By: Barry Barnes, Founder
One hundred and forty-nine NFL Regional Combine standouts were on the sidelines the first week of the 2017 preseason. While many of these pioneers were settled into their roles for the upcoming season, others were not taking any chances. When the opportunities presented themselves, these RC gems were ready to show their mettle.
GREEN BAY PACKERS VS. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
With the knowledge the Packers are pursuing a legitimate return man, return specialist and wide receiver Trevor Davis was the most effective against the Eagles. With 12:07 remaining in the second quarter, Davis received a punt from the Packers’ 32–yard line towards the left side of the field. The second year receiver from California dipped to the inside to avoid tacklers and bounced to the outside to return the play for a 69-yard touchdown.
Packers’ Quarterback Joe Callahan continues to battle for the backup position against Brett Hundley. Callahan did not throw a touchdown in this contest, but he threw a total of 103 for the most yards.
Callahan was able to hook up with fellow RC pioneer rookie wide receiver Montay Crockett in the fourth quarter for 12 yards with 9:30 left in regulation. Converted running back to defensive back Raysean Pringle had a tackle.
The Eagles had a trio of RC defenders in linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill and defensive backs Mitchell White and Aaron Grymes.
Gruger-Hill tallied two tackles, White finished with three and Grymes was all over the turf with four, including a sack. Grymes came off a blitz and helped to force RC brother Callahan to the ground in the third quarter with 8:52 left on the clock.
Eagles quarterback Dane Evans completed three out of eight attempts for 22 yards.
BUFFALO BILLS VS. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
With the Bills hosting the Vikings, RC players made solid impressions.
Vikings’ defensive back Terrell Sinkfield was one of the squad’s top tacklers as he finished with four. The 26-year old veteran from northern Iowa, who attended the RC in 2013 and the Pro Player Combine in March, is making his second appearance in the NFL count.
For the Bills, defensive back B.T. Sanders racked two tackles and defensive back Marcus Sayles finished with one.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS. CLEVELAND BROWNS
The matchup between the Saints and Browns was action packed with RC performers.
Saints’ wide receiver Jake Lampman got into the mix. The Division-II standout from Ferris State hauled in two passes for 33 yards and returned a kickoff for 17 yards. Lampman avoided being tackled by fellow RC talent Browns’ safety Justin Currie late in the fourth. Currie was one of the Browns’ leading stoppers with three tackles and rookie linebacker B.J. Bello finished with a tackle.
— Alex Jenkins (@AlexJenkins15) August 11, 2017
While Saints’ veteran defensive back Chris Banjo tallied two tackles, rookie defensive end Alex Jenkins stole the show when he registered his first NFL sack. The British star hunted down Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer second-and-19 from the Browns’ 42 with 10:45 in the third quarter.
Browns wide receiver Richard Mullaney led his club in receiving yards with 70. On third-and-15 from the Browns’ 47-yard line with 13:57 in the fourth quarter, Mullaney ran a brilliant route and put a double move on Saints’ cornerback Erik Harris to catch a 52-yard pass down the right side of the field. Mullaney slid into the end zone, but his right knee hit the ground at the Saints’ 1-yard line.
LOS ANGELES RAMS VS. DALLAS COWBOYS
Against the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams’ linebacker Carlos Thompson terrorized the offense in the fourth quarter as he cleaned up with three tackles, including a sack and a force fumble.
In the fourth quarter with 9:53 remaining, Thompson came flying around the edge and strip sacked Cowboys’ quarterback Luke McCown for a six-yard loss. The Cowboys still recovered the loose ball. Teammate Cody Davis finished with three tackles.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
In the Jaguars contest against the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots, defense was the name of the game. Jaguars’ defensive tackle Stefan Charles and linebacker Josh McNary each finished with three tackles.
Patriots’ rookie defensive back Jason Thompson showcased his speed and aggressiveness in his debut and amassed three stops. Defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton made a strong showing with four tackles.
NEW YORK GIANTS VS. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Giants’ defensive back Valentino Blake was able to pick off a pass from his former team.
On first-and-10 from the Steelers’ 29 with 8:12 in the first quarter, Steelers’ rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs attempted to throw deep to the left side of the field to wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey. Dobbs’ hand was hit, the ball drifted in the air and Blake drove for the ball, completing an interception which he returned for 11 yards.
Steelers’ defensive back Jordan Dangerfield had three tackles, and wide receiver Marcus Tucker received a pass for 10 yards.
-Los Angeles Chargers’ rookie linebacker Nigel Harris was the beast for the NFL Regional Combine platform in week one of the NFL preseason. Harris led the Chargers in tackles with nine as he flew all over the field against the Seattle Seahawks.
-New York Jets’ linebacker Julian Howsare joined the sack party with Jordon Jenkins and Zach Thompson bringing down Tennessee Titans’ quarterback Alex Tanney during their opening drive in the second quarter. Howsare finished with three tackles.
-Houston Texans’ defensive back Denzel Rice finished with two tackles, along with Washington Redskins’ defensive back Dashaun Phillips, Atlanta Falcons’ defensive back Kemal Ishmael, Miami Dolphins’ defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye, and Arizona Cardinals’ rookie defensive back Ironhead Gallon.
-Defensive backs Otha Foster (Ravens), Quintin Dunbar (Redskins), Robert Golden (Steelers), Jeremy Boykins (Titans) and linebacker Danny Mason (Broncos) each posted a tackle.
-Cardinals’ running back Elijhaa Penny steam rolled over the Oakland Raiders for 54 yards off 14 carries.
-Los Angeles Rams’ rookie running back De’Mard Llorens had three carries for eight yards and a reception for nine yards against the Dallas Cowboys.
-Carolina Panthers’ tight end Scott Simonson and Vikings’ tight end Nicholas Truesdell were primarily on blocking detail.
-Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ full back Alan Cross came up big finishing second in yards with two receptions for 30 yards, while tight end Tevin Westbrook had a catch for nine yards.
-Rookie wide receiver Reggie Davis led the Atlanta Falcons in receiving yards with 43 off two receptions. Teammate Marvin Hall had two catches and four kickoff returns.
-Wide receivers Chris Harper (Jets) and Seth Roberts (Raiders) had two catches, while Cardinals’ tight end Ifeanyi Momah and Colts’ Brandon Williams capped week one with a catch.
Since week one was strong for the NFL Regional Combine platform, these pioneers must duplicate their accomplishments in week two – and they will.