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Ezekiel Elliott makes his NFL preseason debut and demands respect

After missing the first two games with a hamstring issue, Elliott finally took the field for the Cowboys in his NFL debut.

NFL: Preseason-Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With only one week left before the start of the regular season, this is the last chance for a lot of rookies to make their case for a spot on their team’s final 53-man roster. The Buckeyes are still leading the charge for youngsters in the NFL, contributing right away and notching out roles in the preseason on both offense and defense.

A few players have missed time with injuries, but most are expected to suit up for Week 1 of the regular season — and everyone will just have to wait and see if Joey Bosa ends up playing at all in 2016.


Ezekiel Elliott

The prodigal son has returned for the Cowboys and saw his first set of snaps in an NFL preseason. The running back didn’t disappoint. Building on his penchant for lowering his shoulder and taking a hit, Elliott was out to prove he belonged when he tried running though Seattle’s Legion of Boom’s Kam Chancellor.

Elliott’s role will be even more critical now that Tony Romo’s fate is up in the air; the quarterback suffered another fractured bone in his back, with his return time unknown. He is off to a good start with 48 yards on seven rushing attempts.

Jalin Marshall

At halftime of the Jets-Giants game, there was a familiar name at the top of the offensive stats list — J. Marshall. The undrafted free agent actually started for the Jets in their Week 3 preseason game, and had a varying performance. He had a few good catches that made up for earlier bobbles -- and a fumble — and finished the day with 30 yards on three catches. His inconsistency is something Buckeye fans know all too well, but his ceiling is high enough for the team to stick with Marshall through the season.

Braxton Miller

The former quarterback is impressing his coaches down in Houston and has stayed consistent through the preseason. In Week 3, he completed three catches for 29 yards, one for 17 yards on a critical 4th and 3 that got the team right up to the goal line.

Michael Thomas

The wideout saw less action in the Saints’ Week 3 matchup against the Steelers, only recording one catch for 23 yards. Despite his only catch coming from backup quarterback Luke McCown, Thomas still lined up and saw snaps when Drew Brees was still in the game.

Offensive line

Taylor Decker

So far, Decker is the only rookie for the Lions who is expected to start at the opening of the regular season. Despite a good camp, the Buckeye didn’t look that great in his preseason debut; he’s since stepped it up each week and in Week 3’s matchup against the Ravens, he allowed only one pressure on 31 passing plays.

Chase Farris signed on with the Lions as an undrafted free agent, but of all the lineman in that group, the Buckeye isn’t expected to land on the team’s final 53-man roster. Joel Hale signed on with the Buccaneers, and has some seen some snaps in the preseason; he’s not expected to garner an active roster spot, but could be primed for the practice squad.


Eli Apple

Back in action after missing Week 2’s preseason game, the cornerback started for the Giants and had one pass defended during the outing. He was the targeted quite a few times, but expected the Jets to try and exploit his inexperience, and was able to hold his own against veteran receiver Eric Decker.

Vonn Bell

The Saints have hit the jackpot with their second round pick. The Buckeye lead his team in tackles for the second week in a row — six total tackles, two less than in Week 2. His production has been unquestionable, and his ceiling could be among the best in the league. Bell might not be starting at the beginning of the regular season, but he is such to have a bit impact on the Saints’ defense in 2016 and beyond.

Darron Lee

Already taking reps with the first team for the Jets, the Buckeyes is slowly making his way into the starting rotation. He’s been battling eight year veteran Erin Henderson for the spot with the No. 1s, but an injury has pushed Lee ahead.

Tyvis Powell

Continuing to make waves in Seattle on both defense and special teams, Powell is almost a lock to make the final 53-man roster. He’s shown his contributions to both would be a good addition to the team. His Week 3 performance included being beaten in the endzone for a Cowboys touchdown, but also saw his NFL game high of five tackles.

Adolphus Washington

The defensive end keeps being one of the steals in this year’s draft for the Bills, recording three tackles in Week 3. Washington has been a nice addition to the pass defense, and could work his way into a starting spot — especially with the load of injuries the Bills have faced this preseason.

Noticeably absent

Cardale Jones sat out of Friday’s Week 3 preseason game with a sore shoulder, and missed additional time at the team’s facility over the weekend for ‘personal reasons’ that haven’t been made public.

Nick Vannett was expected to contribute to the Seahawks run blocking right away, but after suffering an ankle injury in the team’s second preseason game against the Vikings, the tight end is hoping to be back in action for Week 1 of the regular season.

Another preseason game, and another week the Chargers carry on without their first-round pick Joey Bosa. Things took an ugly turn last week, when the team went public with their offer to the defensive end (in an effort to make him look greedy), which was met by a public statement by Bosa’s agent (to make the Chargers seem unreasonable).

Other tidbits

The Jets placed Devin Smith on the PUP list.

John Simon did this against the Cardinals: