Cardinals vs. Packers: 3 Arizona offensive players to watch

USA TODAY Sports

Who should fans be paying attention on the offensive side later in the game?

Friday marks the first time in eight months the Arizona Cardinals will take the field in an NFL game, and although it is just preseason game one, there is plenty that we can glean from the action on the field versus the Green Bay Packers.

While the starters are only going to get about 15 snaps in the game, there are a solid 50 players fighting for about 20 roster spots, and that means there will be some intense battles to pay attention too.

Here are the three offensive players that I'll be watching the closest in game one of the preseason.

Alfonso Smith, RB

Smith has been the talk of training camp, and as I said to Jess in our training camp preview podcast, after having ongoing dialogue with Smith's agent all summer, I believed Smith had a great opportunity to make the active roster coming out of camp.

Smith has always been a special player physically speaking, very few players in the NFL run in the 4.3's and even fewer are as well put together and compact as Smith is.

What has set Smith apart in training camp is his ability to constantly pick up blitzes in pass protection, a must in Arians vertical offense.

With Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams out for game one, that means there will be a lot of carries to be had, and a lot of improvement to be shown in pass protection versus live rushers, and Smith, along with rookies Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor, can make a statement in their extended time.

Kerry Taylor, WR

The fourth wide receiver position is an important one in the Arians offense, if there isn't a secondary weapon at tight end.

Well outside of Rob Housler there are a lot of question marks at the tight end position, so one of the plethora of wide receivers on the roster will need to step up and show that they can be an option in the Arians passing attack.

Taylor has shown the ability to get open, and more importantly the ability to catch the football.

Watch out for the Arizona native as he looks to be primed to make a run for a roster spot.

D.C Jefferson, TE

Speaking of receiving options for Bruce Arians offense, the tight end position for the Cardinals is one that needs to be watched very closely.

Jefferson is buried on the first edition of the depth chart, but a solid preseason, should change that for the mammoth rookie out of Rutgers.

With a huge opportunity in front of him to play big minutes in the preseason, Jefferson's potential will need to get out of the way quickly, and he'll need to show he's more than just potential.

While there will be more intriguing players to watch in games two and three of the preseason, mostly Levi Brown, Nate Potter and the top two running backs, these three will get to show a lot more than the others in week one of the preseason, and I for one look forward to watching these three perform Friday night.

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