It can be a bit difficult to predict just how well a player is going to perform in the NFL after the NFL draft picks but before we have seen them play professionally. College players can be great in college but falter as soon as pro-level games start.
It is not uncommon for this to happen, however, we have found some highly anticipated rookies for the 2023 season, and we think they have the potential to be game-changing for the teams that selected them this year.
All of the players we have found have a high skill set, combining a high football IQ, skill, athleticism, and so on, allowing them to adapt to NFL demands fast.
Let’s take a look at who these soon-to-be legends are!
Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers: QB
The NFC South who only recently lost Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Tom Brady is now gaining. Carolina has a better chance to compete now that they snatched up Bryce Young with the first overall pick this year.
The franchise has also been adrift with its quarterback position since Cam Newton’s first run with the team ended. Let’s not forget the rather revolving door of players such as Baker Mayfield, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, and P.J Walker who have all seen times under center in the last 3 seasons.
We are hoping that Young is going to put an end to this crazy quarterback carousel that has been going on and bring some stability to the Panthers this year!
C.J Stroud, Houston Texans: QB
Not unlike the previous mention, the Texans have been in dire need of the center for a few years now. This is no thanks to the off-field issues of Deshaun Watson which caused the franchise to break ties with their dynamic QB.
The Texans are now filled with hope that Stroud will fill the hole in their hearts as a permanent replacement for Watson. He is a prototypical pocket passer who they selected from Ohio State, he was the 2nd pick in the draft this year.
He is an instant anchor for the Texans and is automatically an upgrade. He is likely to be the day-one starter for the Texans and will be running with what will probably be a play-action-heavy routine under the new coordinator who is expected to bring in a philosophy similar to the one who used with the 49ers.
Will Anderson Jr, Houston Texans: EDGE
Then we have Anderson. The Texans really have been struggling, bless them, but they played their draft picks well, they moved up to the 3rd spot when they traded with Arizona to get Anderson. A great idea since Anderson is the top defensive player in the draft this year!
The price to get him was massive, as they sent the Cardinals their 12th and 33rd picks in the draft as well as 1st-round and 3rd-round draft picks for next year. But, it may be worth it since Anderson is a fully-formed prospect and he may even be the most professional-ready player in this year’s draft!
The Texans gain a gifted edge rusher who has both speed and power in Anderson, however, he also has leadership abilities which would make him a new tone-setter for their defensive culture, period.
Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks: CB
Seattle once had the Legion of Boom, but this feels like it was ages ago. The secondary for the Seahawks allowed 8 TD receptions over 20 yards, and they struggled to prevent any receivers after the catch.
This is why Witherspoon is hopeful for the team, as we are all hoping to see him improve the Seattle defense massively. The cornerback was selected with the 5th pick in the draft this year. He is a fearless, physical cover corner who is talented when it comes to tackling.
He is already filling areas where the Seattle Seahawks are in desperate need. He will pair up with a rookie from 2022 Tariq Woolen, as well as Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams for an improved version of the Seahawks’ defense.
Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons: RB
Probably the best RB prospect since Barkley, we all knew that Robinson was going to do wonders for almost any team that drafted him. However, he is now going into the Falcons squad, which is one of the NFL’s most run-focused offenses, and it sends his impact into outer space!
Their head coach brought this to Atlanta after his time with the Titans, and he seems to almost view Robinson as his new Derrick Henry.
Thanks to the overall talent of this RB, and his potential as a workhorse in the Atlanta run-at-all-costs offensive, he is a leading candidate for the ROTY award this season. If his impact is felt immediately as is expected, we can anticipate a turnaround for this team that has not done too well in recent years.
Which of these rookies do you think will make the biggest impact? We hope all of them, it would be interesting to see if these rookies manage to turn things around for these previously underdog teams, but only time will tell!