Re-grading Green Bay Packers' 2023 NFL Draft class after one season

The Packers hit a home run.
Green Bay Packers, Jayden Reed
Green Bay Packers, Jayden Reed / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

With the Aaron Rodgers era over and the Green Bay Packers moving on from several multi-year starters, they needed a few base hits in the 2023 NFL Draft.

General manager Brian Gutekunst did more than that. He swung for the fences and delivered the Packers' best draft class in recent memory. Green Bay's 13 selections combined for 52 starts, 2,198 rushing and receiving yards, 17 total touchdowns, and 219 points.

They reenergized a team that had fallen well short of expectations in Rodgers' final year, providing Packers fans with excitement for the future with Jordan Love.

When grading the class, we factor in production, performance, as well as value. Spoiler: Green Bay hit the jackpot by drafting Dontayvion Wicks in the fifth round.

Handing out grades for Packers 2023 draft class a year on

Round 1 (13): Lukas Van Ness, EDGE

It's early days, and Lukas Van Ness sat behind Rashan Gary and Preston Smith for most of his rookie season, but the Packers' first-round pick didn't make a consistent impact. It was a similar story for Gary in his first year while he was a backup to the Smith Bros.

The exciting part is how Van Ness finished the season. In the final seven games, he made three sacks, eight QB hits, and four tackles for loss before adding another sack in the playoffs. The future is bright, but Van Ness still has a lot to prove.

Grade: C

Round 2 (42): Luke Musgrave, TE

Luke Musgrave is already the best tight end the Packers have had since Jermichael Finley. He showed game-changing potential in year one, making 34 catches for 352 yards and a touchdown. Musgrave tied Bubba Franks' Packers record for receptions by a rookie tight end, and he would've gone way past it had it not been for injury.

Musgrave is a difference-maker and has huge potential in the years ahead.

Grade: A

Round 2 (50): Jayden Reed, WR

The Packers couldn't have asked for more from Jayden Reed in his rookie season. Reed instantly became a top target for Jordan Love, leading Green Bay in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He finished with 912 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns.

He shattered Sterling Sharpe's franchise record for receptions as a rookie, proving why he is one of the young stars of an ascending Packers offense.

Grade: A+

Round 3 (78): Tucker Kraft, TE

A slow start to the season had Packers fans worried their third-round curse would continue, but Tucker Kraft raised his game following Luke Musgrave's injury. In the final seven games, Kraft caught 26 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns, showing off his impressive yards-after-catch ability.

The most impressive part was Kraft's improvement as a blocker—it was like watching a different player in the second half of the season. Kraft can become a significant contributor for several years in Green Bay's offense.

Grade: B+

Round 4 (116): Colby Wooden, DL

It's too strong to call Colby Wooden's rookie season disappointing, as it would be unfair to place high expectations on a fourth-round rookie. However, Wooden didn't make much of an impact and played the fewest snaps of all Packers defensive linemen, including sixth-round pick Karl Brooks. Wooden made 17 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and two quarterback hits.

Grade: C-

Round 5 (149): Sean Clifford, QB

Drafting Sean Clifford in the fifth round felt like a reach at the time, and it still may prove to be true. However, the Packers love him, with Brian Gutekunst saying he has "proven he can be a No. 2, and maybe more." Clifford impressed in the preseason and completed his only regular-season pass for 37 yards.

Grade: C

Round 5 (159): Dontayvion Wicks, WR

What more can we say about Dontayvion Wicks? He was outstanding, making a mockery of no team drafting him before the fifth round. A re-draft by CBS Sports had him going in the first round—that's how good he was. Wicks looked like a veteran, using his route-running ability to get open with ease, finishing his rookie season with 581 yards and four touchdowns.

It won't be surprising if Wicks becomes the Packers' best wide receiver in the near future.

Grade: A+

Round 6 (179): Karl Brooks, DT

Karl Brooks never should've fallen to the sixth round, and he proved why in year one. Despite not starting any games, Brooks became a key contributor along the defensive line, making four sacks, five quarterback hits, six tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. Brooks has an exciting future in Green Bay.

Grade: A+

Round 6 (207): Anders Carlson, K

Anders Carlson's rookie year couldn't have gone much worse. He had a league-worst six missed extra-point tries (including playoffs) and a total of 13 missed kicks. A crucial missed field goal from 41 yards hurt the Packers in their playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Carlson will have to win a kicking competition to retain his job this summer.

Grade: D

Round 7 (232): Carrington Valentine, CB

Carrington Valentine started 12 more games than first-round pick Van Ness. That's not a criticism of Van Ness but praise for Valentine, who exceeded expectations for a seventh-round rookie.

Valentine broke up nine passes and held his own against some of the league's best receivers. According to Pro Football Reference, he allowed a completion percentage of only 57.6 and a passer rating of 84.8. Valentine could be a perfect fit for the new defensive system, which should feature more press-man coverage. There's room to improve, but Valentine showed so much promise in year one.

Grade: A+

Round 7 (235): Lew Nichols, RB

Lew Nichols struggled to make an impact throughout training camp and missed out on a 53-man roster spot. He signed a futures deal with the Philadelphia Eagles at the end of the season.

Grade: F

Round 7 (242): Anthony Johnson Jr., S

Anthony Johnson Jr. was forced into action in his rookie season, starting four games. He showed promise, breaking up three passes and intercepting one. According to Pro Football Reference, Johnson allowed a passer rating of just 66.8 in his coverage. There's still a lot for Johnson to improve—his eight missed tackles were concerning—but he has a good chance to enter 2024 as the Packers' top backup at safety.

Grade: B

Round 7 (256): Grant DuBose, WR

Grant DuBose didn't play as a rookie but remains part of the Packers' plans. He signed a futures contract at the end of the season and will compete for a roster spot over the summer.

Grade: Incomplete

We'll see what happens in the upcoming draft, but you can still claim FanDuel Sportsbook's $200 bonus for any $5 winning first bet today! Just sign up, deposit at least $10 and bet $5 or more on any game and you'll get $200 in bonus bets if the wager wins. Click here to sign up for FanDuel now!

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