The Jaguars take on the Saints in their first preseason matchup of 2018 tonight at TIAA Bank Field. The contest kicks off at 7pm.
Starters will play sparingly, if at all, in this one, but that doesn't mean there won't be intrigue. There are several big time position battles and plenty of new faces in Jacksonville.
Here's 3 positions to watch during the game tonight.
The Jaguars starter at nickel cornerback will be determined throughout the preseason. It figures that DJ Hayden, a high priced free agent signing at cornerback, will have the best shot at winning the job, but there will be competition. Tyler Patmon has had a fantastic training camp in each of the last two seasons and will get a crack at the job. So will undrafted rookie Tre Herndon. All three have been impressive in coverage throughout training camp. Whichever player shows the most consistency with tackling and blitzing will likely win the job.
Strong Side Linebacker:
While many expected the starting job to be hotly contested it's turned into a one man race. Rookie seventh round pick Leon Jacobs has taken control of the position, despite most people thinking it would be Blair Brown's job to lose. Jacobs has prototypical size for the SAM position and has taken on the role since arriving in Jacksonville. Even with Myles Jack and Telvin Smith on the field, Jacobs might be the freakiest athlete of the bunch. At 250 lbs. Jacobs runs a 4.48 forty and has a 35 inch vertical leap. Keep an eye on him tonight. Does he hold the point of attack?Can he make some splash plays?
The Jaguars WR position is the most intriguing for me heading into the season. They've got veterans Marqise Lee and Donte Moncrief, both of whom have shown the ability to be impact players in this league, but have struggled with consistency and injuries throughout their respective careers. But the most exciting players to watch are the young guns. Rookie DJ Chark, and first year players Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole are the future of the WR position in Jacksonville. But can they also be the present? All signs point to the answer being yes. Finally we have the competition for the final receiver spot. Jaydon Mickens, Rashad Greene and Shane Wynn are all competing to make the roster. Whichever player shows the most as a return man may have the inside shot at the job. Undrafted rookie Allen Lazard may not bring return skills to the competition, but he brings something to the room that no one else does -- monster size. At 6'4" and nearly 230 lbs. Lazard could be a legit red zone threat. Keep an eye on all these guys tonight! They're going to make some plays.
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