Dallas Cowboys 5th-round pick Danny Coale has been recovering from a broken foot which he suffered earlier this year in OTAs. But he’s finally back to full speed and received a significant amount of reps with the first-team offense according to the Dallas Star-Telegram.
Coale is expected to make his preseason debut on Saturday against the Rams, and his performance will have significant implications for the Cowboys offense. The third-receiver job is still up for grabs and the increased reps for Coale with the first-team offense seem to indicate the coaching staff is interested in seeing if he could handle that role.
Coale was a personal favorite of mine during the pre-draft process. Given his limited practice time I’d still have to say he’s a long shot to win the third-receiver job, but I do expect him to make the final 53-man roster, and an increased role as the season wears on is a definite possibility.
Arizona Cardinals 6th-round pick Justin Bethel, out of Presbyterian College, has already made his presence felt. While he’s listed as the third-string free safety, he is seeing significant time on special teams and making an immediate impact.
Bethel has already blocked a punt and an extra point, and likely has a spot on the 53-man roster due to his performance. As a 6th-round pick, nothing is guaranteed. So any little thing you can do to catch the coaching staff’s attention is needed, and Bethel has clearly done his part.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt had this to say about Bethel’s performance: “He’s got a long ways to go defensively, but he’s working at it. That’s what you like to see. When we talk about guys that can contribute on special teams while they’re learning that, it’s a pretty good situation.”
Chicago Bears 2nd-round Alshon Jeffery was ejected from his final collegiate game for fighting with Nebraska conerback Alfonzo Dennard. On Saturday, in just his second preseason game, he was again mixed up in an altercation with Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Jeffery was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.
Penalties are part of the game, but Jeffery has shown a tendency to lose his cool far too often on the field. The Bears have undoubtedly spoken with him about this issue – likely before they even drafted him. If it continues to be an issue it could affect his playing time.
Cincinnati Bengals 1st-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick took the field for the first time on Monday afternoon. He had been recovering from a left knee injury suffered during June minicamps.
The Bengals are fairly deep at cornerback, so there’s no need for them to rush Kirkpatrick into action. As a result, he will sit out Thursday’s preseason game against the Packers but is expected to appear in the final preseason game on Friday, August 31.
Cleveland Browns 4th-round pick Travis Benjamin has reportedly been getting some first-team reps in three-receivers sets.
Benjamin is vastly undersized (5’10”, 175 pounds) but may be the faster receiver on the Browns roster. So while he probably won’t be taking many balls away from Greg Little or Mohamed Massaquoi, he could be used as a deep threat (and as a decoy). The Browns were lacking any sort of downfield passing attack in 2011, so the addition of Benjamin could add a new dimension to the offense.