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5 Best 2023 NFL rookie classes: Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams and other

5 Best 2023 NFL rookie classes: Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams and other

5 Best 2023 NFL rookie classes


When you look back at the 2023 NFL Draft class and examine this season’s playoff teams, you’ll immediately notice the trend. Teams like the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams relied upon rookies this season and those first-year players are some of the biggest reasons why their clubs made the playoffs.

Here are the best rookie classes from the 2023 NFL Draft.


#5. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks 2023: OT Broderick Jones, CB Joey Porter Jr, DT Keean Benton, TE Darnell Washington, EDGE Nick Herbig


This past season, the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie class's defensive side truly came to the fore. When Joey Porter Jr. was selected, the public embraced it, and he went above and beyond expectations. Keeanu Benton and Nick Herbig, meantime, rose to prominence in Pittsburgh.

Porter Jr, who reduced opponents to 24 receptions and a 65.9 QB rating on 53 targets (PFF). Having demonstrated his ability to be a top cornerback in the past.


In 17 regular-season games, Benton only recorded 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss, but in 483 snaps, he produced 22 pressures with 16 stops. Herbig, who only played 17% of the defensive snaps, finished with 5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks, which is really amazing for a fourth-round choice.

Regarding Broderick Jones, the first-round selection at left tackle, his season wasn't very good. But offensive tackles have a high learning curve, and he was always seen as a player in need of improvement. Jones had less pressure because of the other rookies on the Steelers' success, and his future is still bright.


#4. Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams draft class 2023: iOL Steve Avila, EDGE Byron Young, DT Kobie Turner, OLB Nick Hampton, TE Davis Allen, WR Puka Nacua


After Week 9, rookie offensive Steve Avila led all rookies with a 75.3 PFF pass-blocking grade, demonstrating his progress as he grew in coaching and experience. Sixth-round pick Tre'Vius Tomlinson played defensive back and had 15 appearances, while tight end Davis Allen gave depth.


Playing 85% of the defensive snaps for the Rams, Byron Young (8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) was an outstanding rookie. Defensive tackle Kobe Turner (16 QB hits, 9 sacks) was named to the All-Rookie Team. Most importantly, Puka Nacua became the Rams' new Cooper Kupp on offense. Without these rookies, Los Angeles is not even close to making the playoffs.


#3. Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers draft class 2023: EDGE Lukas Van Ness, TE Luke Musgrave, WR Jayden Reed, TE Tucker Kraft, DL Colby Wooden, WR Dontayvion Wicks, DT Karl Brooks, DB Carrington Valentine, K Anders Carlson


The source of the production is what makes this draft class special. Only 33% of defensive snaps were played by first-round choice Lukas Van Ness this season, and tight end Luke Musgrave lost a substantial amount of time due to a lacerated kidney.


One of the top wide receivers from the 2023 NFL Draft was Jayden Reed, who was chosen 50th overall. Tucker Kraft, chosen 78th overall, proved to be a reliable No. 2 tight end. Day 3 saw the demonstration of the impact potential of Karl Brooks (4 sacks) and Dontayvion Wicks (39-581-4). With the 232nd overall selection, Green Bay may have finally discovered a starter cornerback in Carrington Valentine. Because of this class, the Packers' future is bright.


#2. Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions draft class 2023: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, LB Jack Campbell, TE, Sam LaPorta, DB, Brian Branch, QB Hendon Hooker, DT Brodric Martin, OL Colby Sorsdal


We were among those who felt that the Detroit Lions made a poor decision in the 2023 NFL Draft, and the team was subject to a great deal of criticism, particularly following Round 1. The Lions' other top selection picks feel legendary, even though rookie linebacker Jack Campbell may not have been a huge success.

With the ball in his hands, 12-th-overall pick Jahmyr Gibbs is already among the NFL's most exciting players. Before the NFC Championship Game, Gibbs had amassed 182 scrimmage yards and averaged 5.15 yards per carry in his final seven regular-season games.


At a position where first-year success is uncommon, Sam LaPorta's 34th-round selection resulted in perhaps the best rookie season ever by a tight end (86 receptions, 889 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns). By 2026, Brian Branch appears to have established himself as the top player in the Lions' secondary and may even contend for a position in the Pro Bowl. Apart from Campbell, the best player selected by the Lions in the draft class will position them for success over the next five years.


#1. Houston Texans

Houston Texans draft class 2023: QB C.J. Stroud, EDGE Will Anderson Jr, iOL Juice Scruggs, WR Tank Tell, DL Dylan Horton, LB Henry To’oTo’o, OL Jarrett Patterson


The Houston Texans' future was altered by the 2023 NFL Draft. They took a risk by giving up their first-round pick in 2024 along with some other assets to make sure they could get edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. and quarterback C.J. Stroud. What appeared to be a very dangerous wager on the future proved to be a wise choice.


With the best rookie season ever for a quarterback, Stroud immediately established himself as one of the NFL's top ten passers. Not only have the Texans surpassed Deshaun Watson in quality, but they also have the franchise's face, who has four years remaining on his rookie contract. That's the NFL roster building gold standard, and it's only getting started.


In just 15 games this season, rookie pass rusher Anderson Jr. recorded 10 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, and 22 quarterback hits. Even as a second-year player, he already projects to be a strong breakthrough candidate the next season and may be selected for his first Pro Bowl. The two most crucial NFL positions have been discussed.

With 47 receptions for 709 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns, Tank Dell—the receiver who Stroud explicitly targeted—acquired a greater yards per reception average (15.1) than DJ Moore (14.2) and Jaylen Waddle (14.1). Additionally, Juice Scruggs, an offensive lineman, finished the year as a starter.

4.4 / 7

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