebacker on the board taken due to his athleticism, but I guess his lack of Zone Coverage skills was a making teams not want to take Sanders early. However the upside is there and with how great the Broncos defense is adding Sanders just bolsters the unit.

68. Detroit Lions (from Denver Broncos) - QB Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) Grade A+

Wow what a steal for the Detroit Lions. I still believe that if he never suffered that knee injury he would have been considered a Heisman trophy winner, but a Torn ACL took that all away. The Detroit Lions need a project QB as there is a chance Goff leaves next season. Hooker can sit a year and develop behind him. While Hooker is on the older side, this is great value for a 3rd rounder.

69. Houston Texans (from Los Angeles Rams) - WR Nathanial “Tank” Dell (Houston) Grade A

Looks like Dell does not have to leave the city of Houston as the Texans just drafted him. I actually am a fan of this pick and I don’t blame the Texans passing on Tillman and Hyatt for Nathanial “Tank” Dell. Now Dell may be undersized and the durability concerns are there, but Dell is a playmaker. He was productive as a receiver, runs smooth routes, and is very athletic. He has a ton of upside and giving stroud a speedy receiver like Nathanial “Tank” Dell is a great idea.

70. Las Vegas Raiders - DT Byron Young (Alabama) Grade B+

Is it wrong for me to say that Young is an upgrade over Jerry Tillery? I really think it is as Jerry Tillery was very inconsistent last year for the Raiders and they needed a defensive lineman badly. Young to the Raiders makes a lot of sense and while he is a little undersized he is worth a 3rd round pick here. Especially with how much of a physical run defender he is, this is a nice addition for the defense.

71. New Orleans Saints - RB Kendre Miller (TCU) Grade A

With no updates on the legal issues with Alvin Kamara, the Saints had to get an insurance policy if a suspension is coming for him. I like Jamaal Williams, but the Saints are going to need a 3rd down back behind him. Miller being drafted in the 3rd is nice value and he has a lot of potential in this league.

72. Arizona Cardinals - CB Garrett Williams (Syracuse) Grade A-

Is there ever going to be a bad grade in the 3rd round? Not joking I really don’t hate any pick that has been made in the 3rd round. Garrett Williams would have been a 2nd round pick if it was not for that ACL injury he suffered last season. The Cardinals secondary is terrible excluding S Budda Baker, so cornerback here makes sense.

73. New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns, via Houston, via Los Angeles Rams) - WR Jalin Hyatt Grade A+

For a guy many projected to go in the 1st round this is quite a slide. However out of all the teams Hyatt could go to this was the best one for him to go too as the Giants need a player like him. Hyatt is athletic, speedy, explosive, has great ball tracking ability and has great hands. I have seen him make some tough catches in his college career. A few issues with him is that he can’t overcome press coverage from defenders and he ran a limited routing tree. As a 3rd rounder though it is definitely great value.

74. Cleveland Browns (from New York Jets) - Cedric Tillman Grade A+

Back to Back A+ grades. I am surprised that Tillman fell to the 3rd round as I had him as a strict 2nd round prospect in this class. Now Tillman mainly played as a slot receiver and a big issue is he is not the greatest in zone coverage. However, his size, ball skills, explosiveness, and speed are too good to pass on. Giving Deshaun Watson as many receivers to throw to is a great idea, but they better hope that Watson can shake his rust off and play like Texan Watson.

75. Atlanta Falcons - DE/EDGE Zach Harrison (Ohio State) Grade C+

The Falcons needed to address their pass rushing issues and they finally did it by taking Harrison. Now I think Harrison is a solid prospect, but he is still raw and could clean up his techniques as a pass rushers, but he has athleticism and he can be explosive. I think in time he should be a solid contributor to the Falcons defense.

76. New England Patriots (from Carolina Panthers) - LB Marte Mapu (Sacramento State) Grade A-

I had a late 3rd/early 4th round grade on Mapu, but I don’t hate the Patriots taking him a bit early. When watching his film the one word I immediately think of is playmaker. He can make important plays when it matters and his physicality is a big benefit. I can see Mapu work at safety as well if the Patriots want to experiment with him a bit. This is a typical Bill Belichick pick and despite his dark arts, the guy is a freaking genius.

77. Los Angeles Rams (from New England Patriots, via Miami Dolphins) - DE/EDGE Byron Young (Tennessee) Grade B+

Wait, I thought Byron Young already got taken? Nah I’m kidding. Young going to the Rams is very intriguing and it makes a lot of sense as they needed to improve the pass rushing core on this defense. In fact the Rams pass rushing has been an issue since Von Miller left a few years ago. Los Angeles gets a very athletic and explosive pass rusher in Young that should help improve the defense. Worse for worse he is a solid depth piece.

78. Green Bay Packers - TE Tucker Kraft (South Dakota State) Grade B+

Oh now the Packers go tight end. This should have been done a round ago, but hey better late than never. I like the selection of Kraft and I am kind of surprised he fell to round 3. Kraft is still a bit raw, but he is a great blocker, has strong position versatility, and is athletic for a guy his size. He is yet another weapon Jordan Love can throw too and he fills a need which is a plus as well.

79. Indianapolis Colts (from Washington Commanders) - WR Josh Downs (North Carolina) Grade A

Many have disagreed with me, but this is my favorite selection the Colts made in this draft and it is not close. Downs to me was a guy I had as an early 2nd round prospect and the fact he fell this far surprises me. He is extremely explosive, has great hands, is a smooth route runner, and has a strong awareness. The Colts also needed a slot receiver after the departure of Parris Campbell and Downs immediately fills a need. My one issue is Downs is a slot receiver, but he is a pretty good one.

80. Carolina Panthers (from Pittsburgh Steelers) - DE/EDGE D.J. Johnson (Oregon) Grade C+

Really interesting that the Panthers went DE/EDGE here. Especially as it was not a tremendous need for the team. Many friends of mine that are Panthers fans tell me that he is likely going to replace Reddick, but I am not so sure Johnson is a great fit at linebacker. He has a ton of upside as a pass rusher, but he is still pretty raw. He is going to need time to solidify his skills, but I still give the pick a thumbs up.

81. Tennessee Titans - RB Tyjae Spears (Tulane) Grade C

Besides Derrick Henry, I legit could not name a running back on their roster currently. Spears on paper is a very good prospect and the film I saw of him in the senior bowl is very good. I mean he to me was the most impressive running back to come out of the pro bowl, especially with how he handled himself against linebackers.

The Talent is there, but my big issue is the chronic Knee injuries that Spears has suffered through. Heck he doesn’t even have ACL cartilage in one of his knees. I really wish I could grade this in the B range, but the injury concerns are making me lean towards grading Spears in the C range.

82. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE/EDGE YaYa Digby (Louisville) Grade C

I had YaYa Digby as a 4th/5th round prospect, but I get why the Buccaneers would want to select him. He is a great pass rusher and has the attributes you want to see in a pass rusher. The problem is that Digby is a below average run stopper and unless they can develop skills in that, I have a feeling Digby will be utilized as a rotational piece.

83. Denver Broncos (from Seattle Seahawks) - CB Riley Moss (Iowa) Grade C

Wow, shocked that the Broncos again went defense in the 3rd round. Was cornerback really a tremendous need for Denver though? Well kind of as they did need a depth, but they could have waited a few rounds to get Moss. I think it is fair value though as I had Moss labeled as a 3rd/4th round prospect in this draft

84. Miami Dolphins - RB Devon Achane (Texas A&M) Grade B+

McDaniel is a disciple of Kyle Shanahan coaching tree and the running back position is very important in their offensive scheme. I really like this pick as the Dolphins needed a younger running back as Raheem Mostert is 31 years old and Jeff Wilson is turning 28 in November. Getting depth at running back never hurts and Achane gives the Dolphins another pass catching option for Tua Tagovailoa to throw too.

85. Los Angeles Chargers - LB Daiyan Henley (Washington State) Grade A-

Over Trenton Simpson? I don’t hate Henley as he was the 2nd best linebacker on the board, but I guess the Chargers felt that he fit their scheme a lot more. I will say, this kid has speed and I like the way he covers defenders as well. He even takes solid pursuit angles as well. I like this move to help improve a bad Chargers linebacker core.

86. Baltimore Ravens - LB Trenton Simpson (Clemson) Grade A+

I mean, how does Baltimore do this every season? They always get the great players on defense that always slides to them. I contemplated Simpson as the number one linebacker in the class. \I mean their linebacker core is Patrick Queen, Roquan Smith, and now Trenton Simpson. This might be the best linebacker core in the NFL today.

87. San Francisco 49ers (from Minnesota Vikings) - S Ji'Ayir Brown (Penn State) Grade A+

Back to back A+ Grades. Why do you ask? I actually scouted Ji’Ayir Brown on the side and one of the team fits I had was to the San Francisco 49ers. He will be the Jimmie Ward replacement on defense and he is super instinctive. Brown also does a great job in coverage and is also a very smooth tackler as well. Great pick 49ers.

88. Jacksonville Jaguars - RB Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby (Auburn) Grade B

It’s not a Trent Baalke draft without taking a running back on Day 1 or 2 of the draft. I do believe the Jaguars have better needs, but I don’t mind it as the Jaguars don’t have a great backup on the roster right now. Plus I am a Tank Bigsby guy myself and he fits well with Doug Peterson’s offense, so I don't mind the choice.

89. Los Angeles Rams (from New York Giants) - DE/EDGE Kobie Turner (Wake Forest) Grade: HACKENBERG

Woah did not see Turner going in the third round at all. He is undersized, does not have the greatest flexibility, poor posture, and his tackling technique is not the greatest. Now he did show flashes in Wake Forest that he could be a solid pass rusher, which definitely is intriguing, but I had him as a 6th/7th round prospect as well, so this is definitely a reach.

90. Dallas Cowboys - LB DeMarvion Overshown (Texas) Grade B+

Looks like Overshown won’t be leaving the state of Texas anytime soon. He’s going to Jerry World. He will likely be the insurance policy to Leighton Vander Esch who has had constant neck issues which scares me. Overshown is a great pick for Dallas and while he is an outside linebacker, he can work as an interior linebacker as well. For a guy his size it impresses me how fast he is moving around the field.

91. Buffalo Bills - LB Dorian Williams (Tulane) Grade C

This is the Tremaine Edmunds replacement on defense. The Bills did not do much during the offseason to fill the loss of Edmonds and had to rely on the draft to fix the need. Which is why I thought the Bills would utilize a 1st round pick on a linebacker. Dorian Williams is not a fantastic option, but he was the best interior linebacker on the board and it fills a need.

92. Kansas City Chiefs (from Cincinnati Bengals) - OT Wanya Morris (Oklahoma) Grade B

Over Blake Freeland and Dawand Jones? There is something going on whether it is injury issues or something else that is making both fall. I don’t hate the Chiefs going Morris though as they need to find the replacement for Orlando Brown Jr and Morris to me is a great fit on the right side of the o-line. The one thing that Morris must do is add some strength as I believe that he is lacking it.

93. Pittsburgh Steelers (from San Francisco 49ers, via Carolina Panthers) - TE Darnell Washington Grade: A+

I was perplexed that Washington fell to the third round. Then news came out where he had medical issues due to a knee injury and it made sense for his drop. However the Steelers noticed the slide he was on and thought he was too talented to pass on. Especially when pairing him and Pat Freiermuth together, my goodness if Washington can stay healthy then the Steelers will have the best tight end duo in the league.

94. Arizona Cardinals (from Philadelphia Eagles) - WR Michael Wilson (Stanford)

I like Michael Wilson, I do, but this is a round too early. I don’t hate Arizona going receiver as they need to give Kyler Murray weapons to throw to when the day comes that they trade Hopkins. While Hopkins is likely not going anywhere during the draft, he is definitely a candidate to be moved during the trade deadline. Meanwhile getting a taller receiver that is a smooth route runner is a solid move. If Wilson can stay healthy, that will help determine if this pick will work or won’t.

95. Cincinnati Bengals (from Kansas City Chiefs) - S Jordan Battle (Alabama) Grade C

I get the pick, I really do as the Bengals did need safety help, but he is a bit too inconsistent for me to want to spend a 3rd rounder on a player. I would rather have JL Skinner at this spot, but I guess the Bengals saw the splashy plays and thought he was too good to pass on. I will say Battle is a very physical player, with fluidity and versatility. If he can perform at a more consistent rate, then this pick should work.

96. Detroit Lions (from Arizona Cardinals) - DT Broderic Martin (Western Kentucky) Grade D

Why did the Lions trade up 26 spots just to get Broderic Martin? Martin would have been available no matter what as I had a late 4th round grade on him. I am not going to give it a HACKENBERG (F) grade as I don’t think Martin is an awful selection. He is a nice depth piece on Detroit’s defense, but it just seems bizarre that they made this move.

97. Washington Commanders - C Ricky Stromberg (Arkansas) Grade D-

Oh boy, I did not have Stromberg going in the third round at all as I had him as a 6th round prospect. He is a physical blocker and can be a mauler, but he does not have the greatest posture when in his blocking position. He is a great run blocker, but he needs to refine his skills as a pass blocker. I get that the Commanders needed a center, but they could have waited to take Stromberg.

98. Cleveland Browns - DT Siaki Ika (Baylor) Grade A+

Dang it Cleveland, I wanted Ika to drop to the Jets in the 4th round. While he has injury concerns, he is one of my favorite defensive tackle run stoppers in this draft class. The Browns run defense was absolutely awful last season. It was mostly due to awful coaching by Joe Woods, but they needed to shake things up on the defensive line. Ika should give this defense a big boost.

99. San Francisco 49ers - K Jake Moody (Michigan) Grade: HACKENBERG

WHY are the 49ers taking a Kicker in the 3rd round? I don’t care if there was a need, Special teams players should never be drafted until the 6th or 7th round. I can make an exception in the late 5th round, but that depends on the prospect. Easiest HACKENBERG (F) Grade I have ever made in this draft grade. I am so Moody that the 49ers made this pick.

100. Las Vegas Raiders (from Kansas City Chiefs via New York Giants) - WR Tre Tucker (Cincinnati) Grade D

I had Tucker as a 5th round prospect in this draft class. I am a bit perplexed why the Raiders made the choice to draft Tucker. I wonder if they wanted to get depth behind Hunter Renfrow. He is explosive and is a very speedy player, but he is very limited as he mainly lined up in the slot.

101. San Francisco 49ers - TE Cameron Latu (Alabama) Grade B

Latu is a nice depth piece at tight end for the 49ers. Kittle is turning 30 and knowing his injury history it might be time to prepare for life post Kittle. Latu is a good get in a tight end deep draft class. His athleticism and size are intriguing, but what isn’t is the injuries that he has had through his college career. As a 3rd rounder, it is definitely worth the upside and versatility with him.

102. Minnesota Vikings (from San Francisco 49ers) - CB Mekhi Blackmon (USC) Grade A

Minnesota’s secondary is still a weakness and they needed more corners on this team. I like the selection of Mekhi Blackmon a lot as I think he is a great fit on the Vikings defense. He may be small, but he has some speed and he does a solid job in coverage. His Senior Bowl performance also got me to like Blackmon a lot more.



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