Without overreacting or setting expectations too high, who has been the most surprising player in each NFL team’s training camp?
Summer is coming to a close, which means the NFL season is getting closer. As school begins and the days creep towards the brisk fall, many players are fighting for their NFL livelihoods.
Others, well they’re just getting reps to work towards game fitness. Either way, jobs are being won and lost this summer. So, who has surprised the most? Who has made the most progress towards grabbing that elusive roster spot?
Tyron Johnson, WR
Led by Deshaun Watson, Houston won the AFC South division with an 11-5 record last season. Looking to repeat, the Texans need to keep Watson healthy and provide the star with more weapons.
At 6-feet 1, Tyron Johnson has made plays in both camp and preseason games. Undrafted out of Oklahoma State, he may become one of those weapons for Watson in 2019.
Johnson‘s junior year at Oklahoma State was respectable. He had 845 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. During the team’s first preseason game, he was one of the bright spots on offense with two receptions for 48 yards.
If Will Fuller sustains another injury that requires him to miss time, Johnson may come in and take his spot. So far, Johnson has shown effective use of his speed, as well as strong route running.
Rock Ya-Sin, CB
Andrew Luck returned last season. He was healthy, strong and poised to compete. Playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, Luck and his Colts competed all the way to a 10-6 record and a Divisional Round playoff appearance.
This season, the defensive secondary has been the main area of focus for the Colts. This was an area that did well enough in 2018, but also one that needs to be upgraded in 2019.
He played his senior year at Temple, collecting two interceptions and 47 total tackles in 12 games.
Kalif Raymound, WR
Mike Vrabel had an inconsistent first year as a head coach. The team went 9-7, but one game his team would look great, followed by a “who are these guys?” performance next.
Winning a lot of grind it out, defensive style games, the offense has to be better this season. It is as simple as that. Marcus Mariota has a lot to prove, and Derrick Henry and Corey Davis will look to build off last season.
Kalif Raymond, the star of training camp for the Titans, looks poised to crack a roster spot and become featured in the team’s offense in 2019.
Raymond has been around for a brief while now. Undrafted out of Holy Cross in 2016, he was inked with the Denver Broncos. In 2017, he bounced between both teams in the Big Apple.
Now, at age 25, he and his 5-foot, 8-inch frame have climbed the ranks during training camp.
Raymond has fought for a roster spot, and he showed out during the team’s first preseason game with 80 yards on six grabs.
Josh Allen, EDGE
Yes, Josh Allen doesn’t fit the same mold as some of the other players mentioned. Drafted seventh overall in the past draft, he was high up on many draft boards after a monstrous 2018 season at Kentucky.
Although, there is still something to be said about Allen. After falling a bit on draft night, he has been one of the best players in camp. Of course, it is still extremely early, but any second thoughts general managers had on him may have cost them a chance to have one of the more premier, young edge rushers in the league.
No, Allen didn’t have a dominant game stats wise in his first preseason action. He only had one tackle, but his head coach Doug Marrone noticed his work rate and was pleased with what he saw.
Allen is the biggest surprise because he looks like he may be as good as advertised. Sometimes, it takes a while for players to adjust to the NFL style. Allen may go through slumps, but once the training wheels are lifted off him, he could become one of the most dominant defensive players in the league rather quickly.