As we prepare for three glorious NFL games on Thanksgiving, mixed in with gravy-drenched culinary masterpieces, it's time to provide which rookies all 32 teams are thankful for. 

Yes, the Texans are most thankful for C.J. Stroud, and the Eagles are incredibly grateful to have landed Jalen Carter at No. 10 overall in April. The clubs are listed by their current playoff position in their respective conference. We'll start with the NFC.  


1. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Carter 

(Round 1, 10th overall)

Carter has an outside chance to earn All-Pro distinction as a rookie -- he's been that dominant on the interior of Philadelphia's already ferocious front. He has 32 pressures on just 236 pass-rush snaps and has been a force at defensive tackle. 

2. Detroit LionsSam LaPorta, TE

(Round 2, 34th overall)

Sam LaPorta
DET • TE • #87
REC YDs492
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LaPorta has been an anchor of the Lions passing offense -- outside of Amon-Ra St. Brown, of course -- in his rookie season. He's actually fifth among all tight ends with 50 receptions and has forced five missed tackles. The Lions are very thankful for defensive back Brian Branch, too. 

3. San Francisco 49ersJi'Ayir Brown, S

(Round 3, 87th overall)

Brown will be thrust into an important role after the Talanoa Hufanga injury, and he had a breakout performance in Week 11's win over the Buccaneers with a pair of defended passes and an interception. 

4. New Orleans SaintsBryan Bresee, DT

(Round 1, 29th overall)

Bresee flashed early on with 12 pressures in his first five NFL games. Since then, Bresee's momentum has stalled for the former top high school recruit in the country. Yet his presence on the interior of the Saints defensive front has been felt in Year 1.

5. Dallas CowboysBrandon Aubrey, PK


All Aubrey's done as an undrafted kicker is set an NFL record for most consecutive field goals made to start a career. 

6. Seattle SeahawksDevon Witherspoon, CB

(Round 1, 5th overall)

Witherspoon started his NFL career injured, then exploded onto the scene once he was nursed back to health. In nine contests, the former Illinois tone-setter has 13 pass breakups with a pick and three sacks for Pete Carroll. 

7. Minnesota VikingsJordan Addison, WR

(Round 1, 23rd overall)

Jordan Addison
MIN • WR • #3
REC YDs647
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Where would the Vikings be without Addison, who somewhat miraculously stepped into the WR1 role after Justin Jefferson went down and rocked with Kirk Cousins (and then Josh Dobbs) as Minnesota revitalized its season from an 0-3 start. He has seven touchdowns and nearly 650 yards to date on 48 catches.

8. Green Bay PackersJayden Reed, WR

(Round 2, 50th overall)

Jayden Reed
GB • WR • #11
REC YDs463
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Altogether, the Packers' much-hyped-in-the-preseason offense has flopped in 2023. Reed's been an exception. The second-rounder is third on the team with 32 receptions, he averages 14.5 yards per snag, and has four scores. Largely, Reed has helped mitigate the sting felt by Christian Watson's Year 2 disappointment. 

9. Los Angeles RamsPuka Nacua, WR

(Round 5, 177th overall)

Puka Nacua
LAR • WR • #17
REC YDs897
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In the midst of Cooper Kupp starting the season on the shelf, Nacua helped keep the Rams offense afloat with incredible productivity to begin his NFL career. Even after Kupp's return, Nacua has stayed relevant offensively with 19 grabs for 299 yards and a score in his past four outings. 

10. Atlanta FalconsBijan Robinson, RB

(Round 1, 8th overall)

Bijan Robinson
ATL • RB • #7
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Robinson could probably see the football more -- particularly near the end zone -- but when it's in his hands, he's been as magical as advertised. The super-hyped running back prospect is sixth in the NFL with 31 missed tackles forced on the 21st-most rushing attempts. 

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Izien, CB


Undrafted out of Rutgers, Izien has been a pleasant surprise in the Buccaneers as the full-time slot defender. A favorite blitzer for Todd Bowles, Izien has five pressures on 36 pass-rush snaps and two interceptions on close to 400 snaps entering Week 12. 

12. Washington CommandersJartavius Martin, DB

(Round 2, 47th overall)

The Commanders have gotten little return from their rookies -- and that's being nice. Martin has been hampered by injuries but has a pair of pass breakups and an interception on the 65 snaps he has played this season. 

13. New York GiantsTommy DeVito, QB


Tommy DeVito
NYG • QB • #15
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Tommy Chicken Cutlets ate nine sacks against the Commanders but otherwise was stellar in the Giants' surprising win in Washington. The more he's played, the more he's looked comfortable, and the Giants were desperate at quarterback after the Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor injuries. 

14. Chicago BearsDarnell Wright, OT

(Round 1, 10th overall)

Tyson Bagent's respectable play after Justin Fields' finger injury could've easily gotten him the nod here. I'm picking Wright because he represents a critical part of the future for the Bears. After a concerning start, he has steadied his play over the past month. 

15. Arizona CardinalsMichael Wilson, WR

(Round 3, 94th overall)

Michael Wilson
ARI • WR • #14
REC YDs435
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Wilson was a risky top-100 selection because of his vast injury history at Stanford, and ironically, he's injured right now. BUT, when he's been on the field, the 6-foot-2, 213-pounder has been a splash play waiting to happen for the Cardinals, with 435 yards and two scores on 28 receptions. 

16. Carolina PanthersJammie Robinson, CB

(Round 5, 145th overall)

Finding positives from the Panthers' 2023 season is a significant challenge. From the rookie class? Almost impossible. Robinson was injured early but has played quality football since making his NFL debut in Week 6 as a do-everything defensive back.


1. Baltimore RavensZay Flowers, WR

(Round 1, 22nd overall)

Zay Flowers
BAL • WR • #4
REC YDs588
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The Baltimore team leader in catches (53) and receiving yards (588), Flowers has injected life into the Ravens previously stagnant offense that desperately needed a serious separator. 

2. Kansas City ChiefsRashee Rice, WR

(Round 2, 55th overall)

Rashee Rice
KC • WR • #4
REC YDs420
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Rice leads the Chiefs receivers in catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns, and although he's almost exclusively been utilized underneath, his thunderous YAC talent he demonstrated at SMU have been apparent in the NFL -- he's forced seven missed tackles. 

3. Jacksonville JaguarsTank Bigsby, RB

(Round 3, 88th overall)

Tank Bigsby
JAC • RB • #4
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The Jaguars have been very veteran-reliant this season, and Bigsby has hardly been efficient. However, he's spelled Travis Etienne for 35 carries. Etienne is still tied for second in rush attempts with 174. 

4. Miami DolphinsDe'Von Achane, RB

(Round 3, 84th overall)

De'Von Achane
MIA • RB • #28
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Achane averages 11.8 yards per carry. ABSURD! That's a tenth of a yard higher than Ja'Marr Chase's yards-per-reception average. If Mike McDaniel could build a running back for his system in a football laboratory, Achane would come out of the 3D printer. 

5. Cleveland BrownsDawand Jones, OT

(Round 4, 111th overall)

Jones has been sent from the Ohio Football Gods this season. All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin out for the year, enter Jones who blanked T.J. Watt in Week 11 and has surrendered a respectable 15 pressures on 321 pass-blocking snaps to date. As an Ohio State alum, he's been an instant cult hero in Cleveland. 

6. Houston Texans: C.J. Stroud, QB

(Round 1, 2nd overall)

C.J. Stroud
HOU • QB • #7
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Stroud's going to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, and at this rate, he could garner some MVP votes, which would be the first time that's happened since Chris Johnson in 2008. Stroud's been integral to Houston ascending into the AFC playoff bracket currently while riding a three-game winning streak. He's orchestrated two game-winning drive and entering Week 12 leads the NFL with 296.2 passing yards per game. 

7. Pittsburgh SteelersBroderick Jones, OT

(Round 1, 14th overall)

Jones was slowly worked into the starting lineup, and while the pass protection has been average, he's helped paved massive lanes for Jaylen Warren and Co. on the ground, which in most Steelers game has been the lifeforce of the team's offense. 

8. Buffalo BillsDalton Kincaid, TE

(Round 1, 25th overall)

Dalton Kincaid
BUF • TE • #86
REC YDs436
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The Bills have made Kincaid a focal point of the offense, especially of late, as the former Utah star has 34 catches for 318 yards with two scores in his last five contests, and he's caught at least five passes in each one of those games. 

9. Indianapolis ColtsJosh Downs, WR

(Round 3, 79th overall)

Josh Downs
IND • WR • #1
REC YDs523
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The bright lights of the NFL have not been too bright for Downs, who's operated precisely how he did at North Carolina. Ultra-quick feet, reliable hands, some YAC. He's second on the team with 43 snags (22 first downs) and tied for the most missed tackles forced with four. 

10. Denver BroncosJaleel McLaughlin, RB


Jaleel McLaughlin
DEN • RB • #38
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Turns out it's McLaughlin, not Samaje Perine, who's the favorite pass-catching scatback of Sean Payton. Dynamic with the ball in his hands, the Youngstown State legend has three total touchdowns with a 5.6 yards-per-touch average on the season to date. 

11. Cincinnati BengalsCharlie Jones, WR

(Round 3, 95th overall)

I originally had wideout Charlie Jones here for the Bengals, but with DC Lou Anarumo recently naming Battle one of the starting safeties moving forward, the former Alabama safety gets the nod. He has a pair of pass breakups and 24 tackles on the season and will have many more opportunities down the stretch for Cincinnati. 

12. Las Vegas RaidersAidan O'Connell, QB

(Round 4, 135th overall)

Aidan O'Connell
LV • QB • #4
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The Raiders look night-and-day different in the early stages of the Antonio Pierce era than they did for the vast majority of Josh McDaniels second stint as an AFC West head coach. And O'Connell's at the core of that. Against the Dolphins, he got the ball out in light speed on most of his throws, just like he did at Purdue. 

13. Los Angeles ChargersTuli Tuipulotu, EDGE

(Round 2, 54th overall)

Tuipulotu isn't winning as cleanly against NFL offensive tackles as Joey Bosa did as a rookie, but he's currently second on the Chargers in pressures (ahead of Bosa) with 33. Plus, he's only 21. t

14. New York Jets: Xavier Gibson, WR


Xavier Gipson
NYJ • WR • #82
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Stephen F. Austin REPRESENT! Gibson's overtime punt-return touchdown is a memorable highlight in this otherwise touchdown-averse season for the Jets. He's also caught five passes for 67 yards as an undrafted rookie. 

15. Tennessee TitansWill Levis, QB

(Round 2, 33rd overall)

Will Levis
TEN • QB • #8
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Imagine the state of the Titans organization if Levis hadn't already flashed this season after replacing Ryan Tannehill. Instead, the team's second-round pick in April represents an encouraging future at the most vital position on the field -- he has eight Big-Time Throws in four contests. 

16. New England PatriotsDeMario Douglas, WR

(Round 6, 210th overall)

Demario Douglas
NE • WR • #81
REC YDs361
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The rookie from Liberty is the only New England receiver with serious juice. He's third on the team with 30 grabs entering Week 12, and he forced four missed tackles.