For many football fans and people surrounding the sport this is a great time, and as it should be, with the game comes passion friendships and just plain out fun. However for the men who are fighting for roster spots this time is very stressful as these weeks can make or break a mans career. For example just last year at this time a man by the name of Phillip Lindsay was a undrafted rookie free agent(udfa for short) coming out of college and many people had no clue who he was. After a solid outing in the preseason Lindsay made the team and once his number was called he more than shined as a rookie and was eventually selected to the probowl. For any football fan who questions the legitimacy or the reason for the preseason Lindays story is your answer, now lets take a look a few of the players who have shined bright this first half of the preseason, and maybe we will have found the next udfa to be a star.
Also just to preface no player who was a 3rd round pick or higher will be on this list simply because each and everyone of those rookies have some level of expectations, or they are known by the majority of fans at a casual level.
- Preston Williams WR, Miami Dolphins
The first thing I’m going to say about this kid is just “wow”, after his first game Williams hauled in a total of 4 passes for a whopping 97 yards. However the tale of preseason isn’t just stats the real purpose for the preseason in my opinion is the eye test. For example when watching a player like Deandre Hopkins it is visually evident how talented and better he is in comparison to his competition, since most players that are in a preseason game are either rookies or backups fighting for a spot you are watching for a player who is clearly appearing to be better than the rest and Preston Williams is just that.
- Mack Wilson LB, Cleveland Browns
Mack Wilson for many college fans it wasn’t a surprise to see Mack Wilson play so good however it was a surprise to all at what degree he played, Mack Wilson finished off his first career game with 2 Ints 3 tackles and a touchdown. Mack shockingly fell late in the draft, partly due to some sub-par combine testing but never the less the browns took advantage of this. Overall Mack played very well and limited his mistakes while also helping his team out with a pair of ints.
- Corey Ballentine CB, New York Giants
Corey Ballentine for many that didn’t know was a victim of a shooting a few months ago, so it was a shock for many to see him out on the field but what again was even more stunning was his ability to lock up opposing receivers and show the NFL his ability to make plays on the ball as he did end up corralling a huge acrobatic interception, so far Ballentine looks to be a great addition to what appears to be an abysmal secondary in the big apple.
- Jakobi Meyers WR, New England Patriots
Another receiver and another player that just appears to be a Belichick genius pick, in his first game as a pro Meyers hauled in 6 out of his 8 targets and proved to be a redzone threat as he put 2 touchdowns on the board. Meyers passed the eye test as he looked to be ages above his teammates and competitors in his debut, while he is apart of a very crowded reciever room he may have carved out a role for himself.
- Elijah Holyfield RB, Carolina Panthers
Now this is a very good example of a game where stats don’t tell the whole story, Holyfield put up a stat line of 8 carries for 26 yards and scored a touchdown however Holyfield ran with power and purpose in each and everyone of those carries. The main point about this game is proof about every concern everybody has had about the panthers offensive line, the team just struggled to block for the young back and he still managed to get back to the line and at some cases get positive yardage.