Most improved player for all 32 NFL teams after the 2023 regular season

2TDDPD5 Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland (26) defends during an NFL Football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

• Eagles' Jordan Mailata becomes an elite left tackle: He surged to an 80.0-plus PFF grade in 2023 after recording a 76.5 mark in 2022.

• DaRon Bland vaults himself into the DPOY conversation: Bland earned a 71.9 PFF grade in 2022 but rode five pick-sixes to a far better mark this season.

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Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

The 2023 NFL regular season ended a couple of weeks ago, and it is time to look at who made the most out of the 17-game slate. We're looking at each team’s most improved player, and while PFF grades influenced this list, they were not the sole factor. In addition, where possible a younger player was selected whose improvement can be interpreted as a sign of development.


ARZ | ATL | BLT | BUF | CAR | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | DAL | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LVR | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

Arizona Cardinals: TE Trey McBride

  • 2022 PFF grade: 50.9
  • 2023 PFF grade: 76.3

McBride broke out in his second NFL season despite playing with three quarterbacks throughout the year. After bringing in 31 receptions in 2022, he recorded 81 catches in 2023. Furthermore, his 2.03 yards per route run figure ranked second behind only George Kittle among tight ends.

Atlanta Falcons: C Drew Dalman

  • 2022 PFF grade: 65.9
  • 2023 PFF grade: 82.3

Experts and fans had high expectations for the Falcons' offensive line in 2023, mainly because of right guard Chris Lindstrom. Not many foreshadowed that Dalman, in his third NFL season, would be among the league's best centers. He ranked third among centers in PFF grade, largely because of his run-blocking prowess (90.0).

Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Odafe Oweh

  • 2022 PFF grade: 56.8
  • 2023 PFF grade: 80.7

Although he missed time due to injury early in the season, Oweh put together his best season yet. The former first-round pick recorded 58 quarterback pressures — including five sacks — to set a career high despite rushing the passer fewer times than in his first two NFL seasons.

Buffalo Bills: LB Tyrel Dodson

  • 2022 PFF grade: 48.4
  • 2023 PFF grade: 89.5

Dodson joined the starting lineup following Matt Milano’s season-ending injury and did not look back. He logged 590 snaps, including the playoffs, which was more than he had in his first three seasons combined. He was also among the very best at his position, earning the second-highest PFF overall grade among linebackers and grading out above 86.0 both in run defense and coverage.

Carolina Panthers: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos

  • 2022 PFF grade: 51.2
  • 2023 PFF grade: 65.4

It is not easy to highlight someone on the 2023 Carolina Panthers who has significantly improved compared to previous seasons. However, while Gross-Matos missed time due to an injury, he recorded career-high pass-rushing, run-defense and overall grades in his fourth NFL season.

Chicago Bears: CB Jaylon Johnson

  • 2022 PFF grade: 62.9
  • 2023 PFF grade: 90.8

Perhaps no player improved more than Johnson this season. While he failed to earn an overall PFF grade above 65.0 in each of his first three NFL seasons, he graded out at 90.8 in 2023, making him the highest-graded cornerback in the league this season. He allowed just a 33.3 passer rating in coverage — the lowest mark among cornerbacks.

Cincinnati Bengals: CB Cam Taylor-Britt

  • 2022 PFF grade: 56.1
  • 2023 PFF grade: 64.5

Taylor-Britt, after playing due to injury in 2022, was a Day 1 starter in the Bengals' secondary in 2023. He played well despite missing time with an injury himself, allowing just a 67.6 passer rating, which ranked ninth among 135 cornerbacks.

Cleveland Browns: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

  • 2022 PFF grade: 65.5
  • 2023 PFF grade: 75.2

Owusu-Koramoah struggled to stay healthy during his first two NFL seasons but played in all of Cleveland’s meaningful games in 2023. He missed only the Week 18 game against Cincinnati when Cleveland rested its starters. He was especially good at rushing the passer, ranking third among linebackers in pass-rushing grade (87.2).

Dallas Cowboys: CB DaRon Bland

  • 2022 PFF grade: 71.9
  • 2023 PFF grade: 90.4

Bland improved astronomically compared to his 2022 rookie campaign, even becoming a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He set an NFL record with five pick-sixes and also earned the second-highest PFF overall grade among cornerbacks.

Denver Broncos: C Lloyd Cushenberry III

  • 2022 PFF grade: 56.2
  • 2023 PFF grade: 73.3

Cushenberry's career year in his contract season was a huge part of why the Broncos' offensive line was among the NFL's best units in 2023. While he earned a PFF grade over 70.0 only once in his first three seasons — a 71.3 pass-blocking grade in 2021 — the former LSU Tiger garnered grades over 72.0 in both run blocking and pass blocking in 2023.

Detroit Lions: DI Alim McNeill

  • 2022 PFF grade: 69.8
  • 2023 PFF grade: 88.5

The former third-round more than doubled his career sack total in 2023. After recording three sacks over his first two seasons, McNeill sacked opposing quarterbacks five times this season. He also recorded a career-high 34 quarterback pressures.

Green Bay Packers: QB Jordan Love

  • 2022 PFF grade: N/A
  • 2023 PFF grade: 83.0

We are making an exception here, as Jordan Love deserves a place on this list despite his lack of playing time prior to 2023. Over the first eight weeks of the season, Love was just the 24th-highest-graded quarterback in the NFL (65.4). However, he earned a 90.7 grade through the remainder of the season, which tied for the second-best mark among quarterbacks over that period.

Houston Texans: WR Nico Collins

  • 2022 PFF grade: 72.4
  • 2023 PFF grade: 91.0

Collins reached his full potential in his first season with C.J. Stroud at quarterback. He struggled with a calf injury during the second half of the season and missed some time, but he finished the regular season with a 91.0 grade. Including his postseason performance, he earned a 91.4 overall grade that ranked third among wide receivers in 2023.

Indianapolis Colts: CB Kenny Moore

  • 2022 PFF grade: 55.7
  • 2023 PFF grade: 77.4

Moore may be 30 years old, with some believing he is on the downswing of his career, but he responded to any potential critics in style. His 79.3 coverage grade and 78.1 overall grade were both career highs.

Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Devin Lloyd

  • 2022 PFF grade: 48.3
  • 2023 PFF grade: 78.1

Lloyd was a liability at times in coverage and run defense during his rookie campaign, but he improved in both facets for his second season. He finished the season with a 90.3 run-defense grade, ranking third among linebackers.

Kansas City Chiefs: CB Trent McDuffie

  • 2022 PFF grade: 73.6
  • 2023 PFF grade: 82.9

McDuffie showed plenty of promise during his rookie season but really broke out in 2023. He has earned an 83.3 PFF grade, including the playoffs, which ranks fifth among cornerbacks. McDuffie essentially played a different position in 2023, moving from primarily outside to the slot cornerback and rushing the passer 65 times, which was the second most among cornerbacks in 2023.

Las Vegas Raiders: LB Robert Spillane

  • 2022 PFF grade: 52.5
  • 2023 PFF grade: 77.0

Spillane is one of a few players on this list who changed teams between the 2022 and the 2023 seasons. This led to increased playing time for him, as he logged 1,100 snaps during his first season with the Raiders after never playing more than 600 snaps in a season with the Steelers. He also earned career-high grades in run blocking and pass rushing in 2023.

Los Angeles Chargers: S Alohi Gilman

  • 2022 PFF grade: 54.3
  • 2023 PFF grade: 86.1

Gilman became a starter for the Chargers toward the end of the 2022 season and kept his position for the 2023 season. Despite missing three games, he played significantly more snaps in 2023 than in any of his previous three NFL seasons. He also played really well, as his 86.1 PFF overall grade ranked sixth among all safeties in the NFL.

Los Angeles Rams: G Kevin Dotson

  • 2022 PFF grade: 65.4
  • 2023 PFF grade: 85.2

Similar to Spillane, Dotson made this list after playing for the Steelers in 2022. The Rams traded for the guard, and while he did not play in the first three weeks, he eventually became a true force in the running game. Dotson’s 88.8 run-blocking grade tied for first among guards during the regular season.

Miami Dolphins: S Jevon Holland

  • 2022 PFF grade: 65.5
  • 2023 PFF grade: 90.4

Following a disappointing 2022 season, Holland was back to his old self in 2023, ranking among the best safeties in the league until he got injured late in the season. His 90.4 PFF overall grade tied for second among safeties this season.

Minnesota Vikings: S Camryn Bynum

  • 2022 PFF grade: 58.2
  • 2023 PFF grade: 73.2

Although Bynum flashed ability as a role player in 2021, he failed to replicate that performance as a starter in 2022. However, 2023 was his year. He played more than 1,100 snaps for the Vikings' defense in 2023 and ranked as the fourth-highest-graded safety in the NFL over the first 14 weeks before tailing off toward the end of the year.

New England Patriots: DI Christian Barmore

  • 2022 PFF grade: 68.6
  • 2023 PFF grade: 83.8

Barmore put together excellent, even elite, stretches during his first two years in the league, but he was never able to compile a full season of dominant play. That changed in 2023, as he earned career-high PFF grades both in run defense and pass rushing and played especially well down the stretch.

New Orleans Saints: CB Paulson Adebo

  • 2022 PFF grade: 49.1
  • 2023 PFF grade: 78.7

Adebo formed one of the better cornerback duos in the NFL with Marshon Lattimore when they were both healthy. The former Stanford Cardinal played his best football during Weeks 8-10, recording PFF grades over 90.0 in three consecutive games. He forced 19 incompletions in 2023, which tied for the most among cornerbacks.

New York Giants: LB Micah McFadden

  • 2022 PFF grade: 38.7
  • 2023 PFF grade: 65.6

McFadden had plenty of room to improve after a tough rookie season. His overall grade in 2023 does not reflect significant advancements due to a couple of bad performances, but McFadden had multiple elite games in 2023, grading out above 88.0 on four occasions.

New York Jets: LB Quincy Williams

  • 2022 PFF grade: 55.2
  • 2023 PFF grade: 81.1

Linebacker Quincy Williams was a breakout candidate for many prior to the 2023 season, and he did not disappoint. He started the season with an 89.3 overall grade in Week 1 against the Bills and never looked back, posting career-high figures in every facet and finishing the season with the second-highest coverage grade among linebackers — behind only teammate C.J. Mosley.

Philadelphia Eagles: OT Jordan Mailata

  • 2022 PFF grade 76.5
  • 2023 PFF grade: 84.1

Philadelphia’s left tackle developed into one of the NFL's elite players at the position in 2023, as he earned an 83.2 pass-blocking grade and 83.0 run-blocking grade during the regular season.

Pittsburgh Steelers: DI Armon Watts

  • 2022 PFF grade: 49.2
  • 2023 PFF grade: 76.2

Defensive lineman Armon Watts joined the Steelers after playing in Chicago in 2022, and he earned a career-high run-defense grade. Watts could very well earn more playing time in 2024.

San Francisco 49ers: CB Deommodore Lenoir

  • 2022 PFF grade: 55.9
  • 2023 PFF grade: 72.5

Lenoir’s role changed for the 2023 season, as he spent more of his time in the slot. It helped his performance following a somewhat disappointing 2022 season. He allowed just a 75.0 passer rating into his coverage and earned a 72.6 PFF coverage grade during the regular season — both career-high marks.

Seattle Seahawks: CB Michael Jackson

  • 2022 PFF grade: 60.2
  • 2023 PFF grade: 77.0

The Seahawks' drafting of Devon Witherspoon reduced Jackson's playing time, but he was still among the few Seahawks who improved on their 2022 performance. He forced an incompletion on 19% of passes going his way, which was tied for the 12th-best rate among cornerbacks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Luke Goedeke

  • 2022 PFF grade: 43.7
  • 2023 PFF grade: 72.5

Goedeke is the only player on this list who changed positions between the 2022 and 2023 seasons, moving from guard to right tackle. The switch went so well that Goedeke was among the best second-year offensive linemen in the NFL. He finished as one of just seven right tackles to earn 70.0-plus pass-blocking and run-blocking grades.

Tennessee Titans: CB Roger McCreary

  • 2022 PFF grade: 62.6
  • 2023 PFF grade: 71.3

Despite allowing more catches in 2023, he gave up 80 fewer yards than in 2022 and did not let up a single touchdown reception all season after surrendering seven during his rookie season.

Washington Commanders: LB Jamin Davis

  • 2022 PFF grade: 62.9
  • 2023 PFF grade: 67.6

Not many players on the 2023 Washington Commanders team played significantly better than in 2022, although the former Kentucky linebacker showed promising signs during this third NFL season in the NFL before suffering a season-ending injury. Whereas he was a liability in the running game during his rookie campaign, Davis ranked 19th among linebackers in run-defense grade (76.1) in 2023.


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