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2023 NFL All-Rookie Team: Lions, Rams each boast four selections; Texans clearly nailed top-three picks

Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks knows the ins and outs of this league, providing keen insight in his notebook.

In today's installment, he identifies the 25 first-year players who made his 2023 All-Rookie Team.


C.J. Stroud
Houston Texans

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 2 overall

The second quarterback off the board (after No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young), Stroud set a number of rookie records as a pinpoint passer with exceptional confidence, poise and overall talent. The Ohio State product shreds opponents who employ simplistic looks, but also torches veteran-laded defenses attempting to muddy things up with pre-snap disguises and post-snap bluffing. Given his sparkling numbers (4,108 passing yards, 23 touchdown and five interceptions) and the team's spectacular turnaround in 2023, Stroud's a slam-dunk pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year -- which is saying something, considering the dynamic season from Rams rookie WR Puka Nacua.

Jahmyr Gibbs
Detroit Lions

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 12 overall

As the big-play specialist in the Lions' backfield, Gibbs displayed the speed, burst and genuine explosiveness to score from anywhere on the field as a runner or receiver. The rookie totaled 1,261 yards from scrimmage with 11 combined scores as a designated weapon inside or outside of the backfield.

De'Von Achane
Miami Dolphins

DRAFTED: Round 3, No. 84 overall

Despite playing behind a prolific point scorer (Raheem Mostert, who led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns), Achane made his mark as a home run hitter in the lineup. The rookie averaged almost eight yards per carry (7.8) and scored 11 total touchdowns as a gadget/reverse playmaker with speed to burn.

Puka Nacua
Los Angeles Rams

DRAFTED: Round 5, No. 177 overall

The record-breaking rookie might supplant Cooper Kupp as the Rams' No. 1 receiver in 2024 -- if he hasn't already done so. The big-bodied playmaker finished fourth in the league in receiving yards (1,486), notching 105 catches and six touchdowns. What a revelation the last pick of Round 5 turned out to be.

Jordan Addison
Minnesota Vikings

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 23 overall

The silky-smooth rookie dazzled as the Vikings' temporary WR1 when Justin Jefferson was sidelined by injury. Addison's route-running skills and playmaking ability helped him tally 10 receiving scores (tied for fourth-most in the league) while nearly posting a 1,000-yard season as a first-year starter.

Sam LaPorta
Detroit Lions

DRAFTED: Round 2, No. 34 overall

The second-round pick quickly flashed All-Pro potential, hauling in 86 passes for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns. LaPorta's crafty route-running skills and sticky hands earned him "go-to guy" status in the red zone.

Darnell Wright
Chicago Bears

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 10 overall

The big-bodied edge blocker notched 1,100-plus snaps as the Bears' full-time starter at right tackle. Wright bullied defenders at the point of attack, exhibiting solid punches and nasty finishing skills while taking on premier pass rushers on the edges. With the rookie also dazzling as a run blocker, Chicago seemingly has a stud in place for the next decade.

Anton Harrison
Jacksonville Jaguars

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 27 overall

The agile bookend steadily improved while logging 1,100-plus snaps as the Jaguars' starting right tackle. Harrison's athleticism and quick hands could eventually lead to a move to left tackle to protect Trevor Lawrence's blind side.

Steve Avila
Los Angeles Rams

DRAFTED: Round 2, No. 36 overall

Avila thrived in the Rams' zone-based scheme as a polished technician with quick feet and strong hands. Few interior blockers can match his consistency and effectiveness in latching on and running defenders out of the hole.

O'Cyrus Torrence
Buffalo Bills

DRAFTED: Round 2, No. 59 overall

It is not a coincidence the Bills' running game improved down the stretch, when Torrence grew more comfortable at his position. As road grader with heavy hands and violent finishing skills, the rookie mauler has added some pop to Buffalo's ground attack.

John Michael Schmitz
New York Giants

DRAFTED: Round 2, No. 57 overall

The scrappy pivot performed well as a first-year starter in the middle of the Giants' line. Schmitz's intelligence, athleticism and competitiveness showed up repeatedly as he held his own against the monstrous nose tackles opposite him.


Will Anderson Jr.
Houston Texans

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 3 overall

The blue-collar edge defender has made the Texans look brilliant for aggressively trading up to get him in last April's draft. Anderson finished the regular season with seven sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 22 quarterback hits as part of a disruptive 1-2 punch off the edge with Jonathan Greenard.

Byron Young
Los Angeles Rams

DRAFTED: Round 3, No. 77 overall

The lightning-quick pass rusher made his mark immediately as a pro, logging eight sacks, eight tackles for loss and 19 quarterback hits in 17 games. Young added a pair of forced fumbles while displaying the first-step quickness and burst coaches covet in a designated pass rusher.

Kobie Turner
Los Angeles Rams

DRAFTED: Round 3, No. 89 overall

The energetic playmaker quickly emerged as the perfect complement to Aaron Donald at the point of attack. Turner’s relentless approach and underrated hand-to-hand combat skills could make him a perennial Pro Bowler. 

Jalen Carter
Philadelphia Eagles

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 9 overall

The destructive interior defender is a splash-play specialist at the point of attack. His size, strength and power make him difficult to move off the ball, while his underrated speed and quickness terrorize blockers attempting to neutralize him on passing downs. With a Year 1 stat line that includes six sacks, eight tackles for loss and nine quarterback hits, Carter has already shown the potential to evolve into a double-digit sack artist as an every-down defender.

Ivan Pace Jr.
Minnesota Vikings

DRAFTED: Undrafted

The previously unheralded playmaker tallied 102 tackles, 2.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble as a surprise starter for the Vikings. As a designated disruptor in Brian Flores' ultra-aggressive scheme, Pace displayed outstanding instincts, awareness and range.

Jack Campbell
Detroit Lions

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 18 overall

The stat sheet does not fully reflect Campbell's impact as the Lions' designated "traffic cop." In addition to amassing 95 tackles, two sacks and five tackles as a "see ball, get ball" defender, Campbell's leadership skills and communication ability steadied a Detroit defense that looks to bully opponents from snap to whistle.

Devon Witherspoon
Seattle Seahawks

DRAFTED: Round 1, No. 5 overall

The Seahawks added a blue-chip defensive weapon in Witherspoon. The rookie displayed shutdown cover skills while also flashing impressive pass-rush ability as an electric blitz specialist from the second level.

Joey Porter Jr.
Pittsburgh Steelers

DRAFTED: Round 2, No. 32 overall

The extra-long corner settled in quickly as the Steelers' CB1. Porter's gritty, relentless approach makes life miserable for wideouts forced to face him on the island.

Brian Branch
Detroit Lions

DRAFTED: Round 2, No. 45 overall

The Lions' utility man delivers impact plays (three interceptions,13 passes defensed, seven tackles for loss and a sack) from various alignments in the defensive backfield. Branch's instincts, awareness and diagnostic skills force opposing quarterbacks to monitor his whereabouts on every snap.

Jordan Battle
Cincinnati Bengals

DRAFTED: Round 3, No. 95 overall

A three-year starter under defensive back guru Nick Saban at Alabama, Battle hit the ground running in his first professional season. Over 17 games (seven starters), the Bengals safety stuffed the stat sheet with 71 tackles, five passes defensed, four tackles for loss, three QB hits, two sacks and an interception.

Antonio Johnson
Jacksonville Jaguars

DRAFTED: Round 5, No. 160 overall

Like Brian Branch, Johnson spent a lot of time defending the slot, but I had to squeeze him onto this roster. Sue me. After taking over as the nickel defender in Jacksonville’s sub-packages, Johnson flashed the instincts, awareness and ball skills that had some scouts smitten with his potential during the pre-draft process. With a pair of interceptions, a sack and a forced fumble in a part-time role, the lengthy defensive back could flourish with more opportunities in 2024. 

Special teams

Brandon Aubrey
Dallas Cowboys

DRAFTED: Undrafted

What a story here, as the former professional soccer player and USFL kicker earned first-team All-Pro honors as a rookie in the NFL. He didn't miss a field goal until Week 18 and finished the season with a perfect 10-for-10 mark from 50-plus yards. The Cowboys certainly found a keeper in this 28-year-old.

Bryce Baringer
New England Patriots

DRAFTED: Round 6, No. 192 overall

In a long season for the Patriots that ultimately ended the Bill Belichick era in New England, this sixth-round rookie was one of the bright spots. The league leader in punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line (38), Baringer routinely flipped the field with his flawless directional boots.

Marvin Mims Jr.
Denver Broncos

DRAFTED: Round 2, No. 63 overall

The former Oklahoma standout thrived as the Broncos’ return specialist, averaging a whopping 16.4 yards per punt return. And with a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown also on his résumé, Mims is the easy choice as this year’s top rookie returner. In fact, he made the Pro Bowl for his spectacular special teams work in Year 1.

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