12 things we learned from Friday's preseason games

On a late-August night featuring just two preseason tilts, Chase Daniel's ongoing preseason excellence is worth highlighting.

After Daniel kicked off the third quarter with a scoring drive in the Kansas City Chiefs' 14-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, he had thrown touchdowns on four consecutive preseason drives going back to last week.

He had completed 22 of 27 passes (81.5 percent) for 254 yards (9.4 YPA) and a passer rating of 145.5 on those four possessions, showing poise, instincts, high-end accuracy and toughness in the face of pressure.

Daniel's next two drives ended with a pair of perfectly thrown third-down drops, halting his scoring streak.

Football's version of fictional bush-league hero Crash Davis, Daniel has thrown for 21 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards across seven preseasons and a pair of strong Week 17 efforts against the Chargers.

In 366 combined preseason and regular-season attempts, Daniel has posted the following rate stats: completion percentage (65.0 percent), yards per attempt (7.4), touchdown-to-interception ratio (21:9) and passer rating (95.6).

Daniel's game film has been strong enough to land a spot on Around The NFL's "Making the Leap" countdown in the past.

Even if he's not the NFL's most physically gifted quarterback, Daniel has earned a chance to compete for a starting job when he reaches free agency next offseason.

Here's what else we learned in Thursday's preseason action:

  1. Alex Smith finally got the monkey off his back, connecting with Jeremy Maclin from two yards out after going nearly two full calendar years without a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. Like most of Daniel's accomplishments, however, it won't count on the back of his football card.
  1. Rookie Chris Conley saw a few reps with the Chiefs' first-team offense near the end of the first half. The speedy third-round pick is behind Albert Wilson in the battle for the No. 2 receiver job.
  1. Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham made sweet music on a 21-yard back-shoulder throw down the seam. Graham's three catches and 39 yards all came on the same field-goal drive in the second quarter. This connection is just warming up.
  1. The Seahawks' starting offensive line remains a concern. Wilson has been under consistent pressure the past two weeks.
  1. Rookie sensation Tyler Lockett led the Seahawks with 42 receiving yards, but did the majority of his damage with third-string quarterback R.J. Archer. Lockett failed to reel off a long return after racking up over 200 all-purpose yards in his preseason debut.
  1. Matt Ryan and the Falcons' first-team offense have been a picture of efficiency through two weeks, scoring touchdowns on all three possessions. Not bad for a quarterback missing his top tailbacks (Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman) and No. 2 receiver Roddy White.
  1. Leonard Hankerson was targeted on back-to-back goal-line passes and a third time inside the Jets' 20-yard line. Even when White returns, we expect Hankerson to have a significant role after playing under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Washington. Early in camp, the team's official website deemed Hankerson "the best wide receiver at Flowery Branch."
  1. It's bizarre to see the Falcons' first-string defense harassing opposing quarterbacks and swarming to the ball. Reborn under new coach Dan Quinn, former Bucs draft bust Adrian Clayborn and veteran defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux are making impact plays -- along with first-round rookie Vic Beasley.
  1. Jets first-round pick Leonard Williams made his presence felt with 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and three tackles for loss as Sheldon Richardson's replacement on the starting defensive line. Although Atlanta's backups were to blame in pass protection, Williams flashed some serious closing speed in the second quarter.
  1. Credit Jets rookie quarterback Bryce Petty with bouncing back strong after a forgettable preseason debut last week. Petty has the physical tools to play in the NFL, but will need at least a year to develop behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and/or Geno Smith.
  1. Brandon Marshall looks better with the Jets than he did while playing through an ankle injury in Chicago last season. He was Fitzpatrick's go-to receiver Friday night, hauling in four passes for a team-high 62 yards in a quarter and a half of action.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast caps the weeklong Fantasy Extravaganza by talking undervalued and overvalued QBs and everyone's draft philosophies.

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