Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus every team’s young riser

NFL

Welcome to Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season. A couple of unexpected losses this past weekend — the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers all registering losses — shook up the top 10 in our weekly Power Rankings. And the separation between the top half and bottom half of the league is becoming more and more clear as weeks go on.

Below we’ve updated the rankings and our NFL Nation reporters are taking a look at one young riser on every team this season. How do we define “young riser”? Well, any player who is 24 years old or younger who hasn’t already established himself as a top player qualifies. These 32 players are on the rise through seven weeks this season.

Here are the updated rankings, starting with a new No. 1 team for the first time since the preseason.

Our power panel of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities evaluates how NFL teams stack up against each other, then ranks them from 1 to 32.

Previous rankings: Preseason | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

Jump to a team:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | LV | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

Week 7 ranking: 2

Young riser: CB Trent McDuffie

McDuffie, 23, is in his second NFL season and entered Week 7 as the NFL’s top-rated cornerback by Pro Football Focus. He has become a versatile player, lining up either in slot coverage or outside depending on the situation. McDuffie has no interceptions but has forced three fumbles and broken up four passes. McDuffie has also been an effective blitzer with four quarterback hits. — Adam Teicher

play

1:33

Rex Ryan in awe of the Chiefs’ D

Rex Ryan and Ryan Clark break down how the defense makes the Chiefs so special.


Week 7 ranking: 4

Young riser: DT Jalen Carter

Carter, 22, has made a strong case for Rookie Defensive Player of the Year to this point. He has generated 27 pressures to go with 3.5 sacks. His constant disruption up front has forced the opposition to give him extra attention. Carter has been double-teamed on 51.7% of his snaps and has the third-most pressures (8) when double-teamed, per NFL Next Gen stats. — Tim McManus


Week 7 ranking: 1

Young riser: CB Deommodore Lenoir

After a disappointing start to last season, the 24-year-old played like one of the best cover corners in the league last postseason and spent the offseason working on playing the deep ball better. Going into Monday night, that work has paid off. Among cornerbacks with at least 100 coverage snaps, Lenoir is tied for 14th in passer rating allowed (67.7) and eighth in EPA when targeted (-12.0), according to NFL Next Gen Stats. He also has two interceptions and hasn’t allowed a touchdown. All of that puts Lenoir in position to get a nice payday as soon as this offseason, when he’s first eligible for a contract extension. — Nick Wagoner


Week 7 ranking: 3

Young riser: RB De’Von Achane

While Achane’s current stint on injured reserve (knee) has somewhat derailed a possible Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, his stretch from Week 3 to Week 5 saw him rise from obscure third-round pick to the NFL’s second-leading rusher. The Dolphins decided against trading for a running back this offseason, and Achane, 22, has removed all doubt as to why. His 12.1 yards per carry led the league before he was sidelined, and his big-play capability gives Miami yet another explosive member of the league’s top offense. — Marcel Louis-Jacques


Week 7 ranking: 9

Young riser: S Geno Stone

Has there been any bigger riser in the league this year than 24-year-old Stone? He has gone from a seventh-round pick in 2020 who was waived twice in his rookie season to the NFL’s leader in interceptions. Stone is the biggest surprise on one of the league’s top defenses because he wasn’t even a projected starter. He stepped in for the injured Marcus Williams and has picked off four passes in seven games. “I think he’s a good example of someone that takes care of the details on a day-to-day basis, comes to work every day, does his best, doesn’t complain, doesn’t get all caught up in things [like], ‘Why is this not happening for me’ or ‘That’s not happening for me,'” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Then, when his opportunity comes, he’s prepared, and he makes the most of it.” — Jamison Hensley

play

1:21

McAfee: Lamar was at his peak vs. the Lions

Pat McAfee dissects Lamar Jackson’s stellar performance vs. the Lions.


Week 7 ranking: 10

Young riser: S Andre Cisco

The 23-year-old player looks like he’s becoming the playmaker he was at Syracuse, where he intercepted 13 passes in 24 games. Cisco has three interceptions this season (tying his 2022 season total) and a forced fumble to go along with four pass breakups and 34 tackles. He played mainly special teams as a rookie, then took over as a starter last season. He’s more comfortable now and is definitely a part of the Jaguars’ long-term plans. — Michael DiRocco


Week 7 ranking: 7

Young riser: CB DaRon Bland

Let’s not get it twisted: the Cowboys miss Trevon Diggs, but Bland, 24, has done an excellent job in replacing the Pro Bowl cornerback. After leading the Cowboys in interceptions with five as a rookie last season, he leads them with three this season, including two he has returned for touchdowns. He nearly had two more takeaways against the Los Angeles Chargers. Bland has the size, speed and gift for finding the ball that can’t be taught, a lot like Diggs. — Todd Archer


Week 7 ranking: 8

Young riser: CB Martin Emerson Jr.

Deservedly, Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward gets much of the attention in Cleveland’s vaunted secondary. Emerson, 23, has been just as good this season. The former third-round pick out of Mississippi State has been a key part of Cleveland’s resurgent defense. He has allowed the third-lowest completion percentage in the NFL as the nearest defender (min. 15 targets) in coverage among cornerbacks (36.0%). He’s a big reason Cleveland’s man coverage has been so stifling. With him and Ward, the Browns boast one of the top cornerback duos in the league. — Jake Trotter


Week 7 ranking: 5

Young riser: TE Sam LaPorta

The 22-year-old rookie has been a steady target for Lions quarterback Jared Goff so far this season. The second-round pick is the first tight end in NFL history to log at least three receptions and 35 receiving yards in each of the first seven games of his career. LaPorta said the learning curve for him and his rookie teammates was “much quicker” than for other rookies around the league because the Lions needed them to contribute immediately. “Which we liked,” LaPorta told ESPN. “We want to play at the highest level. We want to contribute to the success of this team. We didn’t want to feel like we were so-called rookies. We wanted to contribute in a positive way.” — Eric Woodyard


Week 7 ranking: 6

Young riser: LB Terrel Bernard

After missing the entire preseason and a good portion of training camp with a hamstring injury, Bernard, 24, has started at middle linebacker from the start of the season and has more than held his own — a good sign for the Bills’ defense of the future. The 2022 third-round pick leads the team in fumbles recovered (three) and tackles (68) with 33 more than any other player, and he is now being tested by Matt Milano‘s absence. He is also tied for the most interceptions on the team (two) with Milano and safety Micah Hyde. — Alaina Getzenberg


Week 7 ranking: 13

Young riser: CB Devon Witherspoon

The 22-year-old is an early-season candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. After missing much of the summer and the opener with a hamstring injury, the fifth overall pick has rapidly emerged as a playmaker while filling a dual role of left cornerback and nickelback. He has a 97-yard pick-six, two sacks and eight passes defensed over his first five games. In the Seahawks’ win over Arizona on Sunday, he had an interception and a sack both nullified by penalties that didn’t affect the play’s outcome, along with another big hit that epitomized his physicality. — Brady Henderson


Week 7 ranking: 15

Young riser: RB Jaylen Warren

An undrafted free agent in 2022, Warren turned heads at his first training camp a year ago with hard hitting and explosive runs to earn a roster spot. In his second season, Warren’s stalwart presence in pass protection as a fierce blocker has him playing almost as many touches as 2021 first-round running back Najee Harris — 62 to 85. He has only 156 rushing yards to Harris’ 300, but both are averaging 3.9 yards per carry and have a touchdown. Warren’s versatility also helped him carve out a role as a third-down pass-catching back with 22 receptions for 165 yards. — Brooke Pryor


Week 7 ranking: 12

Young riser: CB DJ Turner II

The Bengals’ 2023 second-round pick has been pressed into action because of injuries and has dazzled in his debut. He has allowed just four receptions on 16 targets as the nearest defender, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Turner boasts an 81.3% coverage success rate and a minus-15.9 expected points added when targeted. Cincinnati has looked for ways to use Turner, regardless if Chidobe Awuzie has been healthy or not. Turner and Cam Taylor-Britt are poised to be the team’s outside cornerbacks of the future. — Ben Baby


Week 7 ranking: 23

Young riser: CB Jeff Okudah

Picking someone like Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts, Drake London or Desmond Ridder (all under 25) would be too easy, and Matthew Bergeron is still growing into the left guard role. Okudah, though, has been dynamic since coming from Detroit to Atlanta via trade this spring. The former No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft has allowed a 31.3% completion rate with no touchdowns allowed when he was the man in coverage. He told ESPN recently this is the “most comfortable” he has been as a pro, and it shows. — Michael Rothstein


Week 7 ranking: 11

Young riser: S Christian Izien

Izien is an undrafted free agent rookie from Rutgers who grabbed the Buccaneers’ starting nickelback role this season and ran with it. He had two interceptions in his first two regular-season games and has 27 tackles on the season (the sixth most on the team). — Jenna Laine


Week 7 ranking: 16

Young riser: DE Jermaine Johnson

The Jets have a handful of gifted players under 25, including Sauce Gardner, Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson, but they all established themselves last season as rookies. Johnson, part of the same rookie class, was buried in a deep defensive-line rotation in 2022. But not anymore. After unseating starter Carl Lawson in the preseason, Johnson has played 64% of the defensive snaps, second only to Quinnen Williams among the linemen. He has two sacks, three passes defensed and holds up well against the run. He’s a three-down player whose arrow is pointed up. — Rich Cimini


Week 7 ranking: 17

Young riser: WR Nico Collins

Collins, 24, is having a breakout season in Year 3. He ranks 10th in the NFL in receiving yards (547) and is one of the biggest reasons rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud is having a standout rookie season. Collins has been a reliable go-to option for the Texans through the air so far. — DJ Bien-Aime


Week 7 ranking: 14

Young riser: OLB Tuli Tuipulotu

The Chargers second-round pick turned 21 last month and has been one of the team’s most consistent players. He has the fourth-most quarterback pressures (16) amongst rookies and had 10 in Week 3 — the second most a rookie has had in a game since 2016, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. “Is he ahead of schedule?” Coach Brandon Staley said. “I think he’s on schedule. I think he’s right on schedule. This guy, we had a strong feeling about this guy in the springtime.” — Kris Rhim

play

1:20

Is Brandon Staley’s seat hot? Schefter talks Chargers with McAfee

Adam Schefter joins Pat McAfee to break down Brandon Staley’s job status with the Chargers.


Week 7 ranking: 18

Young riser: WR Puka Nacua

Nacua is 22, but Rams head coach Sean McVay has called the receiver one of the most mature rookies he has been around. Nacua has put up WR1 numbers, and he’s done it even with Cooper Kupp back on the field. On Sunday, he had eight catches for 154 yards, giving him 752 on the season. He is the second player in NFL history with 700 or more receiving yards in his first seven career games, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Nacua was a fifth-round pick but has done nothing but impress in his first NFL season. — Sarah Barshop


Week 7 ranking: 19

Young riser: S Jordan Howden

The rookie safety started two of the three games that Marcus Maye was suspended for, missing one game to have finger surgery. He already has become part of the rotation in a deep backfield and has shown a lot of promise for the future. In a 34-0 shutout of the Patriots, he had two pass deflections in his second start even though his hand was still healing. — Katherine Terrell


Week 7 ranking: 25

Young riser: WR Jordan Addison

Addison, 21, leads all NFL rookies with six touchdown receptions. The No. 23 overall pick of the 2023 draft started the season as the Vikings’ No. 3 receiver but quickly earned quarterback Kirk Cousins‘ trust and has often been Cousins’ first read following the hamstring injury to star receiver Justin Jefferson. Addison has a smooth release from the line of scrimmage and naturally moves toward open areas of the field. “Jordan is the real deal,” Cousins said. “We hit on that draft pick. He’s a great player.” — Kevin Seifert


Week 7 ranking: 22

Young riser: WR Josh Downs

Third-round pick Downs, 22, has been consistently impressive this season, ranking third among rookie receivers in receptions (33) and receiving yards (401). He’s also showing his elusiveness as he now is fourth among rookies in yards after the catch (184). Notably, more than half of Downs’ production — 209 yards on 10 receptions — has come on third downs, where he is showing himself to be particularly dependable. Only four receivers in the NFL — not just rookies — have more yardage on third downs. — Stephen Holder


Week 7 ranking: 21

Young riser: LB Jamin Davis

Quarterback Sam Howell could be this person by season’s end (and many would have predicted receiver Jahan Dotson at season’s start), but Davis has been the under-25 player who has been the most consistent. He has one interception and one forced fumble and more than half of his tackles have been for gains of 3 yards or less. Davis, 24, is playing more decisive vs. the run and is one sack shy of his career high (3.0). — John Keim

play

1:46

Stephen A.: Change is coming to the Washington Commanders

Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe expect Magic Johnson and the Commanders ownership to make changes soon.


Week 7 ranking: 20

Young riser: WR Dontayvion Wicks

Young players are about all the Packers have. In fact, they have 25 players aged 24 or younger. Jordan Love is under 25. So are all but one of his receivers and one of his tight ends. Wicks is the youngest of them at all at age 22 (he won’t turn 23 until next June). The fifth-round pick is behind Romeo Doubs (23), Christian Watson (24) and Jayden Reed (23) on the depth chart, but Sunday against the Broncos he caught a pass for 17 yards and then threw a pass for 14 on a trick play. He’s averaging 14.0 yards per catch on eight receptions this season. — Rob Demovsky


Week 7 ranking: 24

Young riser: WR Tre Tucker

The rookie third-round draft pick has not only eaten away at former Pro Bowler Hunter Renfrow‘s snaps from the slot, his speed has also made him a downfield target via the deep ball. His 48-yard pickup against the Patriots in Week 6 is the Raiders’ longest offensive play of the season. And a deep shot from Brian Hoyer at Chicago resulted in a 46-yard pickup thanks to a pass interference penalty. — Paul Gutierrez


Week 7 ranking: 28

Young riser: CB Deonte Banks

The No. 24 overall pick has lived up to the hype so far. He has allowed only 50% of the passes with him as the nearest defender to be completed, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Banks has allowed just a 67.8 passer rating against and has shown good ball skills (five passes defended and an interception). This has come with being, at times, the Giants’ No. 1 cornerback. The future looks bright for the rookie. — Jordan Raanan


Week 7 ranking: 30

Young riser: WR Demario “Pop” Douglas

The sixth-round pick out of Liberty played a season-high 37 snaps in Sunday’s win over the Bills, after averaging 16.2 in the prior games in which he was healthy. His quickness and reliable hands showed up with four catches for 54 yards, one punt return for 25 yards, and one rush for 20 yards. He also drew three defensive penalties. — Mike Reiss

play

1:59

Why Stephen A. believes Mac Jones has been unfairly criticized

Stephen A. Smith explains why Mac Jones is taking too much heat for the Patriots’ woes.


Week 7 ranking: 26

Young riser: RB Tyjae Spears

Spears is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and is the future feature back for the Titans’ offense. His electrifying playmaking ability and versatility have inspired the Titans staff to find ways to get him more touches on offense, even if that’s at the expense of carries for Derrick Henry. He has played 168 offensive snaps to Henry’s 188 snaps, with most of them coming on the field together. The rookie running back is also a threat in the passing game, whether it’s catching the ball out of the backfield or lining up at wide receiver. Titans coach Mike Vrabel also trusts Spears in pass protection on third downs. — Turron Davenport


Week 7 ranking: 31

Young riser: OLB Nik Bonitto

The 24-year-old was selected 64th overall in the 2022 draft. Bonitto’s rookie year was a struggle at times; he was often pushed off his spot in run defense and didn’t see his efforts bear statistical fruit in the pass rush. But his quickness off the ball is rare — teammate Zach Allen says Bonitto reminds him of Haason Reddick as a pass-rusher — and Bonitto has flashed top-tier explosiveness at times. He leads the Broncos in sacks with 5.5 and is second in quarterback hits. He still gets powered off the edge in run defense at times but is much improved and projects as a double-digit-sack player in the Broncos’ defense if he continues to grind at the job. — Jeff Legwold


Week 7 ranking: 29

Young riser: QB Tyson Bagent

Bagent signed with the Bears as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and beat out other veteran quarterbacks for a spot on the active roster. He then earned his role as QB2 by Week 4. In a year’s time, the 23-year-old quarterback went from Division II standout to winning his first NFL start in a 30-12 victory over the Raiders. He was efficient (21-of-29, 162 yards, TD) in his operation of Chicago’s offense and did not turn the ball over, giving the Bears a solid option at backup quarterback while Justin Fields is sidelined with a dislocated thumb.— Courtney Cronin


Week 7 ranking: 27

Young riser: WR Michael Wilson

The 2023 third-round pick is an older rookie at 23, and that maturity is showing. Wilson has made an immediate impact with the Cardinals with 21 catches for 343 yards and two touchdowns, but he has also ingratiated himself to his veteran teammates with his hard work and approach. — Josh Weinfuss


Week 7 ranking: 32

Young riser: QB Bryce Young

This might be part of Carolina’s problem. There aren’t any other young players who have made a major impact outside of Young, and the top pick of this year’s draft has struggled with consistency along with the rest of the team. Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo would be the second pick here, but he has only 15 catches for 133 yards and no touchdowns. Young, 22, kind of wins this category by default. — David Newton

Articles You May Like

Eugene Hilton, son of ex-Pro Bowler, picks Badgers
Wimbledon prize money grows to record $64M
“You Didn’t Deserve To Go Ahead”: Ex-India Star’s Harsh Criticism Of Pakistan After Elimination
‘Fired up’ Verdugo crushes HR in return to Fenway
Why a make-or-break season for the Maple Leafs begins now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *