In round two of the 2023 NFL Draft, NFL squads can find players who can still come in and become day-one starters. Plenty of teams have starting holes that need filling before the season begins. While a team is unlikely to find a starting quarterback in round two or three, they can find their starting running back, corner, or offensive guard. In the 2023 NFL Draft, there was several top prospects – Joey Porter Jr. (cornerback), Will Levis (quarterback), and Michael Mayer (tight end) – who were also for consideration in round one. Teams had plenty of opportunities to find top prospects who will make an immediate impact in week one of the 2023 NFL season, and several of whom can make the Pro Bowl.
5 2023 NFL Draft Round 2 Impact Rookies
Joey Porter Jr., Cornerback, Penn State (Pittsburgh Steelers, Pick 32)
Joey Porter Jr. is the son of the legendary Steelers linebacker Joey Porter, making it an incredible opportunity for Porter Jr. to excel with his father’s team. The Steelers defense can use a player as competitive as Porter Jr. on their defense. Although pick 32 is only one selection removed from round one, it is shocking he fell this far. Porter Jr. has a chance to make a Pro Bowl in his first year as he will be playing early and often. He will consume a lot of defensive snaps and should be productive in pass coverage and in the run game. While he might be quieter in the early season, Porter Jr. should come into his after the halfway mark, capable of making critical interceptions as the Steelers attempt to find their way back to the playoffs.
Michael Mayer, Tight End, North Dakota (Las Vegas Raiders, Pick 35)
The Raiders gave their new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a perfectly wrapped Christmas Gift. Garoppolo, notorious for checking down to wide receivers or tight ends, has the ultimate checkdown player now. Coming from Notre Dame, Michael Mayer runs routes like a wide receiver with a basketball body. He will dominate linebackers and smaller secondary defenders. In addition to high-reception totals in Las Vegas, he should become a redzone threat. He might not accumulate above 800 yards, but he could become a ten-touchdown target for Garoppolo.
Jonathan Mingo, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss (Carolina Panthers, Pick 39)
After finding their quarterback with the first overall pick, the Carolina Panthers turned to get a weapon for Bryce Young. Jonathan Mingo goes to Carolina as a high-skilled wide receiver who did not necessarily have the production at Ole Miss to become a first-round draft selection. His size (6’2”, 220 lbs) allows him to fight over most secondary defenders. That should translate to plenty of contested catches in Carolina, giving him a sizeable workload in Carolina. Ultimately, if Mingo can haul in passes and improve route running, his rookie season should be quite sustainably productive.
— NFL (@NFL) April 28, 2023
Brian Branch, Safety, Alabama (Detroit Lions, Pick 45)
The Detroit Lions draft over the first two days was peculiar, drafting players often earlier than evaluations suggest. However, Brian Branch is one of the best picks of the 2023 NFL Draft round two. He feels an immediate need for the Detroit Lions (a physical safety) and will have ample playing time in Detroit. He was the only SEC player with more than 90 tackles, two interceptions, and two sacks. Branch makes plays at every level of the game. In his second or third year, Branch is very likely to become a leader on the Lions defense. He will make impact plays that should be enough to win the Lions at least an extra game this season.
Rashee Rice, Wide Receiver, SMU (Kansas City Chiefs, Pick 55)
The Kansas City Chiefs draft wide receivers to use them. Rashee Rice is a physical wide receiver who will make plays at every level of the game. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes will use Rice to his maximum early and often in his rookie year. He will fill a role that lets him attack smaller secondaries and create mismatches in the slot. Rice may not serve as the next 1,000-yard receiver, but the Chiefs staff should use him on creative third-down plays to keep moving the chains.
Seriously, is Rashee Rice the strongest receiver ever?
— Nick Schwerdt (@nick_schwerdt) April 29, 2023
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