Football season is here. Expect exciting NFL preseason rookies that will ignite the gridiron and bring more excitement and competition to the League. Here are some of the rookies that will pack the field with action from the National Football Conference.
National Football Conference
San Francisco 49ers: DE Drake Jackson
DE Drake Johnson entered the 2022 NFL Draft fresh from the University of Southern California. The former Trojan has all of the athletic traits and capability that teams sought after in an NFL edge rusher. Jackson just turned 21, weeks before draft night.
Coach Kris Kocurek expressed the team’s plan to make him work, cutting him loose around the corner, then dropping him into coverage, which should be welcoming to San Francisco fans. Reviews have been positive for the second-round selection early in camp.
The Athletic reiterates that he’s a perfect fit in the whole package for an edge rusher. His ability to slip through stout defenses, change direction, and skill to win on a one-on-one play-rush could elevate him to greatness in the near future.
Critics say that his talent did not shine out during college competitions. Despite this limitation, Jackson landed in a better position with the 49ers’ defensive line.
His skill set will be an addition to Defensive Line coordinator Kris Kocurek’s utilization of a wide-9 alignment. The play will allow Jackson to use his talent in facing opponents’ offensive tackles during his pass-rushes.
Wide Receiver Danny Gray is another rookie that intrigues among protagonists in the grid. The offense’s inclination to challenge defenses laterally meshes well with Gray’s ability to churn yardage after the catch.
Philadelphia Eagles: Center Cam Jurgens
The rookie from the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers will be one of the newcomers who will light the field with his athleticism. Talent scouts reported Center Cam Jurgens as athletic, but raw. Jurgens started seven of Nebraska’s eight games in the team’s COVID-19-shortened 2020 season.
In his 3rd year with the Cornhuskers, he started all 12 of the Cornhuskers games and was named to the third team All-Big Ten Conference by the league’s coaches.
He declared that he would forgo his redshirt senior season and enter the NFL and be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round (51st overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft. Jurgens also played on Nebraska’s track and field team in the shot put event for a couple of seasons. He also has his line of beef jerky called Beef Jurgy.
Jurgens will have the shot to play with Jason Kelce. Kelce is the highest-paid Center in the NFL after signing a one-year contract worth $14 million last March 11, 2022, with the Philadelphia
Eagles. The Trojan will learn from the best with his type of play. Philadelphia made adjustments to its offensive plays in the second half of last season. The adjustments will suit Jurgen’s skill set well. Kelce will be seldom deployed in the pre-season games; Conveniently, it will be the rookie’s opportunity to show his mettle.
Kelce is giving his all-out support to the rookie from Nebraska. He sees the similarities in their plays and will continue to work, play and improve for more efficiency with the team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DL Logan Hall
All systems go for the Tampa Bay Buccaneer‘s Defensive Linebacker rookie Logan Hall. He was a product of the University of Houston Cougars where he played all of his four college seasons on his team’s defensive line rotation.
Hall was named first-team All-American Athletic Conference as a senior after recording 13 tackles for loss and six sacks.
The rookie from the Lone Star State has a unique frame that allows him to be used inside and outside depending on what play is needed.
Tampa Bay is loaded in the front seven, so there will be no pressure for the rookie to contribute early. In the same vein, it is easy to envision Nose Tackle Vita Vea eating up blockers down the line and allowing Hall to loop around and create pressure. Center Ryan Jensen is on record as saying Hall is “the real deal.”
Tight End Rob Gronkowski is set to retire and the Buccaneers are in good hands when he leaves the team for good. Tight End Cameron Brate is back and fellow TE Kyle Rudolph was signed but former Washington TE Cade Otton is clear to participate in his first training camp. His well-rounded skill set could allow him to see the field quickly.
Green Bay Packers: Offensive Tackle Zach Tom
On Day 2 and Day 3 of the NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers successfully acquired offensive line additions that will contribute to their team, similar to what the Pittsburgh Steelers did with their wide receivers selections.
Green Bay chose OT Sean Rhyan from the University of California Los Angeles Bruins and OT Zach Tom from the University of Wake Forest Demon Deacons; Tom was no.79 overall. He was an honorable mention to All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) after starting all 13 of Wake Forest’s
games. The rookie from Wake Forest moved to left tackle and started nine games. He was named first-team All-ACC in 2021.
The former Demon Deacon has the flexibility to play multiple positions and can now show his capacity for a spot in the starting line of the preseason.
Tom has the experience and versatility that can help his team push for a spot in the playoffs. He appeared in 48 games and made 37 starts at the college level. Wake Forest recorded 3,197 total snaps and started all 36 games for the school over the 2019, 2020, and 2021 seasons.
The 13 starts came at the center (all 13 in 2019) and 23 at left tackle (nine in 2020, 14 in 2021). He also started one game at the center as a freshman in 2018.
Tom is an elite block-passer when he gave up only four sacks and 41 total pressures over almost 1,500 total pass-blocking snaps during his final three seasons at Wake Forest.
His Incredible athleticism allows him to be an elite athlete inside at guard or center. His Intelligence on and off the field will translate to smart plays and level-headedness under pressure.
Look for these versatile rookies on the field this coming preseason matches. They will light up the field as much as they’ll light up the fans from the stands.