Now that the NFL Draft is over, the fun of deciding the NFL Draft winners and losers in 2023 can begin. For the record, it’ll be at least three to five years until we know the true NFL Draft winners and losers of 2023.

It’ll probably be even longer than that until we know if this is one of the greatest draft classes in NFL history or if any of these players end up becoming one of the best picks in NFL Draft history.

NFL Draft winners and losers 2023

Nevertheless, the immediate analysis of the 2023 NFL Draft is underway, so we decided to pick out our NFL Draft winners and losers of 2023, at least at first glance. So what teams knocked it out of the park with their early picks and then found some great draft sleepers in the late rounds?

At the same time, what teams made huge mistakes with their picks that they’ll regret for a long time? Let’s explore the answers to those questions by checking out the NFL Draft winners and losers of 2023.

Winners: Texans

With Carolina trading up for the top pick, the Texans may have only gotten their second choice at quarterback in C.J. Stroud. But trading up to the no. 3 pick to take Will Anderson Jr. made them huge winners in this draft. Houston ended up with two of the top five players available in the draft, adding a potential different-maker on both sides of the ball.

       

There aren’t many teams that can say they did that in any year. It almost doesn’t matter what they did after that, although Houston still ended up making seven more picks. The Texans were able to add some depth at the offensive line and at each level of the defense while also picking up a couple of promising wide receivers, so they came out of this draft with a vastly improved roster.

Losers: Falcons

Even if the Falcons love Bijan Robinson, taking him eighth overall was a bit of a stretch. They could have easily joined the trend of trading down and finding him later in the first round. He obviously fills a need, although not necessarily the biggest one they had.

Likewise, trading up in the second round to get Matthew Bergeron was a head-scratcher. Bergeron is a great pick-up at that point, but again, that wasn’t one of Atlanta’s more pressing needs.

Even if they ended up with some good players, including Ohio State defensive end Zach Harrison, the Falcons weren’t all that economical with their draft capital and failed to address all of their needs with the picks they had.

Winners: Lions

The Lions were that team that walked a thin line between being NFL Draft winners and losers in 2023. Taking Jahmyr Gibbs with the no. 12 overall pick was a huge stretch, no matter how much they like him. That being said, the Lions had three of the top 34 picks and four picks in the top 50, so they acquired a lot of talent in this draft.

Jack Campbell was a nice pick in the first round and brings a lot of great intangibles to the table. Plus, safety Brian Branch was arguably the best safety in the draft and could have easily been a first-round pick, yet he fell to Detroit in the middle of the second round. That was a huge score for the Lions.

The same can be said of getting Hendon Hooker early in the third round. They can be patient with him, but Hooker has the tools to be a potential steal if he develops.

Losers: Browns

In their defense, the Browns didn’t have a lot to work with in this draft. Cleveland’s first pick wasn’t until the third round, although they had two in the third, two in the fourth, and two in the fifth.

Yet, they didn’t walk away with any players who are too impressive. Adding some depth to the defensive line was a positive for them. However, there are no real impact players in this class. Plus, with so little draft capital, using a pick on Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a quarterback who might be good enough to earn the backup job, doesn’t seem like the smartest move.

Winners: Patriots

Despite struggling in recent drafts, the Patriots come out of the 2023 NFL Draft feeling good. They got lucky when Christian Gonzalez fell to them at no. 17. He should have gone in the top 10, if not the top five, so he’s a huge steal at that point in the draft.

Defensive end Keion White was also the ideal pick in the second round. He’s one of several players among their 12 picks that fit in their scheme or will be useful situationally. Also, with the New England offense struggling to find playmakers in recent years, Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas are both excellent Day 3 additions.

Losers: Chiefs

Luckily for the Chiefs, they didn’t need any impact players from this draft because they didn’t gain much. First-round pick Felix Anudike-Uzomah fills a need on the defensive line but may not project to be a huge difference-maker.

Also, second-round wide receiver Rashee Rice was a bit of a stretch when it could have been easy to find better wide receivers later in the draft. The rest of Kansas City’s draft was mostly defensive players who might be able to add a little depth but are far from sure things to even make their roster despite the team’s obvious defensive needs.

Winners: Eagles

After falling one game short of a championship last season, the Eagles knocked it out of the park in this draft and took a big step forward. Obviously, there is some risk in taking Jalen Carter given his off-field issues, but talent-wise, he’s a steal no. 9 overall.

Philadelphia was also smart enough to take two more players from the dominant Georgia defense. Grabbing Nolan Smith late in the first round was also another big addition. Carter and Smith both joining the Philly defense is huge for the Eagles. They also got excellent value finding Tyler Steen in the third round, helping to address their needs on the offensive line.

Losers: Titans

Taking Peter Skoronski no. 11 overall was a nice addition for Tennessee, although if he’s going to start at guard, he doesn’t have as much value at that stage in the draft. Meanwhile, taking Will Levis in the second round seems like a steal. He’ll have a chance to sit behind Ryan Tannehill for a year rather than being rushed onto the field.

But they also drafted him one year after using a third-round pick on Malik Willis. Therefore, there are some question marks about the team’s first two picks. The Titans only had four other picks and didn’t do enough with them to put together a strong class.

Winners: Cardinals

With the Cardinals clearly in rebuilding mode, this is an excellent class to move them along. Paris Johnson Jr. addresses a glaring need on the offensive line. Defensively, BJ Ojulari and Garrett Williams add a lot to the Arizona defense. Ojulari was a proven pass-rusher in the SEC while Williams could have been among the best cornerbacks available if not for an ACL injury last season, so he should step in as a starter right away when he returns to full health.

Elsewhere, wide receiver Michael Wilson impressed at the Senior Bowl while the rest of Arizona’s class added much-needed depth and talent to their defense. 

Losers: Jets

It’s hard to call the Jets losers the same week they added Aaron Rodgers. But in terms of their draft class, they didn’t do much. Will McDonald was a decent first-round selection, although he’s not even going to be an every-down player right away for a team that’s clearly in win-now mode now that Rodgers is there.

They’re also asking second-round pick Joe Tippmann to beat out a veteran and then protect Rodgers, which is a lot to ask of a rookie center. The rest of New York’s picks came on Day 3 and were hopeful picks at best.

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