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Under-the-radar rookies poised to impress during preseason

  • By Pat Kirwan NFL.com
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US Presswire
Browns TE Jordan Cameron could be the next player with basketball roots to make a successful NFL transition.


Even though it's early in training camp, some young players once thought of as camp bodies or practice-squad candidates are starting to make strong impressions.

On my camp tour, a number of rookies have stood out. Here are the players poised to take advantage of their particular situation and make a name for themselves in the preseason.

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Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns, fourth-rounder

This former basketball player from USC has already demonstrated he can block and run outstanding routes. Cameron should be able to deliver the same kind of performance Jimmy Graham, also a former basketball player, did for the Saints as a rookie.

Baron Batch, RB, Steelers, seventh-rounder

Batch might have been the most impressive guy I have seen at camp so far in terms of toughness. He's an outstanding pass protector and receiver for the third-down package.

Jonas Mouton, LB, Chargers, second-rounder

Mouton might not start right away but he's turned his coach's head with some of the ferocious tackles he's delivered. He will be an immediate factor on special teams and will do more by season's end.

DeMarco Sampson, WR, Cardinals, seventh-rounder

When veteran receivers and assistant coaches tell you to keep your eye on a rookie when you get to camp there's a reason. Sampson's a big, strong receiver who has a chance to make this team. He looked good driving off the line of scrimmage and getting into the vertical game.

Casey Matthews, LB, Eagles, fourth-rounder

When I watched Matthews at the Senior Bowl, I felt he would be outstanding on special teams and as a potential backup. He's already exceeded those expectations, calling the defense from the middle linebacker spot.

Roy Helu, RB, Redskins, fourth-rounder

Mike Shanahan is famous for finding 1,000-yard runners in the middle rounds, and he might have done it again with Helu.

Sione Fua, DT, Panthers, third-rounder

Fua is benefiting from a team in rebuilding mode and an injury at his position. He'll get every chance to win a starting job, or at least be in a three-man rotation.

Jaiquawn Jarrett, S, Eagles, second-rounder

Jarrett is a kid who grew up in Brooklyn, in the hotbed of basketball, and excelled at Temple. Right now, he has a solid chance to start for the Eagles. He's a good tackler and extremely smart. Time will tell if he can cover in the matchup game offenses will throw at him.

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