As Ole Miss football fans we waited for the end of preseason to see if a number of NFL Rebels would make final rosters but some didn’t have to worry.
Saturday, as Ole Miss football kicked off its 2018 season, Rebels fans we were excited finally being able to watch the Rebels in action. While we watched our Rebels find success we were also waiting and watching, along with at least 31 NFL Rebels, to see which former Ole Miss players would make the initial 53-man roster of their respective teams. Today at 4pm is the deadline for all NFL teams to have their initial 53-man rosters submitted to the league.
Thanks to the 31 NFL Rebels who were playing in the 2018 NFL Preseason there was a steady supply of former Rebels getting snaps. Naturally, the NFL preseason is not a chance to see many starters get significant playing time. However, there are a number of NFL Rebels who did and performed well. Of course, there were also those who were sure make the final 53-man roster and those who were waiting to see if they did.
What We Saw In Preseason
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The 2018 NFL Preseason did allow us to see a few Rebels have some success in hopes of making their teams regular season roster. We watched as former Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly shook up the Denver Broncos depth chart in the preseason. Thru four games Kelly went 40 of 60 for 463 yards passing with 3 TDs, 2 INTs and a 92.6 passer rating.
Before Thursday night, when Kelly had a sub par first half against the Cardinals, Elway had solidified the No.2 spot belonged to Kelly and indicated he would remain there thru the start of the 2018 regular season which begins next week. The Broncos made sure to hang on to Chad Kelly for their initial 53-man roster while he also hangs on to the No.2 spot on the depth chart over Paxton Lynch.
We also watched as former Rebels running back Jordan Wilkins worked thru the NFL preseason and saw significant snaps out of the Indianapolis Colts backfield. Wilkins had 27 carries for 75 yards thru the preseason sharing the bulk of carries with Christine Michael. The Colts have serious depth issues with Marlon Mack slowed by an injury and Robert Turbin’s four-week regular season suspension. Jordan Wilkins showed enough durability to make the Colts initial 53-man roster.
Other Rookie NFL Rebels
Former Rebels DT/DE Breeland Speaks had a good preseason with the Chiefs. Speaks finished out the preseason with 6 tackles with 4 coming solo at the LB position. From what we saw Speaks is a good run-stopper who still needs some development which will come. So far coach Andy Reid has seemed to be pleased with his 2nd round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Speaks if given time will be a stud for the Chiefs defense and with his work ethic Speaks should find it sooner rather than later.
Former Rebels and now Carolina Panthers DE Marquis Haynes is another player who had a good rookie preseason. Haynes finished the preseason with 4 tackles all solo and 1 sack. The Panthers clearly want speed off the end and we all know Marquis Haynes has that on lock. Haynes is another rookie who needs more time in the defense to learn more technique. The real upside for Haynes is a player who wants to get better and will work his butt off to get there. Haynes made the Panthers initial 53-man roster.
More Experienced Rebels
New York Giants and former Rebels tight-end Evan Engram finished his second preseason making 5 receptions for 36 yards. Engram who suffered a concussion in the Giants final preseason game is expected to have another big season in 2018. In his rookie season Engram had 65 receptions for 722 yards and 6 TDs. OHT will continue to watch for news concerning Engram’s status for the Giants season opener.
Former Rebels DT Robert Nkemdiche of the Arizona Cardinals just finished his 3rd preseason in the NFL. While Robert hasn’t developed as quickly as the Cardinals may have hoped for he continues to show the athleticism which drew Arizona’s attention to the first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Nkemdiche played in 12 games for the Cardinals in 2017 so his noticeable absence in the preseason points to him being saved for the season.
Minnesota Vikings and former Rebels wide-receiver Laquon Treadwell us entering his third season and 2018 could be his breakout year. The third year does seem to be a charm for Treadwell so we’ll watch to see how does in the 2018 regular season. Only targeted 6 times in the preseason, Treadwell made 6 receptions for 55 yards with 3 of those receptions resulting in first downs. Look for Treadwell to be in the WR rotation if he remains consistent and productive.
Some Solid Seasoned Rebels
Former Rebels and Indy Colts wide-receiver Donte Moncrief is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Moncrief finished the preseason tied for second among Jags WRs with 8 catches and led the Jags with 106 receiving yards. Donte Moncrief in the Jags offense as a target for QB Blake Bortles will be exciting to watch this season. Moncrief provides the Jags with another top receiving option in their passing game and Moncrief has very reliable hands.
New York Giants and former Rebels quarterback Eli Manning just finished his 14th preseason in the NFL. Eli saw some duty on the field in the preseason and finished completing 21 of 30 passes for 214 yards. While Eli was the only Giants QB to not throw a TD in the preseason he did lead with a 7.1 yards per completion and a 90.1 passer rating. Could this be Eli Manning’s last season in the NFL? We don’t know but a good 2018 season could point towards the former NFL Iron Man being around at least one more season.
Former Rebels wide receiver Mike Wallace is now entering his 10th season as a NFL Rebel. In 2018 Wallace is in his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Wallace had 1 reception for 3 yards in the preseason and it is expected he will become a major target for the Eagles in the regular season. Wallace provides the Eagles with a solid route runner with blazing speed and incredibly reliable hands.
Expect More NFL Rebels Updates
Even though the NFL initial 53-man roster deadline has now passed there are still 25 NFL Rebels on active rosters. Of course, that leaves 6 Rebels who are waiting and watching in hopes of being picked up by other teams or making practice squads. Over the next week it is highly likely many of the initial rosters may change as players are being picked up off waivers. OHT will watch over the next few days and keep our readers updated once the dust has settled. Good luck to all the NFL Rebels on a great season. Hotty Toddy!