ARLINGTON, Texas – 31 days after training camp opened on the West Coast, the preseason is finally over. All three preseason games are in the books and the official NFL tryout process has concluded. While these games don't mean much to some, it's everything for others.
Especially to those aiming to make the roster. With everything from the start of camp considered, all the way through the final preseason game, here are three players I believe did enough to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
Devin Harper: It took two injuries above him on the depth chart for Harper to get a full game of reps in the preseason. However, he took full advantage of his extra snaps by patrolling the second level and impressing on special teams. With a notable lack of linebacker depth, expect Harper to rotate in with Leighton Vander Esch and Damone Clark instead of an outside linebacker acquisition.
Juanyeh Thomas: The defensive darling of the preseason. Thomas really began turning heads in Oxnard, before taking his increased level of play to the game tape. While he's certainly a step below the starting trio of Malik Hooker, Jayron Kearse, and Donovan Wilson, he could bring another reliable coverage option as the fourth safety on the roster. Not to mention he's shown an ability to come up and hit too.
Jalen Brooks: This one was tough. Entering the final week of the preseason, it appeared Brooks was in a direct competition with fellow receiver Simi Fehoko to secure a wide receiver spot. While Fehoko finished with a better stat line of 3 receptions and 30 yards, Brooks has been more consistent in his ability to create separation and make the contested catch all preseason. Both guys can certainly make the roster, but Brooks appears to be the preferred option if there has to be a decision between the two.
Brandon Aubrey: Probably the biggest surprise of them all. Brandon Aubrey showed up for his final preseason audition. After going 2-of-2 on PATs in Seattle, he drilled all four again this week. What set him apart Saturday were his two field goal attempts from 59-yards. His first try came in the first quarter and hooked a few yards to the left. The attempt showed promise though, as it had enough distance during the miss. He then took full advantage by hitting his second try from the same distance in the fourth quarter. Drilling a kick that may have been good from 65-yards out. Enough in my opinion for him to be the kicker in Week 1.