Every fan has their favorite players to watch during the regular season, but in the preseason there is a host of new talent to examine and observe. There are also emerging players in their second or third seasons with greater expectations to keep an eye on. Below we provide a handful of players you may want to pay close attention to in tonight's preseason opener against Washington.
1 – OL Cordaro Howard – The undrafted rookie has been afforded the opportunity to get an awful lot of reps at guard and tackle in the practice setting with some projected starters on the mend in Eric Wood and Cornell Green. Among the most athletic of the rookie O-line prospects the 1st Team All-ACC performer, played under Chan Gailey for a year at Georgia Tech. He's expected to start at right guard Friday night.
2 – OLB Aaron Maybin –With Aaron Schobel out of the picture, Maybin now carries the pass rush mantle. He'll be facing first-round caliber competition in Redskins' top five pick Trent Williams. His speed rush has been impressive in the camp setting, but the question is how far along is Maybin in developing his counter moves off of his trademark speed?
3 – OT Jamon Meredith –The second-year tackle has worked diligently to improve his game, often spending extra time on his sets after practice. He spent the entire spring at left tackle with Demetrius Bell out and will start there on Friday where he'll be facing a rising pass rushing talent in Brian Orakpo. Meredith is also expected to play some right tackle with the second unit. Improved play from Meredith is critical knowing he's at worst the team's swing tackle this year.
4 – WR David Nelson –It's hard to believe a 6'5" receiver has flown under the radar, but Nelson has very quietly put himself in a solid position to make the team, as he's currently hovering between the fourth and fifth receiver spot on the depth chart. A silky smooth route runner, Nelson has lined up with the starting unit in spread formations in the camp setting. He will have to show he can gain consistent separation tonight and make yards after the catch to further strengthen his standing on the roster.
5 – NT Torell Troup –The hard working rookie nose tackle has looked very good in the practice setting at camp. He's blown up some run plays and has pushed the pocket on pass plays a bit more than expected. In his first preseason test, he'll have to show he can consistently hold the point of attack, while also getting off blocks to detour ball carriers or make a play.