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Top Rookies shine and find the end zone in Week 1
The 2023 NFL Draft class had quite a bit of talent all throughout and it didn’t take long for those new faces to start making a name for themselves as NFL players. Let’s take a look back at some of the top rookie highlights and performances from Week 1.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons spent a top-10 pick on the former Texas running back due to his explosive running and all-around ability. The Falcons wasted no time getting Robinson involved and getting him into the end zone. Robinson finished with 83 total yards on 16 touches as Atlanta split the work between Robinson and Tyler Allgeier (who had two touchdowns of his own). Those touches for Robinson included six catches, which led all Falcons receivers in their 24-10 Week 1 over the Carolina Panthers.
The Falcons clearly haven’t forgotten about Allgeier, who rushed for 1,000 yards as a rookie. But Robinson didn’t take long to make a splash. The future is now for the Falcons backfield.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts
The moment the Colts drafted Anthony Richardson out of Florida, everyone knew the Colts would eventually have a nice spark on offense. Richardson did all he could to give the Colts that spark in Week 1, keeping the Colts hanging around before the Jaguars pulled away late for a 31-21 win in Indianapolis after the Colts took a 21-17 lead into the fourth quarter.
Richardson went 24/37 for 223 yards with a touchdown and an interception and also added 40 yards and a rushing touchdown on 10 carries. The Colts finally look to have stability at the quarterback position after Richardson was the 7th different Week 1 quarterback in seven seasons for the franchise — Andrew Luck, Scott Tolzien, Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan were the others. He may be 0-1 to start his career, but the Colts are in the right direction with their new quarterback.
Jordan Addison, WR, Minnesota Vikings
The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft featured a run of four straight wide receivers being selected. The last of those four was Jordan Addison out of USC, selected No. 23 overall by the Minnesota Vikings. So far, so good for the Vikings as Addison found the end zone in Week 1 and caught four passes for 61 yards. The downside is that the Vikings lost at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 20-17 and now have to turn right around and face the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.
The early returns are good though. The Vikings needed to replace Adam Thielen and find a wide receiver to complement Justin Jefferson. They hope they have found that in Addison.
Zay Flowers, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Also among those four straight wide receivers in the first round was Zay Flowers out of Boston College. Those who followed the draft process knew Flowers had incredible ability. Now, just about everyone knows after Flowers caught nine passes in Baltimore’s 25-9 win over the Houston Texans.
All the talk was Baltimore needed to find wide receivers for quarterback Lamar Jackson and that he had no one to throw to on the outside. After Week 1, we can finally put those thoughts to rest. Flowers is going to be a good one.