After a six month offseason, football is finally back tonight in the form of the NFL preseason! At the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, the Baltimore Ravens will take on the Chicago Bears at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. While preseason isn’t always the most exciting, here’s a few players to watch for on each team (assuming they play). Most are rookies or new arrivals.
Lamar Jackson, QB:
Lamar Jackson is one of the only reasons this game will be watchable. While the Ravens have had Joe Flacco as their starting QB since 2008, they selected former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson with the last pick of the first round. In my opinion, Jackson is the closest player I’ve seen to Michael Vick in the past ten years despite question marks surrounding his ability to play the quarterback position in the NFL. John Harbaugh has already said that Jackson will have his own package of plays in 2018, but it will be interesting to see how he plays in his first action against an NFL defense.
Robert Griffin III, QB:
RGIII hasn’t seen NFL action since starting five games for the Browns in 2016. Although he won Rookie of the Year in 2013 with the Washington Redskins, his career has been derailed by injury. With what is likely his final chance at redemption, RGIII will attempt to make the Ravens roster as the third string QB.
Michael Crabtree, WR:
After catching 25 touchdowns in his last three seasons in Oakland, Michael Crabtree signed with the Raiders this offseason. The Ravens haven’t had a true #1 WR in quite some time, so Crabtree hopes to fill that role.
Hayden Hurst/Mark Andrews, TE:
The Ravens drafted Hurst and Andrews to be their two tight ends in rounds one and three of the 2018 NFL Draft. Hurst, who is 25 years old, was regarded by several scouts as the best all-around tight end in the draft. Andrews spent his college days as Baker Mayfield’s safety net, and will be a big receiving target for Joe Flacco. It will certainly be interesting to see who performs better, and also how often both tight ends are on the field together.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB:
With Matt Nagy taking over at head coach for the Chicago Bears, I expect big things from Mitchell Trubisky in year two. Nagy, the former Chiefs offensive coordinator, will look to implement a high-powered offense like he did in Kansas City with good offensive talents surrounding Trubisky in Jordan Howard, Allen Robinson, and Trey Burton. It wouldn’t surprised me if Trubisky performs like Jared Goff did in year two, and that journey starts tonight.
Allen Robinson, WR:
Allen Robinson is coming off of a torn ACL that he sustained just a few minutes into the 2017 NFL season. Considering Robinson was a top WR in the league prior to his injury with the Jaguars, he’ll look to prove himself again in a different city in 2018. I don’t expect Robinson to play much, if at all tonight, but if he does play a few snaps it will be good to see him back on the field.
Anthony Miller, WR:
I’m extremely high on Anthony Miller who was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Not many people know Miller considering he went to Memphis, but he can flat out ball. Miller has looked extremely solid in training camp, and I expect him to be a reliable target for Mitchell Trubisky in the future.
Trey Burton, TE:
Trey Burton was playing behind Zach Ertz in Philadelphia for the past few years, but it has always been clear that he’s capable of being a starting tight end. Now, he’ll get his chance with the Bears. When he filled in for Ertz last year, Burton caught two touchdowns. I expect Burton to establish himself as a top-ten tight end in the NFL this season.
Roquan Smith*, LB:
If anyone was wondering what the Bears’ first round pick was up to, he still hasn’t signed his rookie contract yet. He remains the only rookie who hasn’t signed a contract, and will not be playing in tonight’s game, as he still isn’t in training camp.