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Monthly NFL Rookie Report

With the 2023 NFL season underway, fans have a glimpse of how well NFL rookies can perform at the pro level. Some have hit the ground running but others have room for growth. Here’s a recap of their accomplishments and what to expect moving forward.

The Good

The Houston Texans might’ve struck gold with the second-overall pick in this year’s draft. Quarterback C.J. Stroud is currently top-5 in passing yards and has yet to throw an interception. Fellow rookie Tank Dell, whom Stroud advocated for on draft day, has shared success with Stroud. The two have already established a great connection that Texans fans hope will last a while.

Bijan Robinson was a generational prospect coming out of Texas and that’s translated to the NFL. He’s making it look easy, averaging over 100 yards from scrimmage per game.

Although he hasn’t played much due to a concussion in week two, Anthony Richardson has impressed. Richardson’s completion percentage is far better than in college and he’s as good of an athlete as advertised. He was Mike Kashuba’s number-one rookie quarterback pre-draft and has lived up to the hype so far. 

The Minnesota Vikings were hoping Jordan Addison would be a formidable running mate for Justin Jefferson. Their wish came true. Addison’s ability has left the team no choice but to give him more playing time. His snap share has increased weekly, which should continue until he’s a full-time starter.

Zay Flowers has more targets, receptions, and yards than teammates Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman combined. What was an ambiguous wide receiver corps to start the year is more transparent now. 

Puka Nucua appears to be the outlier of all outliers in the 2023 class. With 338 receiving yards, he’s ahead of guys like Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs. Veteran Cooper Kupp should return soon, but Nacua’s display is hard to ignore. Nacua will continue to have a sizable role.

Lions tight end Sam LaPorta is putting up numbers among the league’s best at his position. He’s already a reliable target for Jared Goff and that shouldn’t change anytime soon. Given how slowly most tight ends develop in the NFL, LaPorta’s production is remarkable.

De’Von Achane went from a healthy scratch to a potential superstar in weeks. He posted a jaw-dropping 203 rushing yards and four total TDs in his second NFL game. It’s safe to say he’ll have a role on this Dolphins offense moving forward.

The Bad

There were high expectations for Jahmyr Gibbs given how highly he was selected. So far, Gibbs has been pretty underwhelming. The 12th overall pick has yet to score a touchdown and opportunities in the receiving game have been inconsistent.

Buffalo Bills first-round selection Dalton Kincaid is playing the role we hoped he would. He’s essentially a slot receiver for Josh Allen, but he isn’t producing. Kincaid has just 72 yards through three games and has seen his snap share decrease each week.

It’s misleading to place Marvin Mims in this section. The Broncos second-round pick has reached the end zone as a receiver and a kickoff returner. However, the speedy wideout is playing on just a quarter of the team’s offensive snaps every week. That should change quickly based on his big play ability.

Running backs Tyjae Spears and Roschon Johnson are in eerily similar situations right now. They’re playing more than anticipated, but their respective teams are flat-out terrible. The Titans and Bears have struggled immensely on offense, particularly up front. Spears and Johnson are having trouble putting up numbers despite promising workloads.

The Ugly

Most players in this section are here because of a lack of playing time, except for Bryce Young. He missed week three with an ankle injury and his performance beforehand wasn’t inspiring. Young is averaging just over four yards per pass attempt, the worst in the NFL. Young has yet to meet the lofty expectations that come with being the first overall pick.

The Seattle Seahawks aren’t interested in giving Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Zach Charbonnet many opportunities. They’re both well behind the incumbent starters at their positions for playing time.

Similarly, Chargers first-round selection Quentin Johnston hasn’t seen the field much. Change is on the horizon with the season-ending injury Mike Williams suffered in week three. The next few weeks will be very telling for Johnston. 

Third-round selections Kendre Miller and Tank Bigsby have more in common than their draft capital. They’ve both touched the ball just nine times so far. With Alvin Kamara returning this week and Travis Etienne balling out, Miller and Bigsby will remain on the sidelines. While they are talented NFL rookies, they still need a larger opportunity to show their potential.

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Main Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


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