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5 NFL Rookies Poised To Breakout In Week 1

  • Justin Melo
  • September 7, 2023
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Week 1 has finally arrived! Several NFL rookies will be making their official debuts this weekend. First-year contributors carry the potential to elevate their team’s performance ceiling. We’ve swiftly identified five rookies who could announce their presence with a fantastic showing this weekend.


The most hyped-up running back to enter the NFL since Saquon Barkley, Robinson will make his Falcons debut against their NFC South rival Carolina Panthers. Expect Robinson to lead all Falcons running backs in backfield touches. The dual-threat playmaker should also see plenty of passing-game targets coming out of the backfield. Robinson may even line up in the slot on occasion for inexperienced quarterback Desmond Ridder, who is searching for a reliable outlet. 

Head coach Arthur Smith is going to get creative with Robinson’s usage. Robinson’s first-year projections are lofty, but the former Texas standout is fully capable of meeting his pre-draft expectations.


Porter Jr. is currently the third cornerback on the Steelers’ depth chart. Porter Jr. is trailing Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace. Peterson and Wallace will start on the boundary, but Porter Jr. is expected to mix into the lineup against the San Francisco 49ers, whether as the nickel corner or the boundary via sub-package looks.

Porter Jr. will be thrust into the spotlight. He’s expected to draw assignments opposite Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. The challenge couldn’t be greater, but Porter Jr. possesses every trait imaginable to immediately prove that he belongs as an NFL corner. Don’t be shocked if Porter Jr. uses his 34-inch arms to make a play on the ball.


The Ravens are expected to debut a more pass-happy offense under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Flowers is expected to play a major role. This is an exciting unit that also features Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman, but Flowers is the receiver that has the most upside. 

The matchup is extremely favorable. Flowers will be making his professional debut against a young Houston Texans secondary that’s learning a new scheme under defensive-minded head coach DeMeco Ryans. Flowers should quickly uncover from man coverage and could record six-plus receptions on Sunday.


The Eagles believe they got themselves a steal when they traded up to select Carter with the No. 9 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. Carter’s performances throughout training camp, and his brief stint during the preseason, indicated just that.

Carter was once in consideration for the top overall pick. Instead, the former Georgia standout joined an Eagles defense that recorded a near-record-breaking 70.0 sacks last season. He’ll be surrounded by difference-makers like Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat. Carter will duel with a New England Patriots interior offensive line that consists of Cole Strange, Michael Onwenu, and David Andrews. That qualifies as must-watch television.


Addison will serve as Minnesota’s No. 2 wide receiver behind Justin Jefferson. Addison replaces Adam Thielen, whose departure frees up 107 targets from last season. Addison is expected to be on the receiving end of several of those newly-available targets.

Sunday’s debut matchup is tricky. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers allowed a ninth-ranked 203.6 passing yards per contest last season, but the defense is expected to be on the field more following Tom Brady‘s retirement, and they also lost Sean Murphy-Bunting to free agency. The Vikings’ sixth-ranked passing offense (263.8/game) should find success against the Buccaneers and Addison is in line for a major workload.