Background Circle Background Circle
NFL rookies who will make the biggest impact in 2023

NFL rookies who will make the biggest impact in 2023

As the Kansas City Chiefs rookie class showed in 2022, rookies can make all the difference in a late-year run. These 25 rookies are set to make the biggest impacts during the 2023 season.


Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel has already proven to be a master at producing in the running game, and Achane hits his scheme. The third rounder out of Texas A&M lacks size but makes up for it with his speed, running a blazing 4.32 40-yard dash at the combine. He could emerge from the shadows of Jeffrey Wilson and Raheem Mostert in the Dolphins backfield early this season.


Jordan Addison, WR, Vikings

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Minnesota needed a replacement for Adam Thielen, and might have found their man with Addison. The first-round pick doesn’t have the upside of Justin Jefferson, but like Thielen, he’s a tough target who can produce. He did that to the tune of over 3,100 yards in three seasons between Pitt and USC.


Will Anderson Jr., OLB, Texans

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

The Texans traded a king’s ransom to move up to third overall in the draft and select Anderson. His upside is worth it as one of the truly elite pass rushers to come out of the draft in the last several years, with 34.5 sacks over the last three seasons. Former 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans will lean on Anderson heavily in his rookie campaign.


Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Chiefs

Jerome Miron / USA Today Sports Images

The Chiefs have now selected a defensive end in the first round in back-to-back seasons, with George Karlaftis last year and now Anudike-Uzomah. The hometown kid has been shoes to fill after the Chiefs lost Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlap, and will get every opportunity to impress with one-on-ones while defenses focus on Chris Jones.


Jack Campbell, ILB, Lions

Bryon Houlgrave / USA Today Sports Images

Perhaps it wasn’t the best use of draft resources in the first round, but there’s no doubt Campbell will make an impact immediately for Detroit. He was a tackling machine at Iowa over the last two seasons, with a combined 265 tackles, and should go a long way in improving the Detroit defense this season.


Jalen Carter, DT, Eagles

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Carter was considered by many to be the top talent in the draft, but off-field concerns pushed him down to the Eagles at ninth overall. He joins a very crowded defensive line room, but the talent should push him onto the field early in the season, especially after the talent lost Javon Hargrave in free agency.


7 of 25

Zay Flowers, WR, Ravens

Zay Flowers, WR, Ravens

Bob DeChiara / USA Today Sports Images

The Ravens did their best to provide Lamar Jackson with weapons this offseason, signing Odell Beckham Jr. and now drafting Flowers in the first round. Flowers is undersized, but the Boston Collect standup his proven he can get open in collect with 200 catches and 29 touchdowns over four seasons. He’s an excellent complement in the slot to Beckham and Rashod Bateman.


Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Lions

Andrew Wevers / USA Today Sports Images

Detroit shocked the world by selecting Gibbs in the first round when they already had David Montgomery and D’Andre Swift on their roster. Gibbs showed his versatility at Alabama last season, with 44 catches. His breakaway speed should be a welcome sight for the Lions offense.


9 of 25

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Patriots

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Patriots

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

The Patriots consistently produce top defensive backs, and some turnover during the offseason should allow Gonzalez to find the field early. The first-round pick out of Oregon has ample size at 6-foot-2 and had four picks last season.


Anton Harrison, OT, Jaguars

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Few teams had a bigger need than the Jaguars did at tackle coming into the draft. The team lost right tackle Jawaan Taylor in free agency, and left tackle Cam Robinson is facing a suspension for PEDs. Harrison could be a plug-and-play at either tackle spot to help protect Trevor Lawrence.


Jalin Hyatt, WR, Giants

Saul Young / USA Today Sports Images

The Giants needed wideout help entering the offseason, but their effort in their area during the offseason was lacking. Hyatt could be an answer as a major deep threat who averaged 18.9 yards per catch at Tennessee last season and was selected in the third round.


Quentin Johnston, WR, Chargers

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Keenan Allen remains in LA, but the writing is on the wall for the team to find a replacement. The Chargers sorely lacked depth at the position last season when Allen was injured, so Johnston’s addition could be significant. He had a breakout season at TCU, with 17.8 yards per catch and six scores last season, and his size is similar to Mike Williams.


Dalton Kincaid, TE, Bills

Rob Gray / USA Today Sports Images

The Bills seem fond of Dawson Knox, but he might have reached his ceiling as the team’s tight end. Lacking a legitimate second target beyond Stefon Diggs last season, the Bills might have found it in Kincaid. A gifted pass catcher out of Utah, he scored 16 times over the last two seasons. Rookie tight ends can be a crapshoot, but Kincaid should get ample opportunity.


Will Levis, QB, Titans

Jordan Prather / USA Today Sports Images

The Titans are in full rebuild mode, and selecting Levis early in the second round is further proof. The strong-armed quarterback didn’t have the best tape, but his workouts are another story with one of the strongest arms the NFL has ever seen. The Kentucky quarterback should challenge Ryan Tannehill immediately for snaps.


Michael Mayer, TE, Raiders

Cheryl Evans / USA Today Sports Images

Following the trade of Darren Waller, the Raiders are set to start a new era at tight end. Mayer was arguably the most well-rounded tight end in the draft, with the ability to be a starter at the beginning of the season with his receiving and blocking ability. He should be a welcome addition for Jimmy Garoppolo after the quarterback had George Kittle in San Francisco.


BJ Ojulari, DE, Cardinals

Jerome Miron / USA Today Sports Images

Azeez Ojulari has become a top pass rusher in two seasons with the Giants, and his younger brother has similar ability. BJ had 16.5 sacks in three years at LSU, and should find his fair share of snaps immediately after the rebuilding Cardinals lost defensive ends J.J. Watt and Zach Allen.


17 of 25

Joey Porter Jr., CB, Steelers

Joey Porter Jr., CB, Steelers

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

What a great story for the younger Porter to join the team that drafted his father. Pittsburgh has been in search of consistent cornerback play over the last several seasons, and Porter Jr. has the ability to solidify a spot after going at the top of the second round.


Rashee Rice, WR, Chiefs

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

The Chiefs have now selected a wideout in the second round in back-to-back years after taking Skyy Moore in 2022 and Rice this year. The tough wideout out of SMU impressed Patrick Mahomes in workouts and produced at the college level, with 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He must continue turning heads to get on the field for the Super Bowl champs, but the payoff could be enormous.


Bijan Robinson, RB, Falcons

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

If it wasn’t clear head coach Arthur Smith likes to lean on the running game, his drafting of Robinson over available quarterbacks is another example. Robinson was a star at Texas, and he joins a backfield that already had impressive 2022 draftee Tyler Allgeier. Atlanta could be set for one of the most run-heavy squads in the game again this season.


Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seahawks

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Seattle has been in search of a viable third wideout over the last several years and might have found it with Smith-Njigba. The Ohio State alum’s stock fell after missing most of last season due to injury, but the upside is undeniable after gaining over 1,600 yards in 2021. He should lineup in three-wide sets and be the eventual replacement for Tyler Lockett down the line.


C.J. Stroud, QB, Texans

John David Mercer / USA Today Sports Images

The Texans finally got their man at quarterback after trading Deshaun Watson last offseason. Stroud is set for some growing pains in an offense lacking many receiving weapons, but he has a strong, accurate arm. There’s no denying the collect production, with 85 touchdown passes over the last two seasons.


Lukas Van Ness, DE, Packers

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Green Bay beefed up their front seven for the second consecutive draft with Van Ness. The powerful defensive end had 13 sacks over the last two seasons at Iowa, and should find the field immediately.


Tyree Wilson, DE, Raiders

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

The Raiders already had Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones on their roster, but Wilson’s physical traits were too much for them to pass up near the top of the first round. He had 14 sacks over the last two seasons for Texas Tech, and could be a formidable long-term replacement for Jones.


Devon Witherspoon, CB, Seahawks

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Few teams have been better at producing defensive backs than the Seahawks with Pete Carroll at the helm, and he has a great project with Witherspoon. He plays like an instinctive linebacker and has the ability to be an elite coverage corner opposite 2022 breakout rookie Tariq Woolen.


Bryce Young, QB, Panthers

Scott Wachter / USA Today Sports Images

The first overall pick in the draft, Young will be thrown to the wolves immediately under Frank Reich in Carolina. Fortunately, he has the weapons and ability to make a huge impact in his rookie season after the Panthers added Miles Sanders, DJ Chark, and Adam Thielen. Young is criticized for his lack of size, but it’s difficult to argue with his production or tape at Alabama.

Source link