5 NFL Preseason Standouts (So Far)
Following in the yearly tradition of over-analyzing every move in the preseason, let's single out some players that are looking good in the early going. Below are five players whose performances — so far — are pointing to good things in the near future.
Stephen Jackson RB – Atlanta Falcons (pictured above)
After a slow start in his first game, Jackson came back with a solid effort on Thursday night, rushing for 42 yards on eight carries while adding a 13 yard catch. While these numbers are not staggering, they are a good sign that Jackson is starting to get comfortable in his new surroundings. For this season, under these circumstances, the sky is the limit for how well Jackson can perform. Consider him a solid number two RB with tremendous upside.
Jordan Cameron TE – Cleveland Browns
Averaging 18 yards per reception this preseason on four catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns, Cameron is slowly making the Browns stand up and take notice. As evidenced by the two touchdown receptions Thursday against the Detroit Lions, Cameron is getting in sync with quarterback Brandon Weeden on a level that could spell success later on in the season. Can we say potential fantasy sleeper?
Matt Forte RB – Chicago Bears
If you are looking for the truth, just look in the pudding — or in the case of Matt Forte, it's all about the stats. In just eight carries of work on Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers, Forte amassed 74 yards and a touchdown.
This output is set to only improve under new head coach Marc Trestman, who is bringing an emphasis on offense that Chicago hasn't seen in quite a while. In this offense, there is going to be a concentrated effort to get Forte the ball in every way possible. This will translate into monster games which will translate to wins for both the Bears and owners who took a flier on Forte.
Michael Vick QB – Philadelphia Eagles
For all intents and purposes, it looks like Michael Vick will be the starting QB come week one for the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick took a solid week one effort and improved on it by going 9-for-10 for 105 yards in limited action Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers. That one incompletion was on a desperation fling on the last play of the first half that resulted in a meaningless interception.
On the other hand, Nick Foles threw an end-zone interception coming off of a good night that pretty much summed up his preseason experience so far…which is erratic. No, the job is Vick's to lose. Consider Vick a potential mid to late round steal.
Brandon Weeden QB – Cleveland Browns
What the friggin' heck does it take to be named the starting quarterback for a team that frankly doesn't have many options?
In the six possessions this preseason that Weeden has led, the Cleveland Browns have scored on five of them. To be more specific, Weeden has completed 18 of 25 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Granted, he was playing against the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions, respectively, but those are still solid numbers and a sign that maybe Weeden is better than his rookie campaign. Like Vick, Weeden could be a steal for anyone looking for QB value late.
James LeBeau is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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