Boom or bust: A look at the NFL’s best and worst rookies

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Now that the regular season is done, many NFL rookies made headlines for their skills and ability to transition well into the professional game. Pre-draft, there was lots of speculation about who would be a bust and who would excel greatly. Here is our list of booms and busts amongst NFL rookies for the 2023 season.

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Drafted 1st Round, 1st overall

Young was the top overall pick on the worst team in the NFL. It wasn’t all his fault, but the franchise is currently looking for a new GM and head coach. On the year, the former Alabama signal-caller threw for 2,877 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

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Undrafted

Pace played in 17 games, recording 2.5 sacks, 63 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception. Not bad for a guy who didn’t hear his name called during the Draft.

After a career-high 13 tackles and his first career pick against the Raiders in Week 14, Pace was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

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Drafted 1st Round, 29th overall

The Saints were a middle-of-the-pack team on defense and Bresee chipped in with 4.5 sacks — third-best on the team but tied for 99th league-wide — and only 12 tackles.

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Drafted 2nd Round, 34th overall

LaPorta put together a fantastic season, finishing fifth amongst all tight ends with 889 receiving yards — only George Kittle topped 1,000 — fourth in receptions (86) and 10 TDs, which led the position.

Image for article titled Boom or bust: A look at the NFL's best and worst rookies

Photo: Getty Images

Image for article titled Boom or bust: A look at the NFL's best and worst rookies

Photo: Getty Images

Image for article titled Boom or bust: A look at the NFL's best and worst rookies

Photo: Getty Images

Drafted 1st Round, 7th Overall

Yes, he was injured before the season started, but it’s not a good sign for a guy drafted that early to not record his first sack until Week 7. There were 11 rookies with better totals, some of whom played fewer games. He recorded 3.5 sacks, 29 combined tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

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Drafted: 1st Round, 2nd Overall

Easy choice for Rookie of the Year. Stroud started off the season on a historic pace, and helped lead the Texans to the playoffs under first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans. The Ohio State product threw for 4,108 yards, and 23 TDs, which was eighth and 13th best, respectively, across the league.

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Drafted: 1st Round, 21st Overall

His totals weren’t even top-100 in the league: 38 catches, 431 yards, 2 TDs, 11.3 yards per reception. This pick looks even worse when seeing what guys selected after him — namely Puka Nacua (fifth round) and Tank Dell (third round) — were able to accomplish.

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Drafted: 5th Round, 177th Overall

Speaking of Nacua, the fifth-rounder was tasked with holding down the fort until Cooper Kupp returned from injury. Well, not only did he exceed expectations, but he still shined when his former All-Pro teammate was back in the lineup.

Nacua set the rookie record for receiving yards (1,486) and receptions (105). He had the fourth-most yards, trailing only Tyreek Hill, CeeDee Lamb, and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

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