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Underdogs in the NFL: Standouts from Week 1 of the 2021 Preseason

The open weekend of NFL Preseason featured some big performances by players from outside the Power 5.

Seattle Seahawks v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

Week 1 of the 2021 NFL preseason is in the books. As we all know, these game may not count, but they matter — especially to the guys trying to make a roster and eventually earn those big paychecks.

Players from outside the Power 5 — Underdogs, as we like to call them — are often the guys who need to show out most in these exhibition games. The talent is there, otherwise they aren’t in uniform. It’s the on-field production against top-level competition that the NFL wants to see before they make an investment in a player.

Here were some “Underdogs” who turned in some significant performances during Week 1 of the 2021 NFL Preseason.


Kristian Wilkerson, WR, Patriots (Southeast Missouri State)

Though Wilkerson’s final stat line doesn’t pop off the page (6 catches for 39 yards), the fact that he was targeted a team high 9 times is significant, considering New England’s receiving woes a season ago. Keep an eye on his usage moving forward.

Mason Kinsey, WR, Titans (Berry College)

Kinsey led the Titans in targets and receptions in their win over the Falcons. He caught all four passes thrown to him for a total of 51 yards.

Marquez Steveson, WR, Bills (Houston)

Stevenson looked the part of a formidable NFL wideout in his debut. He caught all three passes thrown his was for a total of 50 yards.

Craig Reynolds, RB, Lions (Kutztown)

Reynolds led Detroit’s rushing attack against the Bills, carrying the ball 6 times for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Chris Streveler, QB, Cardinals (South Dakota)

Steveler took most of the snaps for Arizona in their preseason opener against the Cowboys. He went 12-24 passing for 107 yards, but showed pretty good mobility in carrying the ball 10 times for 55 yards.

Rodney Adams, WR, Bears (South Florida)

Adams stated his opening case for a roster spot by hauling in 4 of the 6 passes that came his way for a total of 57 yards.

Kyle Lauletta, QB, Browns (Richmond)

The veteran took most of Cleveland’s snaps, turning in a solid outing. He went 19 for 27 for 212 yards and 2 touchdowns in the win over Jacksonville.

Davion Davis, WR, Browns (Sam Houston State)

Davis was on the receiving end of one of Lauletta’s touchdown passes. He caught 4 passes on the night for 56 yards and the touchdown.

Tanner Hudson, TE, Buccaneers (Southern Arkansas)

Hudson was targeted a team high 8 times, hauling in 5 catches for 50 yards against the Bengals.

Alex McGough, QB, Seahawks (Florida International)

McGough went 6 of 10 passing for 54 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball 3 times for 25 yards against the Raiders.

Trey Ragas, RB, Raiders (Louisiana)

The former Ragin’ Cajun led Las Vegas with 13 carries for 61 yards and a score on the ground. He also caught 3 passes for 20 yards in the win over the Seahawks.

Easton Stick, QB, Chargers (North Dakota State)

Stick was sharp and efficient with the snap he took against the Rams, completing all seven passes he attempted for 63 yards.