Rookies shine in New England Patriots week one defeat

Did the Patriots win the draft?
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

While the New England Patriots were handed the first loss of the season via the reigning NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, the young rookies for the Patriots impressed in their debut.

From first-round pick Christian Gonzalez to sixth-round rookie Demario "Pop" Douglas, most of the rookies for the Patriots had bright moments throughout the game.

Starting on the defensive side of the ball because that is where the first two selections of the 2023 Patriots draft class were, Gonzalez and former Georgia Tech defensive lineman Keion White were both impressive. White had four pressures on only thirteen pass-rush snaps, which in limited action disrupted the Eagles' offense.

With all that being said, the rookie from Oregon, Gonzalez, was the standout for the Patriots on the defensive side of the ball. He was able to hold his own versus the Eagles wide receiver duo of AJ Brown and Devonta Smith. In the home opener, Gonzalez had seven tackles, a sack, and a pass deflection on arguably the game's biggest play.

The linebacker out of Sacramento State Marte Mapu also performed well in limited action. Mapu was used in multiple different ways for the Patriots' defense. Leader of the defense and pro bowler Matthew Judon had high praise for the versatile rookie.

The offensive side of the ball was led by Demario Douglas. Douglas had four catches for 40 yards, including a nice 23-yard hookup with quarterback Mac Jones.

On the outside, alongside Douglas, was Kayshon Boutte. Boutee didn't record a catch in the game but put himself in a position to make a few catches, one with the game on the line where he just missed getting a second foot down in bounds.

Rookie guards Atonio Mafi and Sidy Sow started along the offensive line. Facing a difficult Eagles front that led the league in sacks last season, they held up better than expected. The offensive line was not a complete disaster, which many thought could have been a problem heading into the season.

Regarding special teams, Chad Ryland, who won the job versus Nick Folk this offseason, was two for two on his two extra-point attempts. Punter Bryce Baringer had five punts averaging 45 yards, including his longest being a 65-yard punt.