Coming off a record-setting NFL Draft, five former SEC stars are already shining bright. With NFL preseason games getting cranked up and the season right around the corner, maybe football Sundays will be even better than they were before, considering so many fresh and known SEC faces will be now starting on Sunday.
Specifically for the preseason, here are five who have stood out thus far:
Tyrann Mathieu. Arizona Cardinals (LSU)
Tyrann Mathieu, who was a third-round pick, has been arguably the Cardinals’ biggest playmaker during practice. That carried over into his first preseason game when he collected a 12-yard sack, caused an incomplete pass on a big hit and had a 24-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. Looks like Mathieu is making an enormous impression at the next level already, which is even more impressive considering he sat out the 2012 season.
Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (Texas A&M)
Michael carried 16 times for 89 yards in his preseason debut, with 66 yards coming in the second half. Pete Carrol said, via The News Tribune, “He’s got a long way to go, but he ran hard, looked quick and made some guys miss.”
Damontre Moore, New York Giants (Texas A&M)
Moore has been impressive all preseason for the Giants, and he blocked a punt during the Steelers game that set up the Giants at the 5-yard line. He also notched three tackles, a couple pressures and one quarterback hit all in the first half. If he keeps this up, he’ll be in the rotation with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka.
Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns (LSU)
Mingo impressed during his debut. He collected two quarterback hits and a sack, although the sack was negated by a penalty. Nonetheless, Mingo and his lanky frame should have a great rookie season. Teammate D’Qwell Jackson on Mingo, via The Plains Dealer, “I watched him play every play, and he’s got a knack for getting after that quarterback. He has a motor, and that’s something you can’t teach.”
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings (Tennessee)
Patterson, along with Clemson first-round pick DaAndre Hopkins, were the most exciting players on the field Friday night. Patterson averaged 20.8 yards on five touches, and teammates and coaching raved about his ability. Head coach Leslie Frazier on Patterson, via Fox Sports North: “That’s exactly what you want out of a rookie playing wide receiver in our league. He’s going to be hungry coming back, now we just have to keep feeding him, helping him continue to grow.”
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