Midway through preseason and 10 days away from final roster cuts, the battles are coming hot and heavy. Here’s a look at my predictions for key positions.
#2 QB Spot
Ryan Griffin vs. Blaine Gabbert
I think everyone agrees that Ryan Griffin deserves a shot to be a #2 QB in this league. We can also all agree that Griffin has outperformed Gabbert on the big stage better than Gabbert. Griffin has played exceptionally well late in games with lower-rated players on the depth chart. The players and fans seem to respond well to Griffin.
Gabbert has played in Bruce Arians’ system previously; this system fits his strengths better than his weaknesses. But the veteran QB hasn’t exactly put fans at ease with his play in the two recent preseason games. If Gabbert has an edge against Griffin, it is strictly because he was hand-picked by Arians.
#3 Running Back Spot
Dare Ogunbowale vs. Andre Ellington
Dare Ogunbowale has been the better option of the two running backs. This is mainly because he has been the total package in Arians’ offense. It would be much easier to say what Ogunbowale can’t do rather than what he can do.
Andre Ellington isn’t a bad option either but, he is questionable when it comes to pass protection. If Ellington cannot provide any pass protection, then he becomes predictable when he comes into the game in certain situations. Unlike Koetter, Arians wants to provide multiple different looks and have the ability to call any play no matter what player is in the game.
Final Wide Receiver Spot
Justin Watson, Bobo Wilson, Spencer Schnell
Despite the rumors that the coaching staff may favor Bobo Wilson over Justin Watson, the stats support Watson. He has produced in both games picking up four catches in each.
Wilson has been on this team for a few seasons and has yet to earn his spot on the roster yet. Against the Dolphins, he had a big reception for extra yards after the catch. He looked very comfortable when he had the ball in his hands. This is a now-or-never year for Wilson if he cannot separate himself from the other undrafted/drafted rookies then its looks that he might have to do it elsewhere.
Spencer Schnell had a great game against the Steelers racking up seven receptions for 119 yards. He shocked everyone with his play and put himself in the conversation to make the final 53. The strike against Schnell is he didn’t record a catch against the Dolphins or make an impactful play in that game. Schnell is going to have to lay his claim in these final two games to either make this team or be picked up by another.
Tight End battle
Tanner Hudson, Antony Auclair, Jordan Leggett
Tanner Hudson is small school kid out of South Arkansas who has made it a point that he will not be overlooked. Husdon has shown up in both preseason games with one-handed TD catches to game-saving catches when playing from behind. He has been one of the most consistent players this entire preseason.
Antony Auclair is an interesting player that provides excellent run blocking and reliable hands. The only strike against Auclair is that he provides little play-making ability after he has the ball in his hands.
There’s not much to be said about Jordan Leggett because he hasn’t recorded a catch this preseason. Leggett looks to be one of the first players to be on the chopping block as it currently stands.
Prediction: Hudson, Auclair