6 Rookie Preseason Debuts To Keep An Eye On

Photo: © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Jones vs. the Jets (Thursday, Aug. 8, 7:00 pm EST)

The first-round selection that received the most criticism easily belonged to the Giants first of three opening night picks. Jones came with a lot of scrutiny after what many perceived as being a reach with the No. 6 overall selection. Although he received a lot of backlash during the pre-draft process, Jones has been everything the team had hoped for during the early days of camp.

Head coach Pat Shurmur still feels as if his rookie signal caller has a "ways to go" before being counted upon to be an NFL starter, but there's no rush to play him right away because the team is already content with Eli Manning being their Week 1 starter as Jones continues to learn the nuances of the position during that time period. 

Ed Oliver vs. the Colts (Thursday, Aug. 8, 7:00 pm EST)

The highly anticipated debut of the No. 9 overall selection in Ed Oliver will have many glued to their TVs. The sideline pre-draft fiasco during his time at Houston seems ages ago and had little to no effect on his draft status. Now having speed on all three levels of the defense, Oliver is another added piece to head coach Sean McDermott's fast flowing and attacking defense. Oliver has been one of the most impressive rookies in camp around the league he already looks like he belongs. With his blend of speed, athleticism, power, and explosion, there's lots of excitement surrounding him now that he'll be lined across from others that have a different color jersey on. 

Dwayne Haskins vs. the Browns (Thursday, Aug. 8, 7:30 pm EST)

Many were puzzled by the draft day slide that Haskins suffered a few months ago, but landing in a favorable spot with a creative play caller in head coach Jay Gruden could be a blessing in disguise for Haskins.

Listed as the third-string quarterback following the first official release of the teams depth chart has some anxious about the former Buckeyes star, but listed starter Colt McCoy has already been ruled out for the game following ankle surgery during the offseason. That leaves only Case Keenum ahead of him and the rookie quarterback is assured to receive a bulk of the reps against one of the deepest rosters in the league on paper. 

Texans Offensive Line vs. the Packers (Thursday, Aug. 8, 8 pm EST)

After surrendering a league leading 62 sacks a season ago, the Texans invested a first-round selection in Tytus Howard and a third-round pick in Max Scharping. Two players that the team felt as if could be instant impact type of contributors. Both can be labeled as raw in their own rights, but having a young and ascending quarterback in Deshaun Watson, the two will be expected to mature quickly while playing on the fly.

After signing Za'Darius and Preston Smith via free agency, while also investing a first-round pick on Rashan Gary, the Packers defense has the potential to boast one of the more impressive defensive fronts in the league. Howard and Scharping will be challenged early and often, but the team will have a better idea of just what they have in the two following their first preseason game. 

Kyler Murray vs. the Chargers (Thursday, Aug. 8, 10 pm EST)

All eyes will be on the top overall selection on Thursday night as the Cardinals host the Chargers. Not only will all eyes be on Murray, but also for the long awaited arrival of head coach Kliff Kingsbury's air raid offense. The Chargers are expected to rest most of their starters and few will play more than a few series.

Despite that, there will be plenty to take away from the first official game under the tutelage of Kingsbury. All reports out of the Desert have been glowing about Murray and how he's engineered the offense to this point. Seeing if the positivity and command from practices carry over into his first game action will be an area to monitor.

Devin White vs. Devin Bush (Friday, Aug. 9, 7:30 pm EST)

The Battle of the Devin's is what it can be labeled as. The two obviously will not be facing each other in a head-to-head battle, but they are two players that will be joined at the hip throughout their careers because each were labeled as the top two linebackers in the 2019 draft. Both expected to be at the center of their respective defensive units as rookies will get their first taste of NFL action on Friday night. 

Both are do it all type of threats that check all of the requisite boxes in order to succeed in today's league. With each already being labeled as advertised, seeing how fast that they can adjust to the speed of the game will be an area to monitor especially with the heavy amount of assignments that have already been thrust on them even though they're rookies.

Written By:

Jordan Reid

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Founder of ClimbingThePocket.com. Former QB and Coach at North Carolina Central Univ.