The Cardinals hit the field in just 24 hours. For most fans, this game is a meaningless battle between a bunch of third and fourth stringers. But for the players and coaches themselves, this game could be a deciding factor in the future of a number of players.
The positions to watch will be the obvious ones. Highlighting them all will be the cornerbacks. With not Peterson or Bethel in this one, the young inexperienced players will get all the reps. But who are some of the players to keep an eye on?
The undrafted wide receiver has the potential to play in the NFL. He demolished his competition while playing at Marian University, as he set school records with 263 receptions, 4395 yards, and 43 touchdowns in his career. Hogan was knocked for his level of competition, as well as his apparent lack of NFL speed and quickness.
Already facing an uphill battle with the level of talent ahead of him on the roster, Hogan will have an entire game of snaps to make his case to make an NFL roster.
The 2016 first round pick will be on the field for a good chunk of the game. Nkemdiche has had a very good camp thus far, bullying any offensive lineman that has gotten in his way. He will need to carry that over to a live game if he wants to be an opening day starter.
Nkemdiche’s development will imperative to the Cardinals success in 2017. Without Calais Campbell being the staple on the line, the team will need their first round selection to live up to the potential that he had coming out of the draft.
Justin Bethel will be sitting out of this game with a sore knee. Tramon Williams will still need time to learn the basics of the defensive playbook. Ronald Zamort has been released with an injury settlement following his ACL tear in the Red-White practice. That leaves Brandon Williams as the teams starting corner tomorrow.
Williams was having a good camp last season, but poor performances during games ultimately lost him the starting job to Marcus Cooper. While this may not earn Williams the starting job, it will give us a gauge to see how far he has come since he last played.
During the Red-White scrimmage, Williams looked aggressive and had his hand in a number of plays. Does he keep that up?
You knew his name would make it on here. The 2017 first round selection will be one of a handful of starters that will play on Thursday. Watching him during the Red-White scrimmage, he looked intense. In particular were the final three plays of the practice, where he took on TJ Logan twice and knocked his helmet off. Twice.
With the pads on and the lights shining, now will be the first taste we get of the rookie. Will he shine? Or will he fade into the background?
Penny looked good in the opportunities he received last preseason. The team ultimately stashed him on the practice squad for safe keeping. Now in his second season, Penny is looking for a reason for the team to keep five running backs. During the Red-White practice, Penny ran hard and fought for yardage. With no David Johnson and likely only a little bit of Chris Johnson, Penny will receive a good look.
Can he do enough to stay around? He has to fight with Andre Ellington for the fifth and final spot if the team goes that route.
Obviously, there are countless more. There are 90 guys fighting for NFL jobs after all. Some names that didn’t quite make this list are Scooby Wright, Budda Baker, Carlton Agudosi, and Sojourn Shelton.
Are there any guys you are looking out for? Let me know in the comments below!