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Must-see NFL rookies within the preseason: 49ers’ Drake Jackson, Steelers’ George Pickens value a better look


The NFL preseason officially kicks off Thursday because the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars meet within the Hall of Fame game. The sport is reason to reflect on pre-draft biases and single out some rookies who I’m most excited to see in the course of the preseason.

The Trojan ranked No. 25 overall on my personal big board entering the 2022 NFL Draft. Jackson has the entire athletic traits that teams search for in an NFL edge rusher nevertheless it was my belief that he was not used properly in college. It didn’t hurt that he only turned 21 weeks before draft night. In an article from The Athletic, defensive position coach Kris Kocurek expressed the team’s plan to chop him loose across the corner quite than dropping him into coverage, which must be music to the ears of San Francisco fans. Reviews have been positive for the second-round selection early in camp, via The Athletic:

“He’s the entire package. We had a mix interview with Drake early on in the method. Bendy dude, he’s got some slipperiness to him. Change of direction, a knack for winning one-on-one in pass rush. A player that must be ascending.

Jackson couldn’t have landed in a greater position. Along with a wealth of talent along the 49ers’ defensive position, Kocurek utilizes a wide-9 alignment that may allow the rookie to make use of his athletic gifts to challenge opposing offensive tackles on the high side of his rush.

Wide receiver Danny Gray is one other rookie that intrigues. The offense’s inclination to challenge defenses laterally meshes well with Gray’s ability to churn yardage after the catch.

Athletic, but raw is the short-and-sweet version of the previous tight end’s scouting report. Jurgens plays the sport with a mean streak and now has a chance to learn from certainly one of the sport’s best in Jason Kelce. The changes made to Philadelphia’s offense in the course of the second half of the 2021 regular season suit Jurgens’ skill set well. Kelce is unlikely to get loads of repetitions in the course of the preseason, in order that opens the door for the rookie from Nebraska.

“Obviously, an enormous a part of my job or an enormous a part of what I would like to do is help these young guys out. And Cam being a middle, a man that I see loads of similarities in my game to, I’ll attempt to assist in any way I can to offer him tricks of the trade, things I’ve learned or whatever. I feel that we’ll proceed to make one another higher throughout camp. We will proceed to work, compete and take a look at and recover as much as we will,” Kelce said, via NBC Sports.  

The 111 receptions for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021 lost by the departure of Tyreek Hill can be hard to exchange. It’s unrealistic to expect Moore to match those numbers but he can eat into them significantly. Speed and route-running ability are the traits that stick out when discussing the Central Michigan wide receiver. Being in the appropriate place at the appropriate time should endear the rookie to quarterback Patrick Mahomes. With so many latest faces in that Kansas City receiver room, Moore can separate himself during training camp.

Hall has a novel frame that ought to allow him for use inside and out of doors depending upon the situation. Tampa Bay is loaded within the front seven so there can be no pressure for the rookie to contribute early. At the identical time, it is simple to examine Vita Vea eating up blockers down the road and allowing Hall to loop around and create pressure. Center Ryan Jensen is on record as saying Hall is “the actual deal.” 

Tampa Bay is well-equipped to handle Rob Gronkowski’s decision to retire. Cameron Brate returns and Kyle Rudolph was signed but former Washington tight end Cade Otton has been cleared to take part in his first training camp. His well-rounded skill set could allow him to see the sphere quickly. 

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The words “limited athleticism” never graced the pages of a Pickens scouting report. The national champion has a high ceiling and has been flashing that potential early in training camp. Will he give you the chance to bring the consistency obligatory to see the sphere? DK Metcalf is the right example of teams overthinking a talent and it feels as if Pickens could soon fall in step with that narrative. Few teams have thrived at picking wide receivers quite just like the AFC North franchise. 

Dionte Johnson, Chase Claypool and Pickens give Pittsburgh a talented trio at wide receiver. Wide receivers can only achieve this much, nevertheless, and loads of pressure falls on the quarterbacks to get them the ball. 

Defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal is one other who landed in spot. Leal is a tweener of sorts who could play on the sting or slide inside depending upon the situation. As luck would have it, the Steelers are a team that has shown the keen awareness to make use of defensive linemen in a way that maximizes their potential.

Houston added a number of very talented defensive backs in Derek Stingley Jr. and Pitre. Pitre flies across the football field making plays. The Baylor product was ranked No. 23 overall on my personal big board, so there’s faith in his abilities. The one concern is whether or not or not the Texans’ front seven goes to give you the chance to create enough pressure for the back end to capitalize on the ball within the air. His flexibility should allow him to play closer to the road of scrimmage more often.

Latest York’s entire draft class is anticipated. The tight end room, specifically, is entirely latest with C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin and Ruckert. The rookie from Ohio State was primarily used as a blocker in college due to team’s playmaking ability at wide receiver. He had a job to execute to ensure that Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and others to thrive. The life-long Jets fan must have more of a chance to indicate what he can do within the pass game. Ruckert had been coping with a foot injury that landed him on the non-football injury list but he was cleared Wednesday. The preseason is nearly as good of a time as any to begin stacking positive days.

Much like wide receivers in Pittsburgh, Green Bay has all the time done well securing offensive line contributors on Day 2 and three of the NFL Draft. That they had two strong candidates this yr with UCLA’s Sean Rhyan and Wake Forest’s Zach Tom, who was No. 79 overall on my final big board. Early in camp, the latter has been getting repetitions at right tackle with the primary team. It might be a byproduct of Elgton Jenkins being out but nonetheless it’s a feather within the rookie’s cap. He has the pliability to play multiple positions and now has a platform to indicate he deserves a spot within the starting lineup. 

Cleveland didn’t have a first- or second-round pick, so it’s imperative it finds value from Day 2 and three selections. Wright measured in at 6-foot-5, 271 kilos on the NFL mix. Line of defense coach Chris Kiffin — brother of Lane — comes from San Francisco, who has recent history in relation to developing defensive position talent. Wright has the good thing about learning from former No. 1 overall selections Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Executive vp of football operations and general manager Andrew Berry had the next to say after Wright was drafted within the third round:

“With Alex, he was really a favourite across the organization – scouts, coaches and our research and strategy group. We like him because he’s a player who profiles as what we call an enormous end or a strong-side end, but with Alex, he really has the flexibility to rush inside and outside. We love his frame. We love his ability to rush the passer. This can be a guy who once we brought him in for a 30 visit, everybody just spoke glowingly. He could be very driven, he could be very smart and a really humble individual, and we predict he’s a player who can really grow into the perfect big end for us and rush inside and outside. We’re excited to have him. He is an ideal scheme fit for our defense.”  

Defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey can also be facing a chance for early playing time in northeast Ohio. His energy has been infectious however the team is desirous to learn whether or not his sensational Reese’s Senior Bowl performance was kind of a flash within the pan. Cleveland must be spoon-feeding repetitions to the 2 young defensive linemen through training camp. 

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