With the first quarter of the 2023 season wrapped up, the NFL is in full swing. Some fanbases are already looking forward to the NFL Draft, while others are embracing a playoff run. Part of the excitement of the draft is tracking the performance of the rookie class, which has been stellar so far this season. Who were the best rookies in Week 4?
NFL Week 4 Rookie Rankings
1. C.J. Stroud, QB, Houston Texans
The 2023 No. 2 overall pick continues to stack up impressive performances. C.J. Stroud has yet to throw an interception this season and has the Texans’ offense humming.
C.J. Stroud through four games: 94-of-151, 1,212 passing yards, 6 TD, 0 INT.
That’s the second-most passing yards by a QB through 4 starts in NFL history.
And the third-longest streak without an interception to begin a career in NFL history.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 1, 2023
Stroud won Offensive Rookie of the Month in September for a good reason and started October off with another excellent performance in Houston’s 30-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. His touch, anticipation, accuracy, and poise in the pocket have been superb for a rookie. Stroud passed for 306 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers’ defense.
2. Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams survived a comeback scare by the Indianapolis Colts in large part due to the excellent play of rookie receiver Puka Nacua. The fifth-round draft pick got open seemingly at will vs. the Colts, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
Nacua caught nine passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. His 163 yards put Nacua over 500 yards on the season through just four games, and his first career touchdown was the game-winner.
Nacua surpassed Anquan Boldin’s 30 receptions in 2003 for the most receptions ever by a player in his first four NFL games. Nacua also surpassed Reggie Bush and his 34 receptions in 2006 for the most receptions by a player in his first five NFL games. Nacua’s 501 receiving yards surpassed Boldin’s 464 yards for the most receiving yards ever by a player in his first four NFL games. He looks like the steal of the 2023 NFL Draft.
3. Sam LaPorta, TE, Detroit Lions
Sam LaPorta finished third in last week’s rankings, and he’ll keep that spot this week. The second-rounder continues his historic pace and has become a key cog in the Lions’ offense.
Sam LaPorta now has the most receptions (22) by a tight end through their first 4 career games since at least 1950.
The only tight end with more receiving yards through their first 4 career games over that span was Mike Ditka (315). pic.twitter.com/yRjQNnZEq8
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 29, 2023
LaPorta has been a reliable target for Jared Goff in must-have situations. He now leads all NFL tight ends in receiving yards this season.
4. Jalen Carter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Carter’s hot start continues, posting four pressures in every single game this season. Carter amassed six pressures against the Commanders in the Eagles’ overtime victory. Per Next Gen Stats, Carter leads all defensive tackles in pressures, pressure rate, and pass rush get-off.
5. Brian Branch, DB, Detroit Lions
Brian Branch has become a pivotal force for the Lions’ resurgent defense. The Lions align him all over the field, playing a variety of roles in coverage and run defense. Branch led the Lions in tackles and forced a pass breakup in coverage in their Thursday Night win over the Packers.
Branch has thus far fit right into the NFL, looking like a seasoned pro after falling to the second round. His style of play lets Detroit keep numbers in the box to stop the run without sacrificing their passing defense, and he’s matched up with any player lining up across from him.
6. Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Anthony Richardson missed last week’s game in the concussion protocol. He shook off a little bit of rust to start this week, but he led the Colts to a 23-point comeback to force overtime against the Los Angeles Rams. Richardson passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns and added another 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Anthony Richardson with a fastball to @MoAlie81 for six!
— NFL (@NFL) October 1, 2023
Richardson’s arm talent is undeniable, making highlight level throws time and time again throughout the whole game. His poise, despite having shaky offensive line play, has been impressive, and his elite athleticism and mobility gave the Rams fits throughout the second half. He still has some ways to go before he fully hits his stride, but this is an impressive starting point for the young quarterback.
7. Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons
While the Falcons’ offense didn’t produce much across the pond against the Jaguars, Bijan Robinson continued to shine and might be the lone bright spot on the Falcons. Robinson ran for 105 yards and added 32 more receiving. Going into the fourth quarter, Robinson had 124 of Atlanta’s 199 yards.
Bijan should continue to be more involved as the season goes on and continue his superb production. He has already showcased his ability to shine as a playmaker as a runner and as a receiver.
8. Will Anderson Jr., DE, Houston Texans
The third overall pick this year has continued to shine every week. He kept up that play this week against the Steelers. Will Anderson Jr. entered the week with 11 pressures and a 16% win rate. While the numbers are still being tallied this week, Anderson lived in the backfield against the Steelers’ offensive line.
Anderson has already proven his mettle as a pass rusher, but his run defense pops off the screen with his power. He has also blocked a field goal. The Texans took a gamble when they moved up for him in the 2023 NFL Draft, and so far, it’s paid off.
9. De’Von Achane, RB, Miami Dolphins
While the Dolphins’ offense looked a tad clunky following their 70-point outing against the Broncos last week, Achane didn’t skip a beat. The speedy back posted 101 yards and two touchdowns on the ground on just eight carries and added 19 yards through the air as well. Achane is now tied for second place in the NFL in total touchdowns despite just 24 touches.
10. Michael Wilson, WR, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals faced several questions about who would step up and be a playmaker on either side of the ball, and so far, Michael Wilson has answered the call offensively. A week after helping the Cardinals seal a victory over the Cowboys, Wilson tallied up two touchdowns against the 49ers’ tough defense.
Michael Wilson with a multi-TD game! @mikewilllyy
— NFL (@NFL) October 1, 2023
The third-round pick missed significant time with injury throughout college, causing him to slip in the draft. He has responded by becoming a go-to target for quarterback Joshua Dobbs and should figure to be a crucial part of their offense moving forward.