While winning or losing a preseason game doesn’t matter at all, the individual performances of the players is of the utmost importance. It’s during these games that some players make a name for themselves while others drift away into obscurity. Likewise, players may be competing for a starting spot that isn’t secure or playing for significant playing time. Here are some players that have the most to gain or lose when the Falcons play the Browns on Thursday.
Most to Gain
Though McKissic had an electrifying return last week, the Falcons undoubtedly want Fuller to take a step forward and firmly grasp the WR5/Returner role. The team is all about competition, but don’t doubt that they want their draft pick to succeed.
Fuller will likely get more snaps and opportunities to prove he’s a capable returner. If he can prove to be dependable in that role, he’ll likely edge out McKissic for a roster spot.
With Chris Chester being an aging veteran, and Mike Person having a rough first preseason game, the 6th round rookie could make a strong case to be the primary backup at Guard. If he plays well enough, Schweitzer could find himself as a starter sooner rather than later. The competition ahead of him isn’t exactly inspiring, so the rookie can really make waves if he performs well on Thursday.
McLennan has an uphill battle to just make the roster, but after last week’s game against Washington, he may just do it. Right now, the most likely scenario for McLennan is to secure a practice squad spot. However, if he can continue to show flashes of potential - especially as a pass rusher - there are veterans on the team who may be surprise cuts in favor of keeping a younger player with developmental potential.
Most to Lose
The second year corner got plenty of snaps against Washington, but failed to make a strong positive impression. With Brian Poole making a strong case for a roster spot, and C.J. Goodwin offering intriguing potential, King needs to make a stronger case for himself or run the risk of being the last man on the roster - or worse yet - relegated to the practice squad. For a player that showed potential during camp, King needs to bounce back or risk getting passed by other young players.
The veteran linebacker made some nice plays from the weakside spot last Thursday, but don’t doubt for one second that the coaching staff is ready to put him on the bench, giving his starting position to either Deion Jones or De’Vondre Campbell. It doesn’t help that both rookies looked good in their debut game, either. Worrilow’s story has been pretty amazing, but his time as a starter is almost certainly coming to a close.
Goodman is a player whose ceiling is pretty much known. While he’s been solid on special teams, he’s only ever been a marginal contributor on the defensive line. With prospects like McLennan playing well, Goodman may be on the outside looking in. He’s going to have to demonstrate something substantial in the next game, or his spot on the roster will be a distant memory.
Who do you think has the most to gain or lose against the Browns?