Top 5 Rookies Following Week 12 | KC Chiefs Receiver Rashee Rice’s Breakout Game Proves He’s Patrick Mahomes’ No. 1 Receiver

This is the point in the NFL season where most newbies hit the proverbial rookie wall. But these five standout FROSH are still elevating.

Rashee Rice, Chiefs, WR

It’s no secret the Kansas City Chiefs have been searching for a No. 1 receiver since they traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins following the 2021 season. While they did win the Super Bowl without the world class speedster, this season has been more of a struggle. With the talented but injury prone Kadarius Toney expected to take more of a top receiver role coming into the season, K.C. thought he would fill in the gaps.

That hasn’t happened, and with teams doing their best to take away All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, someone needed to step up. Enter Rice, who has 44 receptions for 527 yards and a team-leading five aerial TDs.

The former SMU standout has shown flashes all season, but Sunday was his coming out party.

Rice finished with eight receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown in the team’s 31-17 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. We told you he was emerging back in Week 6.

Head coach Andy Reid told reporters this on Monday. 

“He’s getting better every week. He’s getting a little more production, yes, but also a few more plays and opportunities to get in the game.”

Jalen Carter, Eagles, DL

Carter continues to impress weekly. One week he’s stopping the run at a high level, and the next week he’s winning continuously on the pass rush. That’s exactly what he did in Sunday’s overtime win over the Buffalo Bills. Carter was credited with a team-high eight pass-rush wins, not bad on a team that also boasts edge rusher Haasan Reddick and Josh Sweat. 

Carter also blocked a field goal. 

C.J. Stroud, Texans, QB

Once again Stroud was solid. Take away the two late sacks he took that knocked the Texans out of sure-shot field goal range and he would’ve been at the top of our list this week…again.

Despite the late loss, Stroud continued to strengthen his hold on the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The strong-armed gunslinger finished 26 of 36 for 306 yards and two touchdowns. It was his sixth game over 300 yards passing with a total of 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions. 

Devon Witherspoon, Seahawks, CB

The Hawks are reeling, having lost three of the past four, including two straight. One bright spot has been the play of Witherspoon. Spoon’s been one of the best defensive backs in the league, and he has stats to prove it. 

The former Illinois standout ranks in the top 10 in forced incompletions, run stops and sacks (where he ranks first). For two straight seasons Pete Carroll and the Hawks staff have hit on talented corners (Tariq Woolen in 2022). 

Tank Dell, Texans, WR

After the Texans drafted the aforementioned Stroud, the franchise signal-caller insisted that they draft Dell, and it looks like a brilliant move. The former Houston Cougars speedster wreaks havoc on opposing defenses.

While smallish in stature, Dell more than makes up for it with elite speed, quickness and a toughness not usually associated with receivers his size. 

He has quickly become Stroud’s go-to receiver. In Sunday’s loss Dell tallied five grabs for 54 yards and another touchdown, upping his season totals to 47 receptions for 709 yards and seven trips to paydirt.

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