Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Rookie linebacker L.J. Fort nearly intercepts his second pass of the game in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Linebacker L.J. Fort: A suspension to Scott Fujita and an injury to fellow rookie James Michael-Johnson thrust Fort into the starting lineup against the Philadelphia Eagles on opening day. Despite having to adjust to playing on the outside due to D'Qwell Jackson occupying the middle, Fort played a heck of a game. He registered a sack, made three tackles, broke up two passes and even had an interception.
The future seems bright for the first-year player out of Northern Iowa, who teamed with another former undrafted linebacker in Craig Robertson to stifle Philly's powerful offense.
A wonderful feature by The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Tom Reed documents how the linebackers pushed each other during camp and were prepared when their names were called. They even lived together in the summer.
With such a stellar debut, Fort should have fortified his case for more snaps on game days. It will be interesting to see how coordinator Dick Jauron uses him.
If the season continues to slip away, Fort may become a full-time starter.
Free safety Tashaun Gipson: Another relatively surprising survivor of the final 53-man roster, Gipson hails from the University of Wyoming, of all places.
To Gipson's credit, he has impressed coaches enough to see the field in the past two games, splitting time at free safety with veteran Usama Young.
Being a reliable tackler with solid coverage skills does nothing but help Gipson's cause, and according to Plain Dealer beat writer Mary Kay Cabot, Gipson should only get more opportunities as the season progresses:
Assuming he continues to steadily progress, Gipson may be playing safety the majority of the snaps on Sundays.
Defensive back Johnson Bademosi: GM Tom Heckert explained his decision to keep defensive back Johnson Bademosi by saying he was a stud on special teams. Ironically, Bademosi was the one man Adam Jones made miss on his game-breaking punt return for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2.
The Stanford product has otherwise beaten the odds just as many other players from his college program have in recent years. He has been a solid on kickoff and punt coverage, save for the miss on Jones.
Plus, I almost forgot, he is neck-and-neck with fellow undrafted defensive lineman Ishmaa'ily Kitchen for the most awesome-sounding name on the roster.
Note: Kitchen, along with linebacker Tank Carder, are also undrafted rookies on the roster. Neither has registered significant playing time.