NFL

These 5 rookies have stood out at 2023 NFL training camps

Keep an eye on these NFL rookies as the 2023 preseason gets underway this week

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Even though just two teams have actually played a game so far, there’s plenty to talk about in the NFL.

At this point in the summer, fans are itching to see their newest players in action. It’s been nearly four months since rookies were drafted in April. But until you actually see those players on the field in a game, it’s fair to wonder what type of impact they will make.

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Before Week 1 of the preseason begins on Thursday, all we have to go off of is training camp practices. Some rookies have received glowing reviews from reporters on site, while others are struggling.

Here are five players that stood out at training camp as we head into the preseason:

Anthony Richardson, Colts QB

The No. 4 overall pick still hasn’t been named the Colts’ starter over Gardner Minshew. So, how did he end up on this list over No. 1 pick and confirmed Panthers starting quarterback Bryce Young? Richardson is trending in the right direction after being placed in a tricky situation. It’s clearly a matter of when, not if, he officially becomes Shane Steichen’s QB1. Reporters have been encouraged with his progress, culminating with a positive stretch entering the preseason.

Bijan Robinson, Falcons RB

NBC Sports’ Peter King dubbed Robinson as his “New Kid In Town,” saying that he will be the “do-everything guy” for Atlanta’s offense. Head coach Arthur Smith told King that he doesn’t want to overload Robinson early in the season. Still, it’s hard not to get excited about the No. 8 overall pick from Texas. He should make an immediate impact in a system that emphasizes the run game.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seahawks WR

If you’ve been on social media over the past month, odds are you’ve seen a clip of Smith-Njigba toasting a Seahawks defender at camp. The Ohio State product has made play after play in his first summer as a pro. With DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett leading the way, JSN has no pressure to perform right away. But at this point, it looks like he may force his way onto the field as Seattle seeks a second straight postseason appearance.

Jalen Carter, Eagles DT

Even after falling to No. 9 in the draft, Carter has lofty expectations for his rookie season. The two-time national champion out of Georgia turned heads immediately at practices. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro reported that Carter has embraced everything the NFL has to offer, including veteran teammates and different training methods. This might not seem notable, but it’s worth mentioning after he dropped down draft boards partially due to character concerns.

Christian Gonzalez, Patriots CB

Somehow, the Patriots nabbed a player who appears to be a No. 1 cornerback at No. 17 in the draft. Gonzalez inexplicably fell due to questions about his physicality and tackling. Now, through a few weeks of training camp, he’s emerged as their likely top corner. NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry repeatedly pointed out the smoothness to his game and how he has a knack for finding the ball.

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss rookie Christian Gonzalez' performance early into Patriots Training Camp, and how he is already impressing.
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