NFL Preseason Preview: David Morgan – Minnesota Vikings

David Morgan entered the NFL last season as UTSA’s first ever draft pick and ended the year with 12 games and 63 offensive snaps under his belt.

Along the way, he received praise from his coaching staff and media alike. So much so that the Vikings were willing to let incumbent blocking tight end Rhett Ellison move on to the New York Giants during the offseason.

DAVID MORGAN

  • Team: Minnesota Vikings
  • Position: Tight End
  • Experience: 1 year

MINNESOTA VIKINGS TIGHT END DEPTH

  • Kyle Rudolph, 6 years experience
  • David Morgan, 1 year experience
  • Bucky Hodges, Rookie (Drafted, Round 6)
  • Kyle Carter, 1 year practice squad experience
  • Nick Truesdell, Rookie (3 years in AFL)
  • Josiah Price, Rookie

 

7th-year man Kyle Rudolph will retain his spot as the #1 tight end heading into the season, and Morgan is the obvious choice to replace Ellison as the first-choice blocking tight end, earning snaps alongside Rudolph in two-TE sets.

Ellison saw action on about 18 offensive snaps and 12 special teams snaps per game while getting targeted in the passing game a total of 14 times in 15 games. We can expect to see similar numbers from Morgan this year.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the depth chart below Rudolph and Morgan, with four guys who are all primarily pass-catching tight ends competing for one or two spots on the 53-man roster.

Odds to make 53-man roster: 100%

 

After kicking off their preseason with a visit to Buffalo tonight, the Vikings will head to Seattle and then return to face the 49ers in back-to-back nationally televised games before hosting the Dolphins in their preseason finale.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

(all times Central)

Thursday, Aug. 10
Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Aug. 11, 3:00 a.m.

Friday, Aug. 18
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks, 9 p.m. (NFL Network)

Sunday, Aug. 26
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings, 7 p.m. (NBC)

Thursday, Aug. 31
Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Sep. 1, 9:00 a.m.

 

NFL Preseason Preview: Ashaad Mabry – New Orleans Saints

Two years after signing with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent, Ashaad Mabry is looking to finally make his way onto the Saints active roster in 2017.

The Saints reaffirmed their commitment to Mabry in January, signing him to a futures deal and keeping him in New Orleans for a third year, after two successful campaigns spent on the practice squad.

ASHAAD MABRY

  • Team: New Orleans Saints
  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • Experience: 2 years on practice squad

 

The Saints defensive line took a huge hit over the offseason when starting tackle Nick Fairley was diagnosed with a heart condition that will keep him out this season, and potentially end his career.

Meanwhile, New Orleans looked to free agency for some added depth, signing 11-year veteran Tony McDaniel, a former starter in Seattle.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS DEFENSIVE TACKLE DEPTH

  • Sheldon Rankins, 1 year experience
  • Tyeler Davison, 2 years experience
  • David Onyemata, 1 year experience
  • Tony McDaniel, 11 years experience
  • Ashaad Mabry, 2 years practice squad experience
  • Justin Zimmer, 1 year practice squad experience
  • Devaroe Lawrence, Rookie (Undrafted) (injured)

 

Sheldon Rankins should be a shoo-in as a starter in his second season after being drafted 12th overall a season ago. He missed the first half of his rookie year with a broken leg, but upon his return proved why he was worth a 1st-round draft pick.

Preliminary depth charts have Davison as the other starter, but reports out of training camp have Onyemata taking more of the first-team reps. The pair seem to be 2A and 2B in the pecking order for the time being.

With only four defensive tackles likely making the 53-man roster, that leaves one spot left that Mabry will be fighting for. It will take an inspired preseason performance for either Mabry or Zimmer to beat out the veteran McDaniel, so the practice squad will be his most likely landing spot once again.

Odds to make 53-man roster: 10%

Odds to make practice squad: 80%

 

Mabry and the Saints will be in action tonight against Cleveland, followed by a nationally televised game as they visit the new-look Los Angeles Chargers and their 27,000-seat MLS stadium.

 

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

(all times Central)

Thursday, Aug. 10
New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Aug. 11, 9:00 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 20
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers, 7 p.m. (NFL Network)

Saturday, Aug. 26
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Sunday, Aug. 27, 4:00 a.m.

Thursday, Aug. 31
Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Sep. 2, 9:00 a.m.

 

NFL Preseason Preview: Brian Price – Green Bay Packers

Brian Price may be the most intriguing NFL prospect hailing from UTSA this year.

After a 2016 season that saw Price earn a very brief stint on the gameday roster, along with extended time on the Packers’ practice squad, things are looking up for the second-year defensive tackle.

Price was rewarded last season, with Green Bay bumping his salary from the practice squad minimum $6,900/week up to $26,465/week following an attempt from the Colts to sign him late in the year.

He was also signed to a futures deal at the conclusion of last season, guaranteeing his spot in Green Bay heading into this year.

BRIAN PRICE

  • Team: Green Bay Packers
  • Position: Nose Tackle
  • Experience: 1 year

 

The Packers released defensive tackle Letroy Guion earlier this week amidst concerns about a DWI over the summer, in addition to an unrelated 4-game suspension that he would have served to begin the season.

GREEN BAY PACKERS DEFENSIVE LINE DEPTH

  • Mike Daniels, 5 years experience
  • Kenny Clark, 1 year experience
  • Dean Lowry, 1 year experience
  • Ricky Jean Francois, 8 years experience
  • Christian Ringo, 2 years experience
  • Brian Price, 1 year experience
  • Montravius Adams, Rookie (Drafted, 3rd Round) (injured)
  • Izaah Lunsford, Rookie (Undrafted)

 

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers likes to rotate guys along the three-man front, and the Packers typically carry seven defensive linemen on their 53-man roster, giving Price a very good shot at making the cut this year.

Daniels, Clark, and Lowry currently look to be the likely starters heading into the regular season, while veteran Ricky Jean Francois should also be a lock to make the roster coming off the bench.

Christian Ringo looks to retain his roster spot from last season and will be in competition with Price and Adams for the fifth spot on the depth chart.

Highly-touted 3rd-round draft pick Montravius Adams is currently injured and may miss the start of the season, which could lead Green Bay to also retain Lunsford or just go with six guys on the line until Adams gets healthy.

Odds to make 53-man roster: 95%

Odds to make practice squad: 5%

 

Green Bay, unfortunately, doesn’t have any nationally televised games this preseason, but you can watch Price and the Packers in action on NFL Network when they replay the games, or by subscribing to NFL Game Pass.

GREEN BAY PACKERS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

(all times Central)

Thursday, Aug. 10
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Aug. 11, 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 19
Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins, 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Sunday, Aug. 20, 6:00 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 26
Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos, 8 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Sunday, Aug. 27, 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, Aug. 31
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Sep. 2, 7:00 p.m.

 

NFL Preseason Preview: Week 1 viewing guide

It should be an exciting week for the six NFL hopefuls from UTSA. Here’s how you can watch all the games.

 

Wednesday, Aug. 9

Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers (Teddy Williams), 6:30 p.m. (NFL Network)
– NFL Network re-air: Thursday, Aug. 10, 1:00 a.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Thursday, Aug. 10, 9:00 a.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Thursday, Aug. 10, 3:00 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Wednesday, Aug. 16, 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 10

Minnesota Vikings (David Morgan) at Buffalo Bills, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Aug. 11, 3:00 a.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Wednesday, Aug. 16, 9:00 a.m.

Atlanta Falcons (Jordan Moore) at Miami Dolphins, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Aug. 12, 8:30 a.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Monday, Aug. 14, 3:30 a.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Wednesday, Aug. 16, 12:00 p.m.

New Orleans Saints (Ashaad Mabry) at Cleveland Browns, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Aug. 11, 9:00 a.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Monday, Aug. 14, 12:00 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Thursday, Aug. 17, 3:00 a.m.

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (Brian Price), 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Aug. 11, 3:00 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Sunday, Aug. 13, 3:00 a.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Monday, Aug. 14, 3:00 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 11

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals (Jarveon Williams), 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Aug. 12, 12:00 a.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Tuesday, Aug. 15, 12:00 p.m.

 

(all times Central)

 

NFL Preseason Preview: Teddy Williams – Carolina Panthers

Teddy Williams will be entering his third season with the Carolina Panthers, hoping to regain his roster spot after his 2016 season was ended early by an injury.

After playing in 16 games for the Panthers in 2015, Williams was left off the active roster in three of Carolina’s first four games in 2016. However, the poor performance of the cornerbacks ahead of him gave Williams a chance to get back into the picture in Week 5, and he had the best game of his career the very next week, recording his first career interception and six tackles.

Williams hasn’t seen the field since that day, leaving practice the following week with a knee injury and eventually being placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

TEDDY WILLIAMS

  • Team: Carolina Panthers
  • Position: Cornerback
  • Experience: 5 years

 

Prior to last season, Williams was used almost exclusively on special teams, where the former All-American sprinter was able to leverage his speed into regular playing time as a gunner on punts and kickoffs.

All reports indicate that Williams is now fully recovered from the injury that ended his season last year, but we’ll have to wait and see if he still has the speed and explosiveness that helped him break into the NFL in the first place.

CAROLINA PANTHERS CORNERBACK DEPTH

  • James Bradberry, 1 year experience
  • Daryl Worley, 1 year experience
  • Captain Munnerlyn, 8 years experience (injured)
  • Corn Elder, Rookie (Drafted, 5th round) (injured)
  • Cole Luke, Rookie (Undrafted)
  • Teddy Williams, 5 years experience
  • Jeff Richards, Rookie (AFL & CFL experience)
  • Zach Sanchez, 1 year experience
  • Devonte Johnson, 1 year practice squad experience

 

Bradberry, Worley and Munnerlyn have the starting outside corner and nickel spots all but locked up, but the competition behind them is wide open.

Carolina will likely only retain two or three backup cornerbacks out of the six that are currently on the 90-man roster.

Williams made some impressive plays during OTAs and briefly filled in for an injured Bradberry on the first team. However, he seems to have cooled down in recent weeks, leaving room for some of the younger guys to surpass him on the depth chart.

Corn Elder has managed to turn some heads in training camp and may have been the top choice as the backup outside corner, but a patella stress fracture will keep him out for at least a month.

Munnerlyn has also been sidelined recently, giving undrafted free agent Cole Luke a chance to cement himself as second-choice nickel.

As long as Williams doesn’t have any lingering issues from his injury, his utility on special teams should help give him the edge if none of the newcomers can impress enough in preseason to take the spot away from him.

Odds to make 53-man roster: 75%

 

The Panthers kick off week 1 of the NFL’s preseason slate tonight against Houston, airing live on NFL Network, followed by another chance to see Williams in action on national TV next week against Tennessee.

ATLANTA FALCONS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

(all times Central)

Wednesday, Aug. 9
Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers, 6:30 p.m. (NFL Network)

Saturday, Aug. 19
Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans, 2 p.m. (NFL Network)

Thursday, Aug. 24
Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Thursday, Aug. 24, 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 31
Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers, 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Sep. 1, 3:00 p.m.