The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

Pre-Season Preview: NFL rookies and where they stand

Rookie Wide Receiver Quentin Johnston after catching his first career NFL pass.

For every NFL (National Football League) rookie, it is a dream come true to go to the NFL, but for some, it is only the beginning of a long journey. Rookies in the NFL usually are drafted after their junior or senior season. Players have worked and fought for this moment their entire life since they were young.

Making it to the NFL doesn’t always guarantee you are going to be great in the NFL. Neither does the placement in which you were drafted. Many NFL legends were drafted after the first round, some even in the fifth and sixth rounds.

Everyone has their opinions on the new class of rookies based on their time in college. I have many opinions on the new NFL rookies myself. I think this class of rookies has a lot of people to look out for. Some of these names are Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, Bijan Robinson, Jaxon Smith Njigba, and Will Anderson Jr.

“Many players that got drafted were drafted in perfect positions such as Quentin Johnston,” said senior Drew Barth. Johnson got drafted to the Chargers from TCU. Johnson was one of the best CFB receivers in the 2022-2023 season, losing in the CFB national championship to Alabama. 

Some rookies that should be on everyone’s radar are Jahmyr Gibbs, Deuce Vaugn, Josh Downs, Jack Campbell, and Sam Howell. Sam Howell has already had one of the best pre-seasons out of all of the rookie QBs that were drafted. 

Barth also added, “I was super surprised seeing Will Levis and Michael Mayer falling to the early second round.” Michael Mayer, being one of if not the best tight end in CFB the last two years, was passed up until the early second round getting drafted eventually by the Raiders. 

Some NFL rookies who had amazing college careers but many don’t think will shine in the NFL at all are people like Stetson Bennett, Jalen Carter out of Georgia, CJ Stroud, etc. Stetson Bennett looked to be the most comfortable and naturally playing QB of the many QBs drafted though. Stetson Bennett coming out of Georgia and winning 2 national championships seems to be ready to be in the big leagues.

Many offenses will be way more electrifying with their new additions. Teams like the Panthers with Bryce Young, the Ravens with Zay Flowers and free agent signing Odell Beckham Jr., the Colts with Anthony Richardson and Josh Downs, the Chargers with Quentin Johnston, the Falcons with Bijan Robinson, etc. The same goes for defenses. Teams like the Lions with Jack Campbell, the Packers with Lukas Van Ness, the Eagles with Nolan Smith and Jalen Carter, the Patriots with Christian Gonzalez, etc.

Many rookies will go on to have good careers and maybe some will be pro bowlers, some will win awards, some will be legends, and some will be nothing. The NFL is the big league, you have to put in the work to stay in the game. 

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