NFL

NFL Rookies to watch this preseason

Preseason is finally here in the NFL and it’s time to see what the young players can do, if they’ll make the team, or if they’ll even make it to a top spot.

Football is finally back, baby! And even though it’s just preseason, this gives us a chance to watch the rookies duke it out for a spot, prove themselves worthy, or crash and burn.

Sometimes, we know exactly which rookies will get a top spot on the roster the second we hear their names in the draft. But the best part of preseason is watching the ones you don’t expect or aren’t sure about and seeing just what they can do when they’re playing against an opponent and not just at training camp.

Here are some of the most interesting rookies to watch this preseason

Dyami Brown, Wide Receiver, Washington Football Team

Brown played college football at North Carolina and was by drafted by Washington in the third round of the 2021 draft. He is currently not up for a top spot as a receiver with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel on the roster, but he is definitely accustomed to catching the kind of passes Ryan Fitzpatrick is likely to throw. In college, Brown averaged a depth target of 18.4 yards and caught a lot of tough passes. If he can do the same at a professional level, he could be a top contender.

Elijah Moore, Wide Receiver, NY Jets

Elijah Moore could easily make a case for the No.2 receiver for the Jets. At Ole Miss, he played from the slot but also proved his ability and reliability to catch passes. In his last season, he caught 73% of his contested-catch targets. He’s been hyped up in training camp. Let’s see if that translates on the field against the Giants in the Jets first preseason game.

Justin Fields, Quarterback, Chicago Bears

We know that Andy Dalton is going to start for the Bears in week 1 of the regular season. But Fields could potentially challenge him for the spot in the coming weeks after. In college, he had several seasons with a PFF grade above 90.0. At the college level, Fields is in fact one of the most accurate passers PFF has seen, surpassing Baker Mayfield, Mac Jones, and others. He could potentially be a threat for that starting position if he can play at a professional level.

Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Denver Broncos

Though Surtain was an unexpected pick in the first round, he is an incredible player. The Broncos were in need of a QB in the first round, but drafting Surtain from Alabama was not a bad pick either. In his last three seasons at Alabama, Surtain allowed just 51.6% of targets to be caught by the intended receiver, and in training camp, he is playing at pro-level.

Terrace Marshall, Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers

Terrace Marshall stands at 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds and has a ton of college experience in the slot. Though the Panthers already have Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore as the WR starters, Marshall, with his exceptional red-zone targets at LSU, could be a nice addition to the offense, when necessary.

Trey Lance, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers

Trey Lance played QB for North Dakota State and won the Walter Payton Award and Jerry Rice Award in 2019. Though he is a solid QB, the 49ers are quite content with Jimmy Garoppolo at the starting position. But if Lance does have a strong preseason, he could allow for head coach Kyle Shanahan to make some switches a lot sooner than expected.