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NFL Preseason Schedule 2012: Wide Receivers to Watch in Second Set of Games

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13:  Rod Streater #80 of the Oakland Raiders catches a pass during pre-game warm ups before they play the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL pre-season football game at O.co Coliseum on August 13, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIAugust 15, 2012

The preseason games may not count, but they really do mean something in terms of teams figuring out what players will play increased roles on both the offensive and defensive ends.

Wide receivers are a special brand of player. Some go about their business and haul in passes without ever making a peep of discontent, while others fall victim to the disruptive diva attitude.

Once preseason games get passed the first quarter—or even the first few drives sometimes—they become increasingly hard to watch because of the significant drop in talent.

Fortunately, I'll save you from wasting your time. Here are three wide receivers who you should key in on during the second set of preseason games.

 

Julio Jones: Atlanta Falcons vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, August 16 at 8 p.m. ET

Julio Jones is F-U-N to watch. He is already one of the most explosive wide receivers in the NFL, and is poised to have a breakout season after nearly reaching the 1,000-yard mark last season.

In the Falcons first preseason game, Jones pulled in six balls for 109 yards and a touchdown.

Jones is a huge target for Ryan and his jumping ability gives him an advantage over the smaller defensive backs in the league.

The Falcons already have one of the most formidable receiving corps with Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez at Ryan's disposal, but if Jones can take his play to the next level, the Falcons are going to be really scary.

 

Rod Streater: Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals, Friday, August 17 at 10 p.m. ET

The Oakland Raiders signed Rod Streater as an undrafted free agent following the 2012 NFL draft, and it looks like they are about to get a nice bang for their buck this season.

Last week against the Dallas Cowboys, Streater grabbed six passes for 66 yards on just eight targets. Eight targets isn't a small amount, but Streater showed that he is very efficient in terms of catch-to-target ratio.

Al Davis would love this guy, as he is another one of those fast wide receivers that Davis loved so much. Not only that, but Streater is also capable of running some crisp routes and getting by press coverage.

If Streater can continue to produce as we approach the regular season, Carson Palmer is going to have another weapon along with Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore.

 

Courtney Roby: New Orleans Saints vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Friday, August 17 at 8 p.m. ET

Courtney Roby is not a rookie. In fact, he is probably closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but if you aren't a Saints fan, you probably haven't thought much about him lately.

Last season, he accumulated just over 300 receiving yards and didn't see many opportunities in Drew Brees' high-powered offense. In the team's first preseason game, Roby led all wide receivers with 85 yards.

He isn't likely to be Brees' second or third option this coming season, but he is making a real case to be the fourth wide receiver in an offense where the fourth wide receiver gets plenty of chances.

If Roby is going to be the real deal this season, he's going to have to continue to prove himself against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday.

Here is a link to the full preseason schedule.

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