With the first week of preseason games in the books, a handful of recent NC State alums are impressing their new teams and taking advantage of training camp reps. Here are some of the young guys who have been impressive in training camp or are battling for spots.
Ryan Finley, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
NC State’s second all-time leading passer shone in his preseason debut. Battling with fourth-year quarterback Jeff Driskel for the Bengals’ second-string QB spot, Finley completed 13 of 18 passes for 109 yards, one touchdown and one interception during his four drives.
Finley’s lone touchdown pass was a 10-yard to wide receiver Jordan Ellis, who was wide open in the end zone. On his interception, Finley’s errant pass sailed over the head of his receiver right into the hands of defensive back Michael Hunter.
Jakobi Meyers, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
After going undrafted in the 2019 NFL draft, Meyers has opened eyes in training camp with his superb route running and sure hands. According to Doug Kyed of NESN, Meyers has been lining up with the first-team offense in practice and is quickly forming a solid rapport with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
In the Patriots’ first preseason game, Meyers torched the Lions for six receptions, 69 yards and two touchdowns in just over two quarters of play. Both of Meyers’ touchdowns came when he beat a cornerback on a slant across the middle and hauled in a contested catch. Meyers is shattering all expectations and is quickly nearing a lock to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster at the end of the preseason.
Kelvin Harmon, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins
NC State’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2003 has an uphill battle to climb in preseason after falling all the way to the sixth round in the draft. Harmon played just a handful of drives in the Redskins’ 30-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the first preseason game.
Harmon was targeted three times by Redskins third-string quarterback Josh Woodrum and hauled in two passes for 17 yards. There is still a long way to go in NFL preseason, and so far, Harmon is going to need some solid showings to secure a roster spot.
Nyheim Hines, Running Back, Indianapolis Colts
A strong showing in 2018 from Hines was more than enough to secure a roster spot for himself this season. Hines struggled in the Colts’ first preseason game, rushing six times for just one yard, but that likely isn’t any cause for concern.
Hines only played the first quarter, a sign that the Colts see him as a surefire contributor and someone they don’t want to risk unnecessary injury.
Jaylen Samuels, Running Back, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Wolfpack’s former all-purpose offensive weapon showcased his elite athleticism in the Steelers’ first preseason game, a 30-28 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Samuels averaged 10.5 yards per touch, rushing twice for 21 yards and catching one pass for nine yards. Samuels is a lock to make the Steelers’ roster and is most likely going to see an increase in playing time in 2019 as he impressed in limited action.
Germaine Pratt, Linebacker, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals’ third-round pick has struggled in training camp to show off the talent that made him a great player at NC State. Pratt was given limited snaps in the Bengals’ first game and racked up two solo tackles.
Pratt is nearly a lock to make the roster out of preseason, as the Bengals surely didn’t use a third-round pick on someone they foresee as a practice squad player.
Kentavius Street, Defensive End, San Francisco 49ers
In his first live-game action since tearing before the draft last season, Street had himself a game in limited action against the Dallas Cowboys. Street racked up 3.5 tackles, including two tackles for loss, in an impressive performance.
Street’s draft stock was considerably high before his knee injury dropped him to the fourth round. An excellent performance against the Cowboys showcased the abilities many teams saw before his injury, and if he keeps it up, he’ll be a lock to make the 49ers roster.