382601 32 nfl veterans who could lose their jobs to rookies in 2023

32 NFL veterans who could lose their jobs to rookies in 2023

The NFL offseason is underway, where all 32 teams are conducting voluntary Organized Team Activities. We’re still a few months away from the start of the season, but there’s plenty of competition set to unfold across the league during offseason workouts and into training camp.

With the influx of new rookies to NFL rosters, there are some veterans who should be looking over their shoulder when it comes to potentially losing their job, be it a starting job or reserve role.

Our NFL Wire editors identified one veteran from each NFL team who could lose their job to a rookie in 2023.

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Beachum re-signed this offseason on a two-year deal but the Cardinals drafted Paris Johnson sixth overall in the 2023 NFL draft. QB Kyler Murray wanted the team to draft Johnson. Beachum made comments about Murray in the offseason, saying the quarterback needed to grow up, drawing ire from some. Johnson has been getting early reps at left guard and right tackle. Johnson’s length is more suited for tackle and the Cardinals have a few other options at left guard.  – Jess Root, Cards Wire

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Despite having Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson on the roster, The Falcons surprised their fans by drafting Texas RB Bijan Robinson with the No. 8 overall pick. Atlanta’s backfield is a bit overcrowded as a result and the odd man out could be Patterson. The versatile 32-year-old should still have a role on offense, but don’t be surprised to see the Falcons phase him out of the rotation. Patterson remains one of the best kick returners in NFL history and he can still bring tremendous value to the team in other areas. Just don’t expect him to lead your fantasy team this year. – Matt Urben, Falcons Wire

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The Ravens’ roster on paper looks extremely solid, and combining that with the fact that they only had a six player draft class means that there aren’t any veterans truly in danger of losing their starting spots to rookies. However if one had to be picked, guard Ben Cleveland is currently penciled into the team’s starting left guard spot after Ben Powers departed in free agency. If he wins the job and struggles, Baltimore could turn to the two offensive linemen that they drafted in 2023 if all else fails. Andrew Vorhees likely won’t play this season due to injury, but Malaesala Aumavae–Laulu could be called upon despite plenty of room to grow. – Kevin Oestreicher, Raven’s Wire

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The Bills have a huge training camp battle coming on their offensive line. Veterans will also factor into the battles at both guard positions. During free agency, the Bills signed Connor McGovern and David Edwards, who both have starting experience. Speaking of, Ike Boettger previously started for Buffalo before an Achilles injury opened the door for Bates and Boettger is back. But this is about rookies. Draft status helps, and because he was a second-round pick, O’Cyrus Torrence will have a strong look at locking down one of the guard positions. Rodger Saffold started on the left side in 2022 and was not re-signed, however, Torrence played most of his college career on the right where Bates was last year. – Nick Wojton, Bills Wire

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According to both general manager Scott Fitterer and head coach Frank Reich, veteran quarterback Andy Dalton is currently ahead of rookie Bryce Young atop the depth chart. But, since we know that the No. 1 overall pick will most certainly overtake the starting role under center, we won’t aim for the low-hanging fruit. Instead, we’ll look to Young’s fellow draftee in wide receiver Jonathan Mingo. If this year’s 39th overall pick factors in early, that could cost some looks for Marshall Jr.—who has yet to establish himself as a consistent threat and has no ties to the new coaching staff. – Anthony Rizzuti, Panthers Wire

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Santos has been a pillar of consistency since joining the Bears in 2020, especially after their kicker woes that preceded him. But as Santos enters the final year of his contract, there’s plenty of speculation about his future in Chicago, especially after some struggles with missed extra points in 2022. The addition of undrafted rookie Andre Szmyt shouldn’t be taken lightly; he was brought in to push Santos for his starting job this summer. Szmyt has a cannon for a leg, and he has a high ceiling that could translate into a long-term career with the Bears. We’ll see if the rookie can unseat the established veteran this summer.Alyssa Barbieri, Bears Wire

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There are very, very slim pickings for the Bengals when it comes to this topic, to the point we almost said a rookie punter over a third-year punter (Brad Robbins, Drue Chrisman). But watch the safety room closely. After using a first-rounder on Dax Hill in 2022 and bringing over veteran Nick Scott from the Rams in free agency, the team shocked by drafting Alabama’s Jordan Battle in the third round. And by the way personnel talks about him, Battle’s experience in Nick Saban’s system and ability gives him a real shot to play quickly. There’s a chance he bests Scott for the Vonn Bell-esque role in the defensive backfield despite the presumption the former Rams speedster was a shoo-in as the new starter. – Chris Roling, Bengals Wire

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While the Browns signed three defensive tackles, only Dalvin Tomlinson is guaranteed a roster spot as the guaranteed money given to Maurice Hurst and Trysten Hill is extremely minimal. However, the Browns selected Baylor defensive tackle Siaki Ika with the 98th overall pick in the draft, who is a lock to make the roster. While Elliott still has believers in the building, including new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, the Browns have added a ton of competition to round out their defensive tackle room. And this could lead to Elliott losing his job. – Cory Kinnan, Browns Wire

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Golston is entering his third season, the make or break year for several members of the Cowboys’ Class of 2021. One of four third-round picks, Golston moved inside more often than not in 2022, 150 of 278 snaps. He took over the complimentary three-tech role behind classmate Osi Odighizuwa. But Golston has new competition in Dan Quinn’s vaunted rotation, rookie tackle Viliami “Junior” Fehoko. Vita Vea’s little cousin has been asked to pack on a few pounds to better equip for hand-to-hand trench combat on a regular basis. Fehoko’s end-to-tackle, pass-rush skillset surpasses Golston’s and he’s already in a more compact frame which could be beneficial on the interior.  – K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire

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Washington did not start on offense last year but he did handle return duties for the first 15 games of the season before being benched by interim coach Jerry Rosburg. After averaging 22.7 yards per kickoff return and 15.9 yards per punt return in college, his averages dropped to 8.5 YPR on punts and 18.9 YPR on kickoffs with the Broncos. Denver used a second-round pick to select Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims in April and he now appears poised to serve as the team’s new returner in 2023. Mims averaged 16 yards per punt return with the Sooners last fall. – Jon Heath, Broncos Wire


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Wright took over as Detroit’s primary tight end following the in-season trade of T.J. Hockenson. His run as the Lions’ starting tight end appears to have come to an abrupt end with the team drafting Iowa’s Sam LaPorta with the No. 34 overall pick. Wright has done well for himself as a former undrafted free agent who played his way into a starting role. However, he cannot match LaPorta’s speed, receiving ability or overall versatility. It’s back to being a solid reserve for Wright, who figures to be the Lions’ top blocking tight end now that LaPorta usurps him on the overall depth chart. – Jeff Risdon, Lions Wire

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This is actually a tough one. The Packers could have several rookies starting in 2023, but most (if not all) would be taking over for departing veterans. Think Luke Musgrave or Tucker Kraft at tight end for Robert Tonyan. Or Jayden Reed at slot receiver for Randall Cobb. Or Anders Carlson at kicker for Mason Crosby. Or even Anthony Johnson Jr. at safety for Adrian Amos. Lukas Van Ness could be an early starter, but only if Rashan Gary isn’t fully healthy to start the season. The Packers made 13 draft picks in 2023, but I’m not sure a veteran currently on the roster is going to lose a job to one of the 13 rookies. The best guess might be Johnson Jr. eventually starting next to Darnell Savage at safety, displacing Rudy Ford at a competitive position group. – Zach Kruse, Packers Wire

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The Texans didn’t just take a center in the 2023 draft; they took two. The most likely candidate to usurp Quessenberry, who started 16 games for Houston last season, would be second-rounder Juice Scruggs. The Texans traded back into Round 2 to take the Notre Dame product No. 62 overall, which means their intentions to upgrade the position are serious. Scruggs also knows that his key to seeing more playing time is to build a rapport with fellow rookie C.J. Stroud. – Mark Lane, Texans Wire


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The Colts signed McKenzie in free agency to be the replacement for Parris Campbell, who signed with the New York Giants this offseason. Then, they turned around and selected Josh Downs in the third round at No. 79 overall. Downs’ abilities as a quick separator with crafty route running and extremely reliable hands make him an early favorite to be the starting slot receiver for fellow rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson. McKenzie should still provide strong depth in the wide receiver room and even some help on special teams, but the expectation is that Downs should be the starting slot option in Week 1.  – Kevin Hickey, Colts Wire

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It’s hard to find a spot where a Jaguars rookie has much of a chance at a starting role. The only one that has an inside track is first-round pick Anton Harrison, who is expected to start at right tackle in 2023. While that doesn’t put him directly in line to replace the Jaguars’ long time left tackle, it likely pushes Walker Little over to the left side and that’s probably enough.

Robinson is set to be suspended for the beginning of the 2023 season and there’s $17.75 million in cap savings available if the Jaguars move on next offseason. All that means the addition of Harrison was probably Robinson’s pink slip out of Jacksonville. Whether it’s in 2023 or 2024, Little looks like the left tackle of the future for the Jaguars, and Robinson’s days with the team are numbered. It’s not quite the one-for-one replacement that most of the rookies on this list represent, but the addition of Harrison is nothing but bad news for Robinson.  – Adam Stites, Jaguars Wire


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Nnadi has been the primary run-stopping defensive tackle for the Chiefs since he was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. Over the course of the past few seasons, however, he’s been in a steady statistical decline. The 27-year-old played the fewest defensive snaps of his career last season, contributing modestly as a pass-rusher as well. With Keondre Coburn entering the fold as a sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft, Nnadi will have to perform at his best to keep his job or at the very least keep a spot in the defensive tackle rotation. – Charles Goldman, Chiefs Wire

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders used the No. 7 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on defensive end Tyree Wilson and you can bet that he’s going to be on the field early and often. And with Maxx Crosby never really coming off the field for the Raiders, that means Chandler Jones could be the odd-man out in the starting lineup.The good news is that the Raiders are expected to use a heavier rotation across the defensive line this season, so don’t expect to see Jones riding the bench. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if Wilson did supplant Jones in the starting lineup right away. Marcus Mosher, Raiders Wire

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The Chargers traded back into the first round in the 2020 NFL draft to select Murray. However, he has not lived up to his billing, as Murray has struggled to make much of an impact, and he was limited by an ankle injury in 2021. He is entering the final year of his rookie deal after Los Angeles chose not to exercise his fifth-year option. They took Daiyan Henley in the third round in this year’s draft. Henley is expected to be a core special teamer early on, but it would not be surprising to see him push Murray for the starting job to play alongside the newest addition, Eric Kendricks. – Gavino Borquez, Chargers Wire

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Skowronek is penciled in as the No. 3 receiver right now, but the arrival of Puka Nacua as a fifth-round rookie could change that. Skowronek is a low-ceiling player who doesn’t make many big plays, but he’s known for his blocking and doing the dirty work as a receiver. The Rams even made him a fullback at one point last season. Nacua brings much more upside to the offense as a pure receiver, and he’s elusive after the catch, unlike Skowronek. If Nacua impresses in training camp, he could conceivably jump Tutu Atwell and Skowronek as the No. 3 receiver behind Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson. – Cameron DaSilva, Rams Wire

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Miami entered the NFL draft having returned all four veteran running backs who were set to hit the market. Then, they used their third-round pick on Texas A&M product De’Von Achane. With the former Aggies’ blazing speed, pass-catching ability and special teams capabilities, the Dolphins will have to find a role for him in his rookie season. This could spell the end of Myles Gaskin’s tenure in South Florida. In 2022, his fourth year with the team, he rushed only 10 times for 26 yards, and his new contract allows for Miami to move on from him without incurring any dead cap penalty. The Dolphins should feel more than comfortable going into 2023 with Achane, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed. Mike Masala, Dolphins Wire


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With the departure of Adam Thielen to Carolina this offseason, it felt like Osborn was going to be handed the second wide receiver job. With the addition of first-round pick Jordan Addison, that is far from being the case. Osborn had half of his production in the last five games of the 2022 season and has turned himself into a really good wide receiver. One thing that will work against him is that he doesn’t have the same natural gifts that Addison has. His skillset is meant to be a number three wide receiver best suited as a power slot and Addison will likely overtake him during the 2023 season. – Tyler Forness, Vikings Wire

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You can file the Patriots’ decision to trade up in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft for Maryland kicker Chad Ryland under the what were they thinking category. There’s no use in crying of spilled milk with the regular season right around the corner. The team’s willingness to spend a mid-round draft pick on a kicker spells doom for 38-year-old Nick Folk. Anything less would be far more disappointing. Let’s hope Ryland has a powder keg for a leg to justify the Patriots’ draft gamble. – Jordy McElroy, Patriots Wire

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Granderson was tabbed as the in-house replacement for Marcus Davenport, but the Saints picked Isaiah Foskey at No. 40 overall and have spoken glowingly about his ability to help corral mobile quarterbacks and make an immediate impact. If he meets expectations and holds up in run defense while offering a real pass-rush presence off the edge, Granderson will have a really difficult time keeping the rookie off the field, even if he has an early edge by virtue of experience. – John Sigler, Saints Wire

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Technically, Hassenauer was never guaranteed a starting role for the Giants but had they not selected John Michael Schmitz in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft, he was their likely starter at center. With Schmitz now in the fold, it’s a near lock that he starts at center on Day 1 and Hassenauer is relegated to the backup role. He may even be beaten out for a roster spot by Ben Bredeson, who was also poised to get looks at center. No other Giants rookies are likely to start over a veteran (but some are likely to start over other young players/recent draftees). – Dan Benton, Giants Wire

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Connor McGovern tested the free agent market and found out his market wasn’t anywhere near what he thought it would be. So much so that he came back to the Jets on a very small deal, less than $2 million. Even Wes Schweitzer signed for more money, though he’s more of a guard. The Jets did also go out and draft Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann in the second round. Tippmann had his fair share of supporters in the draft media landscape. This will be a battle in camp, but Tippmann absolutely has a chance to beat out the incumbent and start Week 1. – Billy Riccette, Jets Wire

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The Eagles will have a battle for their punter position for the first time in over two years.  Arryn Siposs will compete with  Kansas State product and undrafted free agent Ty Zentner this summer and the rookie will have ample opportunity to steal the job.  Siposs placed 17 of his 55 punts inside the 20 this past season (30.9 percent) and 16 of 44 (36.4 percent) in 2021.  His net yardage is the problem, and he’s never been above 40 yards per punt.  At Kansas State, Zentner averaged 44.5 yads per punt on 59 punts last season, with 27 of those landing inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, a career-best.  22 of Zentner’s kicks traveled at least 50 yards. – Glenn Erby, Eagles Wire


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Dan Moore Jr. was thrust into the starting left tackle job as a rookie in 2021 and held his own as a fourth-round pick. But the Steelers rolled the dice and brought him back to start in 2022. Moore did not make any real progress and looked worse at times. He finished the season with 1,160 snaps. Moore had 10 accepted penalties which was 8th-worst in the NFL and allowed seven sacks with was 7th-worst in the league for left tackles. The Steelers traded up to draft former Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones who should supplant Moore sooner rather than later in the starting lineup. – Curt Popejoy, Steelers Wire

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Gipson had a miraculous journey to the 49ers’ starting free safety job last season. An injury to starting FS Jimmie Ward led the team to sign Gipson the week of their final preseason game. He played well enough in that one to stick around and grab the starting FS job out of camp. He kept performing and ultimately kept the starting spot even once Ward was healthy. Gipson re-signed with the 49ers this offseason on a one-year deal after leading the team in interceptions in 2022. He turns 33 this offseason though, and the 49ers traded up to No. 87 to pick Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown in this year’s draft. Brown brings a ton of athleticism and some versatility that Gipson doesn’t have at this point in his career. If Brown hits the ground running in the 49ers’ defense he could easily overtake Gipson and line up as the starting FS when the regular season kicks off. – Kyle Madson, Niners Wire

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Through no fault of his own, veteran corner Mike Jackson is likely to lose his starting spot on the left boundary of Seattle’s defense this year. Jackson played tight coverage in short areas last season and all around his performance was perfectly respectable. However, NFL teams tend not to sit their top-five overall draft picks, even at a position this challenging. Physical former Illinois DB Devon Witherspoon may take his lumps the way the vast majority of rookie cornerbacks do, but it’s hard to imagine he won’t be starting Week 1 over Jackson. – Tim Weaver, Seahawks Wire

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Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett is coming back from an Achilles injury he suffered in 2022. An Achilles injury is one of the worst injuries an NFL player can have if their position relies on their explosiveness, which every edge rusher needs — what’s more, Barrett is 30 years old heading into this season. The Bucs drafted two edge rushers in YaYa Diaby and Jose Ramirez in the 2023 NFL draft, and they also have strong depth at the position with guys like Anthony Nelson. If Barrett doesn’t heal properly from his Achilles injury this late in his career, he could quickly find himself out of a starting job in Tampa Bay. – River Wells, Bucs Wire

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Jones stands to be the first man off the bench at guard and tackle, but he’ll have competition for the both spots, with sixth-round pick Jaelyn Duncan being among the options at tackle. Granted, he has to prove he can hang and earn the trust of his coaches first, but Duncan is a great fit on paper thanks to his athleticism. Head coach Mike Vrabel tends to lean on his veterans, but it’s not inconceivable to think Duncan can surpass Jones on the depth chart at some point this season. – Mike Moraitis, Titans Wire

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Fuller has been Washington’s top cornerback since returning in 2020. However, with one year remaining on his contract, could the Commanders move on from Fuller and insert rookie Emmanuel Forbes into the starting lineup? After an up-and-down 2021, Fuller had a nice bounceback in 2022. The Commanders could use third-year cornerback Benjamin St-Juste off the bench and start Fuller alongside Forbes and fellow rookie Quan Martin in the slot, but the the team is also high on St-Juste. Having too many good cornerbacks is a nice problem to have. I wouldn’t expect Washington to move on from Fuller in 2023. He’s still too valuable and one of the team’s best leaders. The Commanders should enjoy the nice secondary depth, finding roles for each of their top four cornerbacks next season. But if there is one veteran to watch, it’s Fuller. – Bryan Manning, Commanders Wire

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