Week 2 of the 2018 NFL preseason focused more on starting positional battles than the previous week. These 10 players and groups were successful in their bid to earn playing time as Week 3’s dress rehearsals approach.
The second week of the NFL preseason has wrapped up. Most teams shifted away from giving their backups the majority of available snaps as they’re wanting to figure out positional battles. That allowed real analysis to begin.
The coordinators who are now incorporating their real scheme into the first-half of games are trying their best to flesh out who is going to be first on the field in the regular season. It’s important to see who is earning early playing time now since most coaches will wait until their bye week to make sweeping personnel adjustments. This gives veterans the leg-up immediately.
There was a combination of 10 players and positional units that stood out the most this week. They’ve earned their spot onto this list of winners from Week 2 of the preseason through quality play.
10. Ronnie Harrison, S, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars were able to land former Alabama star safety Ronnie Harrison in the third-round of the 2018 class, and it looked like the ideal blend of value and filling a long-term need. The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder appeared to be set for a subpackage role behind Barry Church, but he earned a start next to Church this week. Veteran free safety Tashaun Gipson was held out of the game, so Harrison started in his spot.
He logged five tackles, four of which were solo, against the Minnesota Vikings. He was flying around the field and looked ready to start right now. The Jaguars won’t cut one of their two starting veterans to clear room for Harrison until next off-season at the earliest, but his play gives confidence they’ll be fine if Gipson’s health never fully recovers.
Gipson recently told Jaguars.com that Harrison’s versatility was going to pay off for him in big way.
It’s easy to pigeonhole a player based on their collegiate usage. In Harrison’s situation at Alabama, he was a box safety who used his bulk as a downhill enforcer and occasional coverage option against tight ends. Even while the Jaguars don’t favor using single-high free safety looks, his ability to play as a Cover 2 space player is a pleasant surprise.