There’s only one week of preseason ball left before it’s the real thing and the pressure is mounting for players all across the NFL who are still fighting for roster positions. Some are beginning to separate themselves from the pack including a handful from the FCS. Who were they last week?
Carlos Washington Jr, RB - Atlanta (Southeastern Louisiana)
Atlanta’s Carlos Washington Jr. continued to get valuable reps in his second preseason game in the hopes of showing the Falcons he’s worthy of a roster spot. Against Cincinnati on Friday evening, Washington got five touches that went for 15 yards and the team’s only touchdown. He also caught three passes for 23 yards. On a night where the Atlanta offense was... for the most part... stagnant, Washington was a bright spot. Was it enough for the coaches to keep him around? He’ll have one more week to prove it but he’s had a noteworthy preseason so far.
Andrei Iosivas, WR - Cincinnati (Princeton)
After an impressive first week at wideout for the Bengals, Andrei Iosivas amped it up for Cincy this time out. The sixth-round draft pick led the team in targets (10), receptions (5) and receiving yards (55) in Atlanta. Iosivas continued to showcase his athletic skills in his ability to get open and beat defenders down the field. He still has yet to find the end zone but it feels like that’s coming in short order. Now with a pair of productive outings under his belt, Iosivas should be a favorite to make the final cuts. We’ll see what he does in Cincinnati’s final exhibition game against Washington next week.
Titus Leo, DE - Indianapolis (Wagner)
Colts defensive end Titus Leo put his name out there in a big way on Saturday afternoon. The Wagner product went off against the Bears for seven tackles, coming in second on Indy’s defense. He also got in on a PBU and was able to register a sack. It was a definite spike in production from a quiet Week 1 and now Leo has the Colts and their fans talking. With one game to go, the sixth-round pick has a real shot of getting himself a spot on the final roster now.
Jaleel McLaughlin, RB - Denver (Youngstown State)
Jaleel McLaughlin keeps rising onto the scene in Denver and, after his performance against the 49ers last weekend, he should have a spot on the depth chart all but locked up. McLaughlin now has three touchdowns this preseason with two of them coming last Saturday. He carried the ball seven times for 45 yards and a score against San Francisco while also catching two passes, one of which went for another TD. No former FCS rookie is seeing the amount of success so far as McLaughlin. Expect Denver head coach Sean Peyton to give him even more action in the preseason finale this weekend.
Jaleel McLaughlin Rushing TD (2) pic.twitter.com/DvdLVZq4tP— NFL TD Videos (@NFLTDVideos2023) August 20, 2023
Jordan Jones, CB - LA Rams (Rhode Island)
He may have went undrafted back in April but here in August, Rams defensive back Jordan Jones is forcing folks to take notice. Coming in from Rhode Island, Jones put up five tackles in LA’s game against the Raiders, bringing his preseason total up to 10. Jones has led the Rams’ D in tackles in each of his first two games. He’s done a tremendous job so far in showing coaches he deserves a place after the final cuts and if he his last game is anything like his first two, he should be there when the regular season kicks off.
Patrick O’Connell, LB - Seattle (Montana)
Former Grizzly Patrick O’Connell got the nod to start for the Seahawks defense on Saturday night against Dallas and he made the most of the opportunity. O’Connell was a tackling machine for Seattle, registering seven stops (four of which were solo). Even when he wasn’t making tackles he was disrupting plays and making life difficult on Dallas. Now up to 12 tackles on the preseason, O’Connell has himself in prime position to land a spot. He and the Seahawks will take on Green Bay this Saturday.