Today, we look at the performances of a number of 2023 NFL rookies during Week 4.
2023 NFL Rookies Progress – Week Four
NEW YORK GIANTS
Life in the NFL is tough, in more ways than one. But in way too many cases the biggest issue is injuries. And about halfway through the first half of the MNF Sea Hawks/Giants game, it hit hard at this writer’s efforts. I had earmarked Giants Rookie OC JOHN MICHAEL SCHMITZ, who was projected by many to win the starting job in pre-season work, as one of my key watches in this game for his work as their starting OC. But an injury ended his work, and my report, making an injury-prone, and seriously weakened OL situation turn into a disaster on the night with 11 Sacks recorded by the Sea Hawks D.
On that disappointing note, and hopeful for a return to the playing field later this season for SCHMITZ, let’s move on to some promising NFL Rookies with solid work last weekend.
MICHAEL WILSON WR R3, P57/PP116 has shown steady improvement since Training Camp opened and is becoming more of an impact player, who is being targeted often by QB JOSH DOUBS. Last week against the 49ers he was targeted 7 times and caught all 7 passes, for 76 yards and 2 TD. Wilson is averaging 16.9 ypc thru 4 games. JIM NAGY of the Senior Bowl was high on WILSON all week in Mobile, and his work in that week’s game earned him Offensive Rookie of the Week honors on the Senior Bowl website.
O’CYRUS TORRENCE OG R2, P59/PP27
Once considered a Round 1 Draftee last Spring the big OL slipped into Round Two. Once Training Camp started, no problem for him to fill a starter’s hole at an OG slot for the Bills. And he has held up well through the first month of the season. He is devastating as a run blocker, and it shows on the game stat sheets. He also has held his own in pass-pro given his good footwork, especially for his size. Overall, he has been a solid starting addition.
DALTON KINCAID TE/H-B R1, P25 is more of a move TE/H-B with excellent route running and good hands. He has also shown some YAC ability in the open field. Not a traditional inline TE, but he is a solid blocker. KNOX is still their TE1, but Expect to see KINCAID targeted more and more as the season goes on.
GREN BAY PACKERS
JAYDEN REED #11 WR/PR R2, P50/PP#88 The PACKERS roster is loaded with NFL Rookies, At last count I found 15 Rookies on their 53-man, with another 6 on their Practice Squad. They are really loaded in the receivers room with 4 2nd-year men and 2 Rookies on the 53-man. I mention these numbers because the logjam is holding back playing time for REED, who Las doubles as Punt Returner 1. But REED is getting starters billing right now, as the only Rookie with that distinction. His target numbers are not particularly high, but last week in the loss to Detroit, he got 5 targets, with 3 catches, for 55 yards. In 4 games he has 12 receptions for 203 yards, 16.9/ypc, and 2 TD. He is not a true speedster, but he is quick, runs good routes, shows good hands, and can elude tacklers after the catch. He should only improve over the remainder of the season joining CHRIS WATSON & ROMEO DOUBS in the starting threesome, when all are healthy.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
BRYAN BRESEE #90 DT R1, P29/PP26
The only questions about BRESEE coming out after 3 seasons at Clemson last year revolved around his ability to stay out on the field. His Clemson career was marred by injury, illness & the death of his younger sister from cancer. He is a key part of the Saints starting DT rotation, which has been solid. BRESEE uses a combination of functional strength and solid hand work to shed blockers. He provided some significant impact plays in a losing cause against the BUCS. In the 2nd quarter, he used a arm-over, spin move to record a TFL and cause a Punt. In the 3rd quarter, he recorded an effort Sack, providing what the team needs most from him… inside pass-rush.
DEVON WITHERSPOON CB R1, P6/PP10
Quite the irony, that this stellar young player was Pick 6 in the 2023 Draft. His INT and 96-yard return for a Pick-6 could be described as the game-clinching play for Seattle in the 3rd Quarter against the GIANTS. But that was not his only contribution in this game… far from it. Witherspoon, who has been starting from Game One, also recorded 7 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 3 QB Hits & 1 PD. He’s having the same kind of Rookie impact that the team got from TARIQ WOOLEN/CB last year. For his exemplary work in this game, WITHERSPOON was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Week. He hits like a safety and covers like an elite CB. If it weren’t so early in the season I would be naming his Defensive Rookie of the Year right now.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
I am not ready for a breakdown of his play quite yet, but after watching PATRICK MAHOMES struggle early this season with his revamped receiving crew I have one strong suggestion to make to ANDY REID. Get Rookie RASHEE RICE out on the field more. While other players like Skyy Moore & Kadarius Toney can’t get separation on their routes, and/or are dropping throws, RICE has looked solid in limited playing time. Help Mahomes out sooner, rather than later. He caught 96 balls, for 1355 yards last season at SMU, despite missing playing time to injury with an injured foot. Your offense needs him… now.