These Players Have The Best Chance To Be Top Five Most Impactful Rookies Heading Into The 2023 NFL Season | Seahawks WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba Has All-Pro Ability

With the NFL season on the horizon, these five rookies are likely to be the most impactful based on situation. 

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seahawks 

The former Ohio State Buckeyes star burst on the scene with his 15-reception, 347-yard and three touchdown performance in the Rose Bowl. Smith-Njigba missed most of last season with a lingering hamstring injury, but the elite wide receiver prospect showed more than enough during the time he did play. In 23 games with the Buckeyes, JSN amassed 1,698 yards, ten touchdowns while averaging nearly 16 yards per reception. 

Joining a Seahawks offense with quarterback Geno Smith and wideouts D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Smith-Njigba is in a perfect situation. While Metcalf and Lockett man the outside, he should have his way in the slot. His addition should help the Seahawks secure back-to-back playoff seasons after missing in 2021. Expect a huge year from JSN. 

Bryce Young, QB, Panthers

The Panthers drafted Young No. 1 overall with the belief he’d be their opening starting quarterback. Young reportedly has done nothing to debunk that notion. In fact, the former Heisman Trophy winner has coaches and teammates calling him a “mental savant.” The Panthers have a solid roster surrounding Young on both sides on the football, and if Young is anywhere near as advertised this is a playoff team. 

Joey Porter Jr., Steelers, CB

In a league where getting pressure on the opposing quarterback is paramount, Porter Jr. is in a place that thrives on making opposing QBs uncomfortable. With 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J Watt back and healthy after an injury-plagued 2022 season, and fellow edge rusher Alex Highsmith wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines, Porter’s ability as a press man corner should allow him feast on the football. Playing for his dad’s former team alongside former All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, there will be plenty of opportunities for the former Penn State Nittany Lions star to make plays. 

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said after Pittsburgh made Porter the 32nd pick of the draft that the 22-year-old “checked all the boxes.”

Dalton Kincaid, Bills, TE

Playing with superstar QB Josh Allen is one thing, but the fact that Kincaid will team with fellow tight end Dawson Knox to give the Bills arguably the most dynamic duo in the league is a whole other story. With Knox’s ability in between the hashes, and Kincaid’s wide receiver skills and ability to line up outside, the Bills’ offense just went to another level. Kincaid is big-time and easily the best tight end in the draft. Knox is thoroughly impressed by his new teammate, and he let reporters know about it during OTAs in late May. 

“He had like 16 catches in one game in college,” Knox said. “I think that was my, like, my whole senior year. So, yeah, very, very impressive.”

Jalen Carter, Eagles, DT

Carter was arguably the top talent in the draft, but off-the-field issues caused a little slippage and he fell to ninth overall. Falling to the Eagles, a team that just played for a Super Bowl, is a blessing in disguise. In Philly he’ll mentored by veterans Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, while teaming with former Georgia teammates Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean and Kelee Ringo. 

Carter needed something like this after showing his immaturity on many occasions this past season. Not only is he gonna get the leadership and guidance he desperately needs, he’s also in a place where he’s gonna be put in position to make many plays. 

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