The NFL season is in full swing, and we’re beginning to find out more and more about every team in the league. One of the most exciting developing storylines of this season has been the excellent play of several rookies so far, making these rankings tougher and tougher. Quite a few players had to be left off, and unfortunately, both Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson were out for this week’s action.
NFL Week 3 Rookie Rankings
1. De’Von Achane, RB, Miami Dolphins
Who else could have been here? Achane shined this week during the Miami Dolphins’ 70-20 shellacking of the Denver Broncos this week. Achane zoomed out to 203 yards on the ground on just 18 carries while also catching four passes for 30 yards. Achane finished with four(!) touchdowns on the day.
Dolphins rookie Devon Achane rushed for 203 yards & 2 TD on 18 carries against the Broncos in Week 3.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 24, 2023
Achane’s speed adds just another dimension to an already exceptionally fast Dolphins offense. I expect his name will continue to pop up on this list throughout the season as HC Mike McDaniel continues to gameplan ways to get him the football.
2. C.J. Stroud, QB, Houston Texans
What an impressive performance by C.J. Stroud in back-to-back weeks. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, Stroud passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns behind a makeshift offensive line missing four starters. Stroud helped the Texans score their most points in a game since Week 16 of the 2021 season.
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Stroud’s poise and accuracy despite less-than-ideal conditions each week have been impressive this early on in his rookie career. The number two overall pick has seemingly found his stride and should continue to show out every week this season.
3. Sam LaPorta, TE, Detroit Lions
I truly split hairs between Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch for the third spot this week. LaPorta scored his first career touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons and has been off to a scorching hot start this season.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 24, 2023
LaPorta set an NFL record for the most receptions by a rookie tight end through their first three games with 18. Only T.J. Hockenson has more receptions than LaPorta this season, and no tight ends have more yards than LaPorta thus far in 2023.
4. Brian Branch, DB, Detroit Lions
Branch stole the show early on in the Detroit Lion’s Week 1 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs and has continued his excellent play for the Lions. The second-rounder finished with 11 solo tackles, three tackles for loss, and a couple of pass breakups.
Branch was seemingly everywhere for the Lions’ defense, matching up with Kyle Pitts and Drake London in coverage but also shutting down Bijan Robinson in the run game. Branch was disruptive in a variety of roles this week and continues to look like a draft steal.
5. Tank Dell, WR, Houston Texans
Tank Dell and Stroud have continued their superb connection so far this season. Dell torched the Jaguars this week, racking up 145 yards and the touchdown that iced the game for the Texans on just five receptions.
His big-play ability has paired well with Stroud’s accuracy, and the two have built a strong connection. I expect both of them to continue to feature prominently on this list throughout the season.
6. Marvin Mims, WR, Denver Broncos
Marvin Mims has been seemingly the only bright spot for the Denver Broncos’ offense thus far this season. Despite limited playing time, Mims leads the team in receiving yards and has proven to be an electric returner. His ability as a playmaker is making it harder and harder to leave him off the field.
— Josh Callaway (@JoshMCallaway) September 24, 2023
With the Broncos searching for answers after their 0-3 season, Mims should be a key piece for Denver moving forward.
7. Christian Gonzalez, CB, New England Patriots
We all figured Christian Gonzalez would be a stud corner for the New England Patriots right away, and he looked the part against Garrett Wilson and the New York Jets this week. Gonzalez and Wilson lined up against each other several times, with Gonzalez holding Wilson to one reception for four yards and just a single target.
Gonzalez was a natural fit for the Patriots’ defensive scheme, and he has settled in to continue helping their defense become one of the league’s best yet again.
8. Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE, Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers defense hasn’t been much to write home about this season, but Tuipulotu stepped up in a significant fashion against the Minnesota Vikings.
Tuipulotu finished with nine pressures and a sack, taking his numbers up to 12 pressures and three sacks in two starts so far this season.
9. JuJu Brents, CB, Indianapolis Colts
A second-round pick this past draft, JuJu Brents made his debut for the Indianapolis Colts this week and shined. Brents came up with a pivotal forced fumble that helped the Colts come away with a victory this week over the Baltimore Ravens. Brents made plays in coverage and in the run game and emerged as a real playmaker for the Colts.
Brents will continue to live through the lumps of being a rookie cornerback, but this was a pretty impressive debut for a rookie after Baltimore lit up every other defense they’ve played so far this season.
10. Michael Wilson, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Don’t look now, but the Arizona Cardinals have been pretty competitive so far this season, and part of that is due to the play of their rookie class. Michael Wilson has proven to be a big playmaker for their offense so far, ripping off a huge 69-yard play that helped the Cardinals ice the win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Trevon Diggs’ absence has certainly been felt today
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) September 24, 2023