Top 5 NFL rookies still in the playoffs, including Brian Branch, Sam LaPorta, and others

Top 5 NFL rookies still in the playoffs, including Brian Branch, Sam LaPorta, and others

There are now just four teams in the NFL vying for a Super Bowl ring this season. The league has reached the Championship games. The AFC’s Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens and the NFC’s Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers are the last four the clubs.

Rookies have joined all four of these teams in large numbers and have an immediate impact. Some of the most impressive rookies in recent memory significantly changed their teams on both sides of the ball to enable them to achieve the success they did in 2023.

Top NFL rookies still playing in the 2023 playoffs

5 – Detroit Lions’ Brian Branch

Brian Branch, a safety, is one of the Detroit Lions’ notable rookies from their 2023 class.

With the Lions’ second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Branch was selected out of Alabama. He gained notoriety right away when, on the opening night of the NFL, he intercepted Patrick Mahomes and returned it for a pick-six, helping the Lions beat the Chiefs 21–20.

Branch now has 74 tackles, a sack, 13 passes defensed, and two additional interceptions. Branch, a threat everywhere on the field, will undoubtedly be a cornerstone of Detroit’s defence for many years to come.

Favourites for 2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

Branch is currently a long shot to earn NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, trailing only players like Jalen Carter and Will Anderson Jr., but if he performs well in the Lions’ next postseason games, things may quickly turn around for him.

4 – Kansas City Chiefs’ Rashee Rice

Rashee Rice, selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 55th overall choice in the 2023 NFL Draft out of SMU, has the potential to lead the team to another Super Bowl.

Rice has improved as 2023 has gone on, and he is currently the Chiefs’ top wide receiver in an outstanding offence that is commanded by Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes. Rice started in just eight games, but he still finished with 938 yards on 79 receptions and seven touchdowns.

In his playoff debut game against the Miami Dolphins, he scored a touchdown. In total, he has amassed 177 receiving yards over his playoffs career.

Top NFL rookies still playing in the 2023 playoffs

3. Detroit Lions’ Jahmyr Gibbs

Not all rookies for the Detroit Lions in 2023 are as good as Brian Branch. As his rookie campaign advances, running back Jahmyr Gibbs has established himself as a presence, supporting power back David Montgomery.

Together, Gibbs and Montgomery have developed into a potent running back combination. In the regular season, Gibbs gained 1,261 all-purpose yards, and in his two postseason games so far, he has added another 183. Even though Gibbs has 11 touchdowns and leads the backfield in touchdowns, Montgomery is still a threat.

In the NFC Championship game this week, the Lions should expect to rely largely on Jahmyr Gibbs and their run game against the pass rush of the San Francisco 49ers, who have players like Nick Bosa.

2. – Baltimore Ravens’ Zay Flowers

Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers is another rookie wide receiver that is sweeping the league. QB Lamar Jackson has made Flowers his main target right away, especially since he lost standout TE Mark Andrews to injury earlier in the season.

This season, the former Boston College player has amassed 858 yards through 77 receptions and five touchdowns. In his postseason debut against the Houston Texans, he only managed 41 yards total. Against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship, he will aim to recover greatly.

1 – Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

Without any question, Sam LaPorta was the most outstanding rookie tight end in recent memory. LaPorta became an essential part of the Detroit Lions offence right away, but most rookies in his position require some time to get used to the NFL.

He was the NFL’s highest-scoring tight end with 889 yards on 86 receptions and 10 receiving touchdowns. LaPorta was a favourite among fantasy football owners this season as he led the pack in PPR fantasy scoring, surpassing players like Travis Kelce and George Kittle.

QB Jared Goff’s targets and receptions from him were only surpassed by star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. The rookie tight end has proven he was well worth the 34th overall choice in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Favourites for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

LaPorta’s outstanding rookie campaign ended in his selection to the Pro Bowl and Second-team All-Pro honours. If not for C.J. Stroud and Puka Nacua’s incredible seasons, LaPorta would be the front-runner for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.


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