So, the NFL Hall of Fame game is not exactly the standard for what players might look like during the regular — it isn’t even the standard for what teams are willing to show or try in the preseason — but it is the first glimpse of football for the season.
Before all 32 NFL teams take the field, or any of the college football teams embark on their season, the Hall of Fame game is the annual kick-off of fall.
That game took place last Thursday, and while starting quarterbacks don’t often get reps, and it’s mostly a way of evaluating rookies, new acquisitions and bubble players, there were a couple of new NFL Buckeyes who took the field and impressed.
Thursday’s pre-preseason matchup featured the Denver Broncos (Jeff Heuerman, Dre’Mont Jones) and Atlanta Falcons (Kendall Sheffield). The Broncos won 14-10, but much like “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, the points and outcome don’t really matter.
In his first taste of NFL action, the Buckeye rookie defensive tackle made three total tackles (one for loss) and three quarterback hits. After falling to the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Jones is on his way to proving that he was a close No. 2 to Nick Bosa, perhaps despite what his combine performance showed.
Some insight from Ian St. Clair of SB Nation’s Broncos site Mile High Report:
“He consistently beat his man and was a major force of disruption for the Broncos defense. Look for him to get more reps with the No. 2 defense heading into the second preseason game.”
And it seems like Broncos fans are pretty excited about Jones and his potential too, according to a poll on Mile High Report:
After tearing his pec muscle at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, Sheffield dropped to the fourth round of the draft, but has been making believers out of his teammates and coaches in Atlanta so far this training camp.
Prior to Thursday’s Hall of Fame game, Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn talked about Sheffield’s speed and how he’s already impressed:
“For Sheffield, it’s his speed for sure that allows him to stay down. He can run with all the receivers here, and we’ve got some fast ones.”
The Buckeye showed Quinn, and everyone else, that he could translate everything good he’s shown at practice onto the field during games. Sheffield made five total tackles (four solo) and had a forced fumble in the contest.