Whether a player is a first-round pick or an undrafted free agent, preseason football is less about the score and more about the individual play on a per-snap basis. Exhibition contests give rookies the opportunity to shine and earn extra playing time.
Players don’t make the 53-man roster on the practice field; they make the 53-man roster based on their level of play during preseason games. Every year there are one or two fierce competitors who come out of nowhere to state their case and land on an active roster.
From there, some stick and make it in the NFL. Others don’t, and they quickly fizzle out. Regardless of draft status, let’s take a look at eight rookies who are already shining through the second week of the NFL’s preseason schedule.