And just like that, the 2023 NFL Draft is over. There were some big trades, surprising picks, and shocking players who fell down the board. The 2023 draft offered everything you could want as a fan on draft weekend.
How did the NFC North make out? While acknowledging that you generally need three years to give a conclusive grade on draft picks, let’s hand out some way-too-early grades for the Chicago Bears and their division rivals.
2023 Draft class: Jahmyr Gibbs (RB), Jack Campbell (LB), Sam LaPorta (TE), Brian Branch (DB), Brodric Martin (DT), Hendon Hooker (QB), Colby Sorsdal (OL), Antoine Green (WR)
At the end of Day 1, I gave Detroit a D- for their draft. Jahmyr Gibbs was a massive reach at 12th overall, who probably could have been had with their first Day 2 pick. In his press conference, Brad Holmes, GM of the Lions, said that teams were chattering about taking Jahmyr Gibbs somewhere between the Lions’ two first-round picks, but I’m not buying that. Missing out on another top prospect at a position of need, like cornerback Christian Gonzalez, makes that pick a disaster.
Day 2 was slightly better. LaPorta isn’t a bad pick, but Michael Mayer was still available (and was taken the next selection when the Raiders traded up). Hendon Hooker is a high-upside quarterback, but he’s already 25 years old, still recovering from an ACL injury, and will have to make a huge adjustment from the QB-friendly system he ran in college to the NFL.
The Lions added some impact players, but not at positions of need or the right slot to make them good picks. I’ll improve on their Day 1 grade, but only a little.