NFL Rookies: Top 15 highest-graded players after Week 7

2T3DGB4 Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter (98) in action against Miami Dolphins guard Lester Cotton (66) during the NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

RB De’Von Achane leads the pack: Even without playing since Week 5, Achane still leads the league in a variety of rushing metrics, including rushing grade (94.7), yards after contact per attempt (7.4) and missed tackles forced per attempt (0.39).

• DI Jalen Carter looking like a steal: Carter returned from injury to a limited workload but didn’t skip a beat, racking up another four pressures on 15 snaps and producing a season-high 33.3% pass-rush win rate.

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


Members of the 2023 draft class are primed and ready to face down the bright lights of the NFL stage. Whether they were drafted first or 259th, the best will rise to the top when the games are played.

These are the 15 highest-graded rookies after NFL Week 7.

1. RB De’Von Achane, Miami Dolphins: 93.6

With Achane (knee) not expected to return until Week 11, backs around the league have time to catch up to his outstanding statistical marks. Even without playing since Week 5, Achane still leads the league in a variety of rushing metrics, including rushing grade (94.7), yards after contact per attempt (7.4) and missed tackles forced per attempt (0.39).


2. DI Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles: 91.3

Carter returned from injury to a limited workload but didn’t skip a beat, racking up another four pressures on 15 snaps and producing a season-high 33.3% pass-rush win rate. His 21.9% win rate on the season paces the rookie class by more than three percentage points and puts him just behind Aaron Donald, who leads the position.


3. CB Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks: 88.5

Witherspoon's 88.5 overall grade stands atop the position through seven weeks. He has one of the most well-rounded grading profiles in the league, as he stands as the only corner with an 80.0-plus grade in coverage (80.8), run defense (90.2) and pass rush (92.2).

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4. WR Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams: 86.0

After a tough stretch the previous two weeks, Nacua erupted to earn his highest receiving grade of the season (88.1) in Week 7. With five of his eight receptions going for 20 or more yards, Nacua finished the day with a 5.13 yards per route run average, his highest this season by a wide margin and the most by a qualifying receiver in Week 7.


5. WR Jake Bobo, Seattle Seahawks: 82.6

With D.K. Metcalf (ribs/hip) missing from the lineup, Bobo got to take on a larger workload and rose to the challenge wonderfully. While his stat line may look relatively modest — he hauled in four of his five targets for 61 yards and a score — he earned an outstanding 85.3 receiving grade, fifth at the position in Week 7.

Cementing his standing here is his 89.4 run-blocking grade through seven weeks, the second-highest mark at the position.


6. WR Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs: 82.0

Rice’s role within the Chiefs offense continues to grow. He played a season-high 40 snaps in Week 7 and earned his fourth 70.0-plus receiving grade of the year. The second-round rookie has generated a 122.9 passer rating when targeted, a top-20 mark at the receiver position.


7. CB Christian Gonzalez, New England Patriots: 80.8

Gonzalez (shoulder) again qualifies for this list despite going down in Week 4, solely because of his fantastic play in September. He managed to force three incompletions and allow just a 67.5 passer rating on throws into his coverage, a top-10 mark among corners.


7. DI Keeanu Benton, Pittsburgh Steelers: 80.8

Benton's spot on this list is typically because of his ability as a run-stuffer, but this week, the credit falls squarely on his improvements as a pass-rusher. He put up a 90.4 pass-rushing grade in Week 7, the best mark at his position for the week. He won 30% of his pass-rush snaps and recorded three quarterback hits.


9. CB Joey Porter Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers: 80.4

Amazingly, Porter has allowed just one reception on over 100 coverage snaps this season. While he has been targeted in coverage only 10 times, it still provides a very impressive projection for his future. Porter has allowed just 0.11 yards per coverage snap, a mark three times lower than the next-best at the position.


10. EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Houston Texans: 80.3

The Texans were on bye in Week 7, but Anderson retained his spot on this list. In his last outing, Anderson erupted with his best pass-rush performance of the year, earning an 84.6 grade. He finished the day with an incredible eight pressures and a 28.9% pass-rush win rate, both of which are season-highs for the first-round edge rusher.


11. WR Demario Douglas, New England Patriots: 78.0

Douglas makes his debut in the top 15 after earning a season-high 83.3 receiving grade in Week 7, a top-10 mark for the week. He finished the day with four catches for a season-best 54 receiving yards, with two of those catches going for 15 or more yards. It was a performance the Patriots desperately needed.

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12. WR Tank Dell, Houston Texans: 77.2

While he may not jump off the box score often, he has earned quality grades in recent weeks. Over his last three games, Dell has surpassed an 82.0 receiving grade twice, with his quarterback producing a 130.7 passer rating when targeting him.


12. LB Ivan Pace Jr., Minnesota Vikings: 77.2

While Pace is incredibly talented, his role continues to diminish due to Brian Asamoah‘s return to the lineup, and he has played just 17 snaps over his last two games. Regardless of recent volume, Pace has emerged as an incredible pass-rushing linebacker, having earned the most pressures (10) and third-highest grade (90.0) at the position.


14. CB Brian Branch, Detroit Lions: 76.8

Branch returned to the lineup this week after missing the previous two games with an injury. But while he may have lost his footing a bit this past week, he still boasts a fantastic resume. Branch has produced nine stops in coverage this season, tied for fourth-most by a corner in the league. This has helped contribute to his 77.0 grade, the fourth-best mark in the rookie class.


15. RB Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans: 74.7

Derrick Henry may have a stranglehold on the ground game in the Titans offense, but Spears is undoubtedly in control of the backfield passing game. He saw just one target in Week 7, but he managed to take it 48 yards, breaking five tackles on the way and nearly finding the end zone. He earned a season-best 89.2 receiving grade for his efforts.

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