FOOTBALL IS BACK, BABY! Well, NFL Preseason is back anyway. But football is football and we love it regardless. When you toss in the fact that several former Hawkeyes were making their unofficial NFL debuts this past week, football gets that much better.
A handful of Hawkeyes took the field and made significant contributions for their teams during over the last few days. Here is a quick rundown:
C.J. Beathard, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
Beathard got a lot of run in San Fran’s opener at Kansas City and he made the most of his snaps. He finished 7-of-11 for 101 yards, tossing two touchdowns in the process. He didn’t look like a rookie, flashing the same confidence and maturity he displayed during his time in Iowa City. He absolutely kept open the possibility of eventually assuming the starting role sometime in 2017.
Jaleel Johnson, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota Vikings
On a Viking defense loaded with talent, it’s tough to stand out. Be that as it may, Johnson logged himself a sack against the Buffalo Bills last week. He also had one tackle. It was only one preseason game, but Johnson didn't look out of place, and it’s tough to imagine him not getting significant time in Minnesota’s defensive line rotation this year.
LeShun Daniels, Running Back, New England Patriots
In perhaps the most surprising output by a Hawkeye alum last week, Daniels led the Patriots in both carries and yards against the Jaguars. He accounted for 11 of New England’s 29 total rushes, leading the team with 39 yards. The stat line was not exactly eye-popping, but the fact that he did get so much work tells me that he has, at the very least, a good shot at making the practice roster. The Patriots don’t have another back like him in terms of skill set or physical makeup, and there may be a time — perhaps late in the season — when thy’ll need a workhorse like Daniels to close out some games.
Desmond King, Defensive Back, Los Angeles Chargers
King had a busy night against the Seahawks, intercepting one pass, defending another, forcing a fumble and logging 2.5 tackles. He also returned a kickoff for 19 yards. Solid output from a guy we all already know is solid in every aspect of his game. There was nothing to deter the assumption that King will have a long NFL career.
Riley McCarron, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans
McCarron caught one pass from Deshaun Watson for 18 yards against the Panthers. It was the only time he was targeted, but hey, he caught it. He also fielded a punt and returned a kickoff for 15 yards. There’s a chance he could develop into a nice slot receiver if given the snaps, but it looks like he has the most value on special teams right now.
Jake Rudock, Quarterback, Detroit Lions
Rudock had a nice night against the Colts. He went 13-of-21 for 142 yards, tossing two touchdowns. He also scrambled twice, logging carries of 11 and 13 yards. He looked very much like a capable NFL backup, but rookie Brad Kaaya from Miami could push him for that role.
Henry Krieger-Coble, Tight End, Indianapolis Colts
HKC caught two passes for seven yards. Not eye-popping, but nice to see considering he caught a single pass with the Broncos in 2016.
Cole Croston, Offensive Tackle, New England Patriots
There are no stats, but it’s worth noting that Croston got some respectable run for the Patriots against the Jaguars. He’s a guy who overachieved to get where he is, and he has NFL pedigree. Historically, Bill Belichick has a soft spot for both traits, which obviously bodes well for Croston.