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With the NFL regular season complete and the playoffs upon us, it's time to pick the best first-year players in all of football. 

This is my 2023 All-Rookie team. This year, we're running "11 personnel" on offense -- one back, one tight end and three receivers -- and a nickel look on defense -- two linebackers and five defensive backs.


C.J. Stroud
HOU • QB • #7
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Yeah, the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite is getting the nod at quarterback. Easy peasy here. I must give some props to Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, because he cooked up many open shots for Stroud, and the Ohio State alum rarely missed them. And, sheesh, the Stroud-Nico Collins connection was flames all season -- Collins targets equated to a 129.6 quarterback rating this regular season. With the Texans winners of the AFC South, Stroud serves as another clear reminder as to the power of hitting on a franchise quarterback. 

De'Von Achane
MIA • RB • #28
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Achane dazzled in Year 1 displaying speed and quickness we've rarely witnessed in recent NFL history. And inside Mike McDaniel's intricate run game, the blazer from Texas A&M averaged a ridiculous 7.8 yards per carry with eight touchdowns. While he speed was his headliner trait, I noticed ridiculous lateral cutting skill from the electric runner all season. An injury curtailed what would've almost assuredly been a 1,000-plus yard season for the rookie. 

Puka Nacua
LAR • WR • #17
REC YDs1445
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Nacua reminds me, a draft guy, of how unpredictable and captivating the draft can be. Even the world's largest Nacua fan wouldn't have told you he'd break the NFL's longstanding (63 years) record for rookie receiving yards. And here we are. It was a historic start for Nacua, but what really amazed me -- even after Cooper Kupp returned, and assumed No. 1-receiver-in-Sean-McVay's-offense, the fifth-round pick from BYU still rocked. Frankly, he made a collection of some of the most ridiculous snags I saw all season and was integral to the Rams sneaking into the playoffs. 

Jordan Addison
MIN • WR • #3
REC YDs911
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Addison was the consummate No. 2 wideout to Justin Jefferson as a rookie -- and stood in as the Vikings No. 1 wideout during Jetta's prolong injury absence. Of course, there were some lulls, yet the Vikings were forced to play musical chairs at quarterback like a few other clubs. The short and light wideout performed as polished as advertised and nearly had 10 touchdown snags! Small receivers can ball! Right away. Remember, Addison was a shade over 5-11 and just 173 pounds at the combine. And he rocked as a rookie. 

Rashee Rice
KC • WR • #4
REC YDs938
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But wait, all Chiefs receivers were liabilities this season! Not Rice. He only had three drops on precisely 100 targets and led the NFL in yards after the catch. The latter is one heck of an accomplishment for a rookie and is what locked him into the All-Rookie Team. A thunderous player with the ball in his hands, Rice also caught seven touchdowns from Patrick Mahomes. Frankly, Rice performed a lot like he did at SMU. 

Sam LaPorta
DET • TE • #87
REC YDs889
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Another rookie record setter on a playoff team, and LaPorta owns two rookie tight end records, catches (82) and touchdowns (10). This was the opposite of a cheap, inflated-by-easy-throws type of season. LaPorta finished in the Top 10 in missed tackles forced among all tight ends. He was one of the focal points of Detroit's fun offense. 

Such a shame Jones was lost to injury in December, then again, the Browns had this remarkable ability to persevere through injury adversity all season en route to 11 wins. Jones surrendered just 21 pressures on 419 pass-blocking snaps at right tackle and put some eyebrow-raising wins against quality, veteran edge rushers. 

Skoronski wasn't Quenton Nelsonian, yet through some injuries, he held it together at a new position on a team that everyone knew was going to pound the rock every week with Derrick Henry. Skoronski's a stud in the angles and leverage battle. Solid debut professional season to build on as the Titans head into Year 2 of the Will Levis era. 

From a pressure perspective, Wright doesn't seem worthy of this nod -- 50 pressures on 651 pass-blocking snaps -- yet it's always more challenging at offensive tackle protecting for a run-happy quarterback like Justin Fields who can morphy a textbook block into a hold in a split second. 

Wright had freaky flashes of dominance, just like he did at Tennessee. With improved power and balance, he can develop into a plus tackle tackle in Chicago.

Torrence was another solid abeit unspectacular guard, but he's being viewed through the lens of "rookie blocker" here. With that in mind, the Louisiana and Florida product was a rock inside for Josh Allen and the Bills all year. He may have hit the rookie wall late in the season but played all 17 games during the regular season, was rarely on the ground, and helped stabilize one of Buffalo's recently shakiest positions. He and Spencer Brown formulated a sturdy right side for the Bills. Torrence allowed 43 pressures on over 650 pass-blocking snaps. 

Avila was arguably the finest rookie blocker in 2023, and we're going with three guards and one tackle, because the center and tackle class were largely unimpressive. Avila played over 1,000 snaps for the playoff-bound Rams and was Kevlar on the interior for Matthew Stafford and helped spark Kyren Wiliams' surprise 1,000-yard season. Awesome second-round pick by GM Les Snead and Co. 


Anderson will get Defensive Rookie of the Year votes. Despite some injuries, the former five-star recruit and Alabama legend dealt with NFL offensive tackles a lot like he did those in the SEC. He had 59 pressures on a mere 408 pass-rushing snaps and was instantly a edge-setter no blocker wanted to square off against for the entirety of a contest. It wasn't an easy task, but Anderson lived up to the billing set when a team sends an enormous package to another club to move into the No. 3 overall spot to secure his services like Houston did in April. 

One-on-one mastery from Tuipulotu wasn't quite as frequent as Anderson, yet he found a way to become an integral force on the Chargers defensive line by way of the stunt. The young USC product had 51 pressures on 491 pass-blocking snaps standing in the rather sizable shoes of Joey Bosa for most of the season. 

Carter is my pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year, he was genuinely one of the most disruptive pass-rushing interior defensive lineman in football in Year 1. As the Eagles did, Carter faded down the stretch, but the start to his career was as dynamic as we've seen at the defensive tackle spot in a while. Rookie interior rushers aren't supposed to be effortlessly displacing NFL centers and guards on a regular basis, and the man many believed was the best overall prospect in the 2023 class did exactly that often in September through November. 

There's a chance Turner receives some Defensive Rookie of the Year votes, and he was an electric, dare I say nearly Aaron Donaldian pass-rusher as a rookie. The former Wake Forest stud was an isolation wizard. If he got looks against strictly one blocker, he won often, and finished with 45 pressures on 452 pass-rush snaps next to Donald. Oh and he sizzled down the stretch with 34 pressures in his last seven outings. Another rookie gem for the Rams. 

From undrafted to training camp folk hero to serious thumper and coverage linebacker for the Vikings -- the story of Pace Jr.'s rookie season. He finished with 97 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 15 pressures, and an interception on under 65% of Minnesota's defensive snaps. And this dude is not even 5-foot-11! Playing linebacker in the NFL. Awesome. Pace is a hair-on-fire second-level defender who does it all. And those 15 pressures came on just 106 pass-rush opportunities. 

The Lions didn't plug Campbell into the full-time lineup immediately to begin his NFL career, and that ultimately was the correct decision. A slow-ish start morphed into steady play for the former Iowa star who finished second on the team with 89 tackles, while only missing eight all season, with two sacks and nine pressures. The linebacker group on this year's rookie team couldn't be any different in size but both were impactful first-year pros in the NFC North.

An early-season injury delayed the Witherspoon breakout. The jarring hits from his time at Illinois voyaged with him to Seattle, and while he did allow four touchdowns in his coverage area, Witherspoon more than just countered those with 16 pass breakups and a pick that he returned for a score.  

The Steelers didn't play Porter Jr. right out of the gate, and once they did, he became their steadiest cornerback in Year 1. The interception in the end zone was the key play in the October win over the Ravens, and he defended 10 total passes while allowed a lone touchdown. The length and athleticism jumped off the film at Penn State and in Pittsburgh in Porter Jr.'s first season. 

Branch was the latest defensive back who thrived in Nick Saban's "star" position at Alabama, he somehow fell to the second round when historically all of those corner/safeties have gone in Round 1, and not shockingly was a star in Detroit as a rookie. Mostly manning the slot position after the serious injury to Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Branch did everything -- his 11 pass breakups led the team, and he had three interceptions while finishing with 74 tackles. Branch was a splash play waiting to happen. 

Hickman was low-key important to the Browns incredibly stingy defensive season in 2023. He played less than 35% of the defensive snaps but somehow forced two fumbles, knocked away two passes, recovered a fumble, snagged a pick, and had 25 tackles with only three misses. He didn't leave the state of Ohio and played similarly to how he performed with the Buckeyes. 

Battle stepped into a full-time role on a young Bengals secondary and played like a seasoned veteran. While he was a starter down the stretch, Battle played less than 55% of the defensive snaps in Cincinnati and loaded the stat sheet. On film, he was rarely found out of position. He had 69 tackles, seven pressures, a pair of pass breakups and sacks, and an interception. Another NFL-ready former Alabama standout.