Mason Thompson \ Aug 19th, 2019
Another week of preseason games has gone by which means we are one week closer to the regular season starting, as well as roster cuts. Here is another batch of players that have improved their chances of making an NFL roster come week one.
Curtis Bolton/Ty Summers, LB, Green Bay Packers
Summers was the linebacker opposite of Blake Martinez once Oren Burks went out of the game against Houston with a chest injury in week one. This week it was Bolton’s time to show why he should not only make the roster but make a case for starting if Burks were to miss time to open the regular season. Bolton had six tackles while also recording an interception against Baltimore this week and is currently practicing ahead of Summers who was drafted in the seventh round while Bolton went undrafted. Summers finished the night against Baltimore with five tackles. The two young linebackers could push for playing time even if Burks is back to start the regular season.
Ryan Griffin, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Griffin is currently in a competition with Blaine Gabbert for the backup quarterback spot to Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay. He has been a crowd favorite for some time for the Buccaneers. Griffin completed over 66 percent of his passes against the Dolphins for 201 yards and a touchdown. It will still be a challenge for him to win the backup job because Bruce Arians hand-picked Gabbert to come to Tampa Bay to compete for the backup job but Griffin has started to show why he should win the job.
Daeshon Hall, EDGE, Philadelphia Eagles
Hall is in his third year and best known as being the other edge defender besides Myles Garrett at Texas A&M. He was on the Panthers before he was cut last season. As of Thursday night’s games, Hall was the NFL’s highest-rated edge defender per Pro Football Focus coming in with a grade of 95.4 which is 30 points above the next best player. He is currently tied with Denver’s Malik Reed for the most pressures through the preseason so far. Through two games, Hall has eight total tackles, five quarterback hits, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He will have to beat out Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller for the final edge defender spot at an already loaded position on the Eagles.
Taylor Heinicke, QB, Carolina Panthers
In a fight for the backup quarterback position between him, rookie Will Grier, and Kyle Allen, Heinicke is right in the thick of the battle. He completed almost 67 percent of his passes for 78 yards and a touchdown against Buffalo. With Allen struggling against Buffalo and Grier still trying to get a grasp on the offense, Heinicke is making a strong case to become the backup to Cam Newton this year. The Panthers will have a difficult decision deciding between Allen and Heinicke unless they cut Grier, which would be a waste of a third-round pick.
Buddy Howell, RB, Houston Texans
Howell is trying to find a spot on the roster and made a case to make it after his performance against the Lions. He had 15 carries for 84 yards, 5.6 yards per carry, and a touchdown. With Lamar Miller and Duke Johnson, Jr. already in line for roles on the team, Howell is trying to beat out Damarea Crockett, Josh Ferguson, Karan Higdon, and Taiwan Jones for a spot on the roster.
Dare Ogunbowale, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The former Badger has made an impression on the Buccaneers coaching staff and has earned more snaps. Ogunbowale originally started in the league for the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent and has since signed with Tampa Bay. Against Miami, he rushed 13 times for 34 yards while also adding 3 catches for 54 yards. With Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones as the top two running backs, Ogunbowale has earned a role as a pass-catching back and has even earned some first-team reps in practice. He should make the roster and push for snaps as the third-down back once the season comes.
Artavis Scott, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
The former Clemson star has carved himself a role in the Chargers offense. He caught four passes for 64 yards against the Saints and has impressed the Chargers coaching staff yet again during the off-season. Scott should make the roster as the sixth receiver and will get plenty of opportunities to play on one of the league’s high-powered offenses.
Darrius Shepherd, WR, Green Bay Packers
Last week I detailed another Packers receiver in Allen Lazard, who is also trying to lock himself into a roster spot along with Shepherd. He has scored twice so far this preseason and is already making a role for himself on kickoff and punt returns. Shepherd could take Trevor Davis‘s spot-on kick returns if Davis proves to be unhealthy like he has been in recent years. He has pretty much locked himself in a roster spot and he and Lazard could push J’Mon Moore to be cut.
Cody Thompson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
The undrafted free agent out of Toledo has made a case for the Chiefs to slot him onto the 53 man roster. Thompson finished the game against the Steelers with 7 catches for 69 yards. He has an inside track to the team’s fourth receiver spot behind Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman. Thompson has to battle Byron Pringle, Gehrig Dieter, Rashard Davis, Marcus Kemp, and a handful of other undrafted rookies.
Antoine Wesley, WR, Baltimore Ravens
The undrafted rookie from Texas Tech is in a battle with a bunch of other receivers to make the Ravens roster. Wesley’s 6’4″ frame has it’s advantages especially in the red zone. With the Ravens lacking talent at the receiver position, Wesley could make it easily especially with his performance against the Packers on Thursday. He finished the game with two catches for 43 yards including an impressive 38 yard grab on the sideline. Wesley will have to battle with Michael Floyd, Jaylen Smith, Sean Modster, and Joe Horn for a final receiver spot.
Be on the lookout for next week’s batch of players on Monday.
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images