Time to switch back to NFL football! I have now watched pretty much every snap of the first three weeks of preseason and it’s time to point out the guys, who have impressed me the most.
I’m not here to tell you that legends like Tom Brady have looked sharp, but rather this list is about rookies and a few second and third-year players, who aren’t on a lot of people’s radars at this point and have looked like impact performers to this point.
Not all of these youngsters might see a significant amount of snaps this season because of the veterans ahead of them taking away opportunities, but they have looked like guys who could step in and make a difference for their teams. With that being said, these young men have caught my eye:
#1 Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions
I know he was the sixth running back selected and the Lions brought in veteran LeGarrette Blount to go with two guys on their roster, who each had over 700 yards from scrimmage, but I believe Kerryon Johnson could be in for a big year.
He kicked off the preseason with 34 yards on the ground on just seven carries and four catches for 33 yards at Oakland. However, it was a 47-yard run by him at the start of the second half that called back for a hold, where he showed the explosiveness, power and open field moves that have me thinking Johnson will end up being the Lions’ number one back.
Versus the Giants and Buccaneers, he saw limited action with nine touches for 44 yards, but I think this was more due to what Johnson had already shown the organization in training camp and that first game. He has made people miss in the backfield, displayed the acceleration from a dead-stop and was already used split out in empty sets as a pass-catcher.
LeGarrette Blount will definitely have a role as he always does, especially on the goal-line and in short-yardage situations, and Theo Riddick is one of the better receiving backs on third downs, but Ameer Abdullah had all the opportunities in the world to grab that lead-spot and he hasn’t done anything that would make me think he will touch the ball a lot.
I know this looks like a clouded backfield, but I think Kerryon will be their featured guy and I just grabbed him in my fantasy league. It might take a few weeks for him and the retooled O-line to gel, because of how patient Johnson is in that Le’Veon Bell-type mode and the way the big guys up front will try to stay on those double-teams longer in the zone game, but once they figure it out this Detroit offense should finally have a lethal rushing attack again.