There is no better time of year than the first Sunday of football. We’ve waited nearly half the year for football to be back; and with it and the NFL season finally here, we take a look at past Ducks playing at the pinnacle of their sport.
Gearing up for week one of the NFL season, here are the Ducks that flashed their feathers the most during the preseason in hopes of securing a spot on an NFL roster.
Top Offensive Performers
- Tony Brooks-James
The undrafted Tony Brooks-James did all he could to secure a roster spot in Atlanta’s week 4 preseason win over the Jaguars. TBJ ran rampant though Jacksonville’s defense covering 137 yards on 15 carries for 9.1 YPC. Brooks-James scored two touchdowns in his sensational week 4 performance, breaking one 52-yards to the house.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like TBJ made the final 53-man roster, but there is still a chance for him to sign with Atlanta’s practice squad in 2019. Brooks-James ran for 180 yards on 25 attempts in five preseason games, averaging 7.2 YPC.
- Evan Baylis
Evan Baylis, No relation to Skip, played his way onto Green Bay’s practice squad with his training camp and preseason performance. In four preseason games with the Packers, Baylis started in all, but one. Catching three of five targets for 23 yards and a touchdown that came in Green Bay’s 27-20 week 4 win over the Chiefs. This is Baylis’ second stint with a team following a preseason tryout with the Carolina Panthers in 2018.
- Johnny Mundt
While his other co-top offensive performers were unable to lockdown a roster spot, Johnny Mundt did exactly that. Mundt put together a solid 2019 preseason campaign starting in all four games, bringing in 7 of his 12 targets for 65 yards. Though you'd like to see some improvement in his receptions per target, Mundt was able to make the Rams’ final 53 as the third-string tight end. Mundt was primarily used on special teams and as a blocking tight end in the run game last season.
Top Defensive Performers
- Jalen Jelks
While having a rather impressive preseason, the Cowboys are stacked across their defensive line and Jalen Jelks was cut to get down to the final 53. In four preseason games Jelks racked-up five solo tackles and 1.0 sacks. The Cowboys still have the option to add Jelks to their practice squad, but more likely than not, if Dallas doesn’t sign him another team will.
They may not be HotBoyz yet, but rookies Joe Jackson, Jalen Jelks, and under-the-radar Ricky Walker were en fuego Saturday night. Can you split a sack three ways? pic.twitter.com/PamsqTgjl1— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 11, 2019
- Terrance Mitchell
He might not have played a lot of snaps throughout the preseason; as most starters don’t, but Terrance Mitchell made each one count. Starting in three games, Mitchell made five solo tackles while recording a pass deflection and forcing Washington’s Darvin kidsy Jr. to fumble in week 1. Mitchell’s spot on the Browns’ 53-man roster was never really in question, but the strong preseason performance has to have Browns fans excited to start the season.
Our !— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 9, 2019
Terrance Mitchell forces it out and Jermaine Whitehead jumps on it pic.twitter.com/fRmem6xHKS
- Justin Hollins
Justin Hollins was about as impressive as it gets for a fifth-round pick in the preseason. Thanks to another terrible decision by the NFL to add another pointless game to the schedule, Hollins totaled 16 tackles, 1.0 sacks and two pass deflections in five preseason games. The fifth being the annual Hall of Fame game. Hollins is slotted in as the Broncos second-string sam (strong-side) linebacker after a solid preseason performance.
- Ugochukwu Amadi
Selected in the 4th-round with the 132nd pick, safety Ugochukwu Amadi was brought on to be a disruptive member of the Seahawks secondary and special teams unit. As a returner Amadi returned four kick returns for a net total of 80 yards and a long of 34. Amadi also handled punt returns; returning five punts for an average of 3.8 YPR. While the fourth-rounder saw a fair amount of work on special teams, he also made his impact on defense totaling 10 tackles and a pass deflection in four games played. Amadi is currently listed as the Seahawks third-string strong safety, according to ESPN.com.
Ugo has been a tackling machine during the preseason, here’s a small peak into the human hit-stick.
- Byron Marshall
He might not have made the final 53 for Washington, but Byron Marshall finishes as an honorable mention after averaging 4.2 YPC in the preseason. Marshall managed 75 yards on the ground with 18 touches adding three receptions for only 14 yards; averaging just 4.7 YPR. While you definitely want to see a much higher YPR, Marshall ran the ball fairly well. It just wasn’t enough for Washington to keep him on as on the roster.