Now that each NFL team has at least one preseason game under their belts, we can start to see trends form. Whether it was a surprising start or something we can expect to see more of moving forward, here’s one player we’re watching closely from each team in Week 2 of the preseason.
Note: Betting spreads via BetMGM.com as of Aug. 17
CHICAGO BEARS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-3.5)
BEARS PLAYER TO WATCH: OL TEVEN JENKINS
The former second-round pick was drafted to be an offensive tackle for the Bears, but as of late, they’ve been kicking him to guard during practices. Early in the week, he was even running with the first team at right guard. During the pre-draft process, some called for Jenkins to be moved to guard full-time. Perhaps we’ll witness another step in that direction this weekend.
SEAHAWKS PLAYER TO WATCH: OT ABRAHAM LUCAS
The Seahawks made a big splash in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft by taking Charles Cross at No. 9 overall. It was to be expected that Cross would get a crack at a starting spot this season, but now it looks like their third-round pick, Abe Lucas, could be earning a starting spot, too. He showed a lot of promise at right tackle against the Steelers in Week 1 of the preseason, earning an 81.4 overall grade.
CAROLINA PANTHERS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-2.5)
PANTHERS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB JAYCEE HORN
Horn missed most of last season due to a foot injury that required surgery. Now he’s back and fully healthy. Reports out of Panthers camp indicate the former top-10 pick from 2021 is right back to his lockdown ways.
PATRIOTS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB JACK JONES
With Malcolm Butler and Joejuan Williams on injured reserve, the Patriots have plenty of preseason snaps to go around at cornerback. Jones, New England's fourth-round pick from this year, earned a 72.7 coverage grade last week. He was in on 39 coverage snaps and yielded just one catch for six yards.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3)
SAINTS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR CHRIS OLAVE
Olave’s early development will be paramount to the Saints’ success this season. Michael Thomas is reportedly good to go for Week 1, but they’ll need a reliable and explosive threat beyond him, especially with a quarterback like Jameis Winston. Olave has to be that guy.
PACKERS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR ROMEO DOUBS
It’s no secret the Packers need receivers (collectively) to step up to replace the hole left by Davante Adams’ departure. So far, Doubs has been the darling of Packers camp. But he’ll need to keep it rolling to convert that into regular-season success.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-2) AT LOS ANGELES RAMS
TEXANS PLAYER TO WATCH: EDGE OGBONNIA OKORONKWO
Okoronkwo joined Houston after playing for the Los Angeles Rams for four seasons. In his first game last week wearing a Texans uniform, he recorded a sack, four pressures and a team-high 80.2 pass-rush grade.
RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: HB KYREN WILLIAMS
The rookie fifth-round pick Williams suffered a foot injury that kept him from early offseason workouts, but he should be good to go for this weekend's preseason game, and it will be an important one. With Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson out, Williams and second-year running back Jake Funk will see most of the work in a battle for that RB3 spot.
DENVER BRONCOS AT BUFFALO BILLS (-4.5)
BRONCOS PLAYER TO WATCH: EDGE BARON BROWNING
Browning was a bit of a tweener player coming out of Ohio State — was he an off-ball linebacker or an edge rusher? In last week’s preseason opener, Browning played 29 snaps and earned an elite 92.7 pass-rush grade as an edge rusher. That athleticism is standing out.
BILLS PLAYER TO WATCH: EDGE BOOGIE BASHAM
On 17 defensive snaps, Basham recorded an elite 91.8 pass-rush grade for the Bills, which included one sack. With plenty of bodies on the Bills' defensive line, Basham is making his claim for regular-season snaps.
DETROIT LIONS (-1.5) AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
LIONS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB JEFF OKUDAH
Lions head coach Dan Campbell was “encouraged” by what he saw from Jeff Okudah during the team’s first preseason game. Okudah getting back to form will mean a lot — not just for the secondary, but for the entire Lions defense.
COLTS PLAYER TO WATCH: EDGE BEN BANOGU
Banogu recorded a sack and three tackles in the Colts’ preseason opener. The athletic edge player coming to form would mean another good speed rusher in Indianapolis' defensive line rotation, and potentially someone who could split time with Yannick Ngakoue.
COMMANDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB ANTONIO GIBSON
Reports from Commanders camp regarding Gibson have been all over the place. One minute he’s running with the first team offense (as expected), the next he’s on special teams and getting backup work. Where he plays in their next preseason game could be telling about his regular-season workload.
CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR SKYY MOORE
Like many rookie receivers from the 2022 class, Moore has the chance to really be an impact player in his first season. He has been filling our timelines with highlights from Chiefs camp, and continuing that trend could mean a starting role once the games start to matter.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT TENNESSEE TITANS (-3)
BUCCANEERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB RACHAAD WHITE
White rushed for 32 yards on seven carries, caught two of his three targets for 13 yards and added 43 yards on kickoffs in Week 1 of the preseason. The Bucs' RB2 spot is still up for grabs in a crowded room. Tampa Bay’s third-round pick from this year could put himself at the top of that race with a good showing Saturday.
TITANS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB KRISTIAN FULTON
Fulton is slated to be one of the Titans' starting outside cornerbacks this season. He played over 700 snaps and earned a 67.8 coverage grade last season. That’s not bad for a first-time full-time starter, but Tennessee needs him to take that next step this year.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (-1.5) AT MIAMI DOLPHINS
RAIDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: C DYLAN PARHAM
There was some good hype around Parham headed to Las Vegas after they selected him in the third round. He played a variety of positions along the offensive line at Memphis. Through 73 snaps so far this preseason, Parham has the second-highest overall grade for a Raiders offensive lineman (69.7).
DOLPHINS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB NOAH IGBINOGHENE
The Dolphins took Igbinoghene at the back end of the first round in 2020. He’s firmly been behind Xavien Howard and Byron Jones on the depth chart and has earned 38.8 and 53.8 coverage grades over the past two seasons. And he put up a 51.7 coverage grade in Week 1 of the preseason. It’s getting to be “put up or shut up” time for the former first-round pick.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-4.5)
NINERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB JAMYCAL HASTY
Hasty saw five carries and recorded 36 rushing yards against the Packers in the Niners’ preseason opener. Hasty is a fringe roster guy in a crowded running back room, but he did finish that first preseason game with a 71.9 overall grade.
VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: S LEWIS CINE
Cine was the Vikings’ first-round selection this season, and he has a chance to be a big difference-maker for them in Year 1. In their opening game, Cine played 32 defensive snaps, which was second-most on the team. More snaps will show how ready he is for early contribution in the regular season.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-3.5)
STEELERS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR GEORGE PICKENS
Pickens has been the star of the training camp circuit so far. In his first preseason game, he nabbed three catches for 43 yards. His final receiving grade came out to 90.4, one of the best numbers in the league that week.
JAGUARS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB TRAVIS ETIENNE
In his first preseason action of the season last week, Etienne lined up in the backfield for all 21 of his snaps. The previous coaching staff wanted to get Etienne work as a receiver at times, but it doesn’t seem like the new regime has that same urge. Etienne remains a player to watch, and a player the Jaguars need to bring speed to that offense.
DALLAS COWBOYS AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-3)
COWBOYS PLAYER TO WATCH: OT TYLER SMITH
Smith was seen as a high-ceiling player in the 2022 NFL Draft, but the thought process was that it would take some time for that to develop. One preseason game in, and he may be closer than we thought. From 33 offensive snaps, Smith earned an 82.6 overall grade.
CHARGERS PLAYER TO WATCH: IOL ZION JOHNSON
Johnson graded out to 37.6 for his Chargers debut, but there were plenty of flashes of good from the 2022 first-round pick. The good news is he was only responsible for one pressure across his 16 snaps at right guard.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-2.5) AT CLEVELAND BROWNS
EAGLES PLAYER TO WATCH: C CAM JURGENS
Jurgens made headlines in the wrong way by being the guy who had to block Jordan Davis in a one-on-one training camp clip. But when it came to the game, Jurgens played well, earning an 82.1 overall grade on 35 offensive snaps. Don’t fully judge a player on one highlight rep in practice.
BROWNS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB MARTIN EMERSON
The Browns’ third-round pick from this past draft was impressive in his debut, earning a 93.3 coverage grade across 17 coverage snaps. He also had a very impressive interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
CINCINNATI BENGALS AT NEW YORK GIANTS (-5.5)
BENGALS PLAYER TO WATCH: S DAXTON HILL
Hill played 40 snaps for the Bengals in their first preseason game and came out of it with a 67.9 coverage grade. As for his position split, the versatile defensive back played 22 snaps at free safety, eight as a strong safety, seven at slot corner and three at outside corner.
GIANTS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB TYROD TAYLOR
Daniel Jones is still QB1 for the Giants for now, but Taylor taking that title from him at some point in the future isn’t out of the question. Taylor has been getting some reps with the first team throughout camp, which has been part of the plan. However, if he impresses enough with those reps in practice and in the games, may the best quarterback win.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-5.5) AT ARIZONA CARDINALS
RAVENS PLAYER TO WATCH: IOL BEN CLEVELAND
Cleveland earned an 80.9 overall grade from 51 snaps in the Ravens’ preseason debut last week. It's worth noting that 27 of those snaps came at left guard and 24 came at right guard. Versatility is a key part of Cleveland being in the fold right now.
CARDINALS PLAYER TO WATCH: IOL WILL HERNANDEZ
Newcomer Will Hernandez, who played for the Giants for four seasons, earned an elite 92.2 overall grade in the Cardinals’ preseason opener. He’s making a statement for that starting right guard spot.
ATLANTA FALCONS (-2) AT NEW YORK JETS
FALCONS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB DESMOND RIDDER
Ridder earned a 63.9 overall grade through his 41 snaps last week. Though his completion percentage was less than 50%, he did toss two touchdowns without a turnover. That's a good building block for the rookie moving into the Falcons' second preseason second game.
JETS PLAYER TO WATCH: OT GEORGE FANT
After signing Duane Brown to play left tackle, the Jets switched veteran George Fant back to right tackle. Fant started at left tackle for the Jets for most of last season and had the third-best pressure rate allowed of any starting left tackle. He has spent plenty of time at right tackle, but there has been some time off there.