Another NFL Draft has passed, and all 32 franchises are preparing for their upcoming summer camps. This new class of rookies will look to make a splash in the 17-game season that is to come. As for the draft, most casual NFL fans are more interested in the name selected in the first Round.
But what about the ones who call those phone calls on day two? Here are a few rookies that got selected late but could make impacts almost immediately, specifically from rounds 2 and 3.
NFL Draft Picks from Rounds 2-3 Who Could Rise in 2023
Sam LaPorta: Tight End (34th Overall)
In 2022, the Detroit Lions had a season nobody could have predicted. They finished the season 9-8, quarterback Jared Goff had his best season since 2018, and the Lions shattered Green Bay’s playoff chances in a nail-biter at Lambeau Field. However, the offseason was not as jovial.
Prominent Lions players, running Jamaal Williams, and tight end T.J. Hockenson, will be joining new rosters in 2023. To help with the later position, The Lions selected another tight end from the University of Iowa: Sam LaPorta with the 34th overall pick.
As the potent Lions offense replenished their ranks, LaPorta has considerably big shoes to fill, succeeding Hockenson. But alongside Marvin Jones, Jameer Gibbs, and Amon St. Brown, LaPorta can be the missing piece to the puzzle in a much-improved passing game.
Rashee Rice: Wide Receiver (55th Overall)
Reigning Super Bowl champions, Kansas City, was facing a wide-receiver problem coming into 2023. Two players that were part of the SB LVII winning squad moved for the AFC East, dawning new colors. JuJu Smith Schuster went off to become a New England Patriot, while Mecole Hardman Jr. now rolls with the New York Jets.
To help add depth to that position, the Chiefs selected Southern Methodist product, Rashee Rice, in the second round with the 55th pick. The All-AAC standout has found himself in a very fortunate position, with his quarterback being Patrick Mahomes, of course.
Now, Rice has to start building chemistry with his fellow wideouts, which include Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. If he could do that, he could start turning heads before he even knows it.
Zach Harrison: Defensive End (75th Overall)
Zach Harrison comes from a line of prominent defensive ends drafted out of Ohio State University. Like his predecessors, the Bosa brothers (Joey and Nick), and Chase Young, Harrison now looks to make his presence felt under brighter lights.
As the 75th overall pick, the three-time All-Big Ten selection now calls Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA home.
The Atlanta Falcons have plenty of work to do, and plenty of questions that need answering. But adding veterans like Calais Campbell could bring much-needed leadership to this roster, and for Harrison, crucial knowledge on how he can hone his craft and help take Atlanta’s front seven to the next level.
Dorian Williams: Linebacker (91st Overall)
The Buffalo Bills have a vice grip on the AFC East Division, and they seem to have both sides of the ball covered pretty well. But with Pro Bowl linebacker, Tremaine Edmunds, now with the Chicago Bears, a hole had to be filled. Enter the 91st overall pick out of Tulane.
The two-time All-AAC prospect, Dorian Williams, capped off his Tulane tenure with 132 tackles, five sacks, and 2 INT’s in his senior season. He may not be 6’5, 250 pounds like his predecessor, but his versatility and nose for the football make him an impact player that ought to be used soon.
With All-Pro linebackers, Von Miller and Matt Milano around, Williams will have plenty to learn from when it comes to mastering his role in the Bills’ front seven. Hopefully, Williams can create an impact big enough to push Buffalo deeper into the playoffs, and closer to that ever-elusive Lombardi trophy.
Check back next week as we take a look at rookies drafted in rounds 4-7 that could potentially shake the 2023 NFL season.
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