Touching Down On the NFL Preseason

Trey Riera-Gomez, Staff Writer

As the end of summer approaches, millions across the United States are preparing for the upcoming National Football League’s (NFL) 2018-2019 season. Football, one of the most beloved and popular sports in the U.S., had approximately 15 million viewers tuned in for each of last year’s 16 regular season games, along with an estimated 103 million viewers watching the NFL’s championship game, the Super Bowl.

After the Philadelphia Eagles finished an outstanding 2017-2018 season with their Super Bowl victory, many fans have been hoping this season would provide the same high-caliber entertainment as its predecessor. This season will showcase a number of standout rookies and teams rebuilt essentially from nothing, giving some fans grounds for cautious optimism regarding the ensuing regular season.

Furthermore, a number of the league’s star veterans that suffered injuries last year will return once again and make their way back into the light, looking to demonstrate that they are not by any means out of the picture this year.

Amongst the pool of rookies selected in this year’s NFL draft, there are a few spotlight players that are anticipated to have profound impacts on their teams this upcoming season. Running back Saquan Barkley, for instance, who was taken as the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, is expected to revive the struggling offense of the New York Giants. With his shifty feet and knack for visualizing open spaces on the field, he is a player to look out for in the weeks to come as one of the league’s top prospects.

Expected to make his return and accompany Barkley on the Giants’ road back into relevance is Odell Beckham Jr., one of the league’s top wide receivers, whose season was tragically cut short due to injury last year. With his unmatched speed and incredible hands, he is bound to be a valuable asset for the team.

Baker Mayfield, also a rising star from the University of Oklahoma, was selected as the first overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield is anticipated to be the much-needed quarterback that the Browns have been looking for, and they hope the rookie will be able to control the Browns’ historically inadequate offense after leaving a remarkable impression on fans following his performance in the first preseason game. Also expected to impact the Browns’ success this year is wide receiver Jarvis Landry, the former Miami Dolphins receiver that was traded onto the team this offseason.

“The Cleveland Browns are expected to perform at a much higher level than last season because one player, in particular, Jarvis Landry, is going to lead the team’s offense and drive them to victory,” junior Charlie Sommer said.

In addition, various other new and returning players are expected to revolutionize the NFL and improve the performance and success rates of their teams. For example, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to shine as the New York Jets’ captain and leader as he looks to turn around the Jets’ past few mediocre seasons. Then there are players like Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, star quarterbacks lost due to injury last year, who are also expected to make their way back onto the Sunday night stage and lead their powerhouse teams to victory.

“I’m really excited to see how Sam Darnold will impact his team this year, especially after watching his preseason debut. I think that he is the most complete rookie this year because of his size and ability to do a little bit of everything, which is exactly what the struggling Jets team needs,” senior Alex Anton said.

The upcoming season is sure to be an eventful one, as experienced talent will be making a reappearance alongside prospective rookie talent that aims to shock the football world. As NFL Opening Day approaches on Sep. 6, be sure to tune in to the NFL Preseason as teams offer a glimpse of what is to come for the 2018-2019 season.

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