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How talented is the 2023 NFL draft class? ESPN gives a hint

First round grades are far more rare than first round picks

NFL: Cleveland Browns-2021 NFL Draft Press Conference Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns fans seem to be/are disgruntled at this point in the offseason. The general narrative is that the team doesn’t have any cap space or draft picks to go along with not a good roster and not good coaching.

Despite that narrative, the Browns can create significant cap space, have eight draft picks, have a generally talented roster and added Jim Schwartz to (good game manager) Kevin Stefanski’s coaching staff.

Cleveland doesn’t have a first-round draft, the one that most fans believe is the most and only important draft pick, especially after the movie “Draft Day.” The NFL draft has often been described as the Browns Super Bowl and fans’ favorite day of the year. Not getting to partake in many mock drafts makes it less fun.

What we are still piecing together is just how talented the 2023 NFL draft actually is. Sometimes a draft class is heavy on top-level talent but not very deep. Sometimes it is very deep but missing the top piece and, rarely, it is both.

With the Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl, NFL combine and pro days still ahead, we have a long way to go before having a good grasp on this class. ESPN’s Matt Miller (subscriber, $) gave us an idea of how he sees the top of the class, giving just 20 first-round grades out. As Miller and many others note, it is rare to have more than 20 or so true first-round talents in any class. Some years the number is in the low teens.

A good sign for Cleveland that this class might have some depth, based on Miller’s number, but looking at some of the positions of interest for the Browns is also of note:

WR - Three first-round grades: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston

DT - One first-round grade: Jalen Carter

DE - Four first-round grades: Will Anderson Jr., Myles Murphy, Tyree Wilson, Lukas Van Ness

LB - Zero first-round grades

Safety - One first-round grade: Brian Branch

We will keep you updated with anything and everything we can related to the 2023 NFL draft even if Cleveland currently doesn’t have a first-round pick. There is still a lot that could happen between now and the draft so all information is useful information.