With the NFL season fast approaching and 53-man rosters confirmed, former Blue Devils are gearing up for their Week One games. The Blue Zone takes a look at their prospects this year:
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
After a mediocre 2021 campaign plagued by injuries to his receiving corps, Jones looks to bounce back in a critical 2022 season. With the Giants declining his fifth-year option, the former Blue Devil will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022-2023 season if New York doesn't offer him another contract.
This past offseason, the Giants made some moves. They brought in a new head coach and coordinators, as well as bolstered the receiving core with talent like David Sills, who Jones has already taken a liking to. With all these changes, Jones has significant upside in 2022.
After three years of underperforming as New York’s starting quarterback, this season could make or break Jones’s career. If he doesn’t improve, he may find himself without a starting job at the end of the season.
Noah Gray, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Gray enters the 2022 season with a promising outlook. Though his numbers last year were limited as he only posted seven catches for 36 yards and one touchdown, this season is looking brighter for Gray. With the departure of Tyreek Hill, the lack of a clear star receiver on the Chiefs and Blake Bell out for at least the first four weeks, Kansas City may lean heavily on two tight end offensive sets, giving Gray the opportunity to be featured in a bigger way.
Though Travis Kelce will still remain the Chiefs’ primary pass-catching tight end, expect Gray to be present in goal line and play-action situations. Additionally, if Travis Kelce were to miss any time, particularly early in the season, Gray would fill in as the Chiefs’ starting tight end.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Buffalo Bills
Crowder finds himself on a Bills squad this season that is seriously lacking in the receiver room. Besides Stefon Diggs, there’s no clear second wide receiver to take the remaining targets. While Gabriel Davis is officially listed ahead of Crowder on the depth chart, the fourth-round pick out of UCF has not done much to prove his role as an every-down receiver, but instead is used more in goal line situations. Crowder brings a different type of experience: He is a former starting slot receiver with every-down viability.
Expect Crowder and Isaiah Mckenzie to split snaps in the slot position, at least to start out the season. However, if Crowder can stay healthy —which is not a guarantee, as he has missed at least four games in each of the past two seasons—he should garner a fair amount of targets and have a solid first season with the Bills.
Veterans look to solidify roles on new teams
The 2022 offseason ended with many former Blue Devils finding themselves on new teams. Laken Tomlinson, a former first round pick, is now on the New York Jets alongside Michael Carter II and Thomas Hennessy. Center Patrick Lucas and rookie cornerback Josh Blackwell will join the Chicago Bears for the upcoming year. Victor Dimukeje retains his roster spot on the Arizona Cardinals while Chris Rumph II will start his second year with the Los Angeles Chargers and Deon Jackson remains with the Indianapolis Colts.
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