NFL Mocks top rookies of Week 1: Top draft picks deliver; Puka Nacua shines

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 10: Anthony Richardson #5 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts after a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 10: Anthony Richardson #5 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts after a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The opening week of the 2023 NFL season showcased the debut performances of all the rookies we have been tracking since the 2023 NFL Draft, and they are ready to make their mark on the league. From quarterbacks to running backs, wide receivers to defensive players, these rookies displayed their talent and potential in their first taste of NFL action.

Let’s look at the weeks NFL Mocks’s Rookies of the Week for Week 1.

NFL rookie QB of the week: Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

In his first NFL start, Anthony Richardson displayed poise and athleticism. Despite the Colts’ 31-21 loss to the Jaguars, Richardson showed flashes of his potential. He completed 24 of his 37 pass attempts for 223 yards, including a touchdown pass.

Richardson also showcased his mobility, rushing for 40 yards and a touchdown on ten carries. His ability to make plays with his arm and legs makes him an exciting prospect for the Colts moving forward.

Richardson’s completions percentage, two touchdowns, and total yards separated him from Bryce Young of the Panthers and Texans CJ Stroud.

NFL rookie RB of the week: Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Selected by the Falcons in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Bijan Robinson wasted no time making an impact. In his debut against the Panthers, Robinson showed his explosiveness and versatility. Despite limited opportunities with just ten carries, he averaged an impressive 5.6 yards per carry. One of his standout moments came on a stop-and-go play, where he showcased his agility and vision to find the end zone for his first career touchdown.

Robinson edged out Detroits Jahmyr Gibbs by breaking a beautiful 20-yard run and his six receptions for 27 additional yards and a TD.

NFL rookie WR of the week: Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams’ fifth-round pick, Puka Nacua, stepped up in a big way in his NFL debut. With Cooper Kupp sidelined, Nacua seized the opportunity to shine.

Nacua hauled in 10 receptions for 119 yards, facing a tough Seahawks secondary, showcasing his reliable hands and route-running ability. His performance answered questions about the Rams’ receiving options and earned him a spot in the franchise record books with the most receiving yards by a rookie in a debut.

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A virtual unknown Nacua exploded onto the scene, filling in for Cooper Kupp and outshining dozens of highly touted receivers drafted ahead of him. Zay Flowers of the Ravens was contending heavily this week, but despite his four big yardage grabs, he was no match for the new Cooper Kupp.

NFL rookie TE of the week: Sam LaPorta, TE, Detroit Lions

While not a nominee for NFL Rookie of the Week, Sam LaPorta deserves recognition for his impressive debut with the Lions. The rookie tight end out of Iowa showcased his receiving skills and chemistry with quarterback Jared Goff.

LaPorta made several key receptions, displaying his ability to find open spaces in the defense. Although his stat line may not have been eye-popping, LaPorta’s contributions were crucial in helping the Lions secure a victory.

This was an easy win for Laporta, with Dalton Kincaid, Michael Mayer, and Brenton Strange were silent all weekend. Laporta, hailed as the next George Kittle takes the week.

NFL rookie defender of the week: Brian Branch, DB, Detroit Lions

Joining LaPorta in impacting the Lions’ defense, Brian Branch displayed his awareness and ball-hawking abilities. In a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Branch made a critical interception that shifted the momentum in favor of the Lions. His instincts and playmaking skills were fully displayed, showing why he was a valuable addition to the Lions’ secondary.

Will Anderson Jr. had a solid outing as well as the Eagle’s Jalen Carter, But Branche’s INT led to the Lions’ upset of the defending champ Chiefs. The week is his, and that’s two for Detroit.

These rookies have set the stage for what promises to be an exciting season ahead. As they continue to develop and gain experience, their performances will undoubtedly shape the future of their respective teams. Fans and analysts alike will eagerly watch how these rookies progress and contribute in the coming weeks.

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Stay tuned each week for more updates on these talented rookies as they continue to make their mark on the NFL stage. The excitement and anticipation for their future performances are palpable, and their contributions will undoubtedly shape the narrative of the 2023 NFL season.