8 players already standing out during training camp

By Vincent Frank
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Training camps are officially under way around the NFL. Some teams held their first practice on Thursday with others getting going the next two days.

It’s an exciting time around the league. Young players being given opportunities to prove their worth. Coaches evaluating what they have on the roster in the lead up to the preseason.

Despite camp still being in its infancy, there are a number of players who have already stood out. Here, we take a look at eight of them.

Kalen Ballage, running back, Miami Dolphins

This former fourth-round pick from Arizona State impressed Miami big time during the offseason. In fact, Ballage has been taking first-team reps over the better known Kenyan Drake during the early stages of camp. He has a real good chance of earning the starting running back job in South Beach. That’s no small thing given that Drake has been bandied about as a potential breakout candidate this season. 

Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, Cleveland Browns

Beckham took Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward to school in his first ever training camp practice with Cleveland on Thursday. The All-Pro pass catcher continues to impress with amazing catch after amazing catch. It’s not a surprise that OBJ is doing things on the practice field. He remains one of the most-talented receivers in the game. With that said, it must be a pleasant sight for quarterback Baker Mayfield and Beckham’s new Browns teammates.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers

We previously focused on this second-year receiver during the offseason. Green Bay is going to make him a major aspect of its offense under first-year head coach Matt LaFleur. If the start of camp is any indication, Valdes-Scantling is more than ready to make an impact. Reports from Wisconsin indicate that MVS is already ahead of Equanimeous St. Brown for the starting job opposite Davante Adams.

Daniel Jones, quarterback, New York Giants

Will this rookie No. 6 overall pick unseat two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning as a rookie? Don’t bank on it. But Jones is already showing out during the early stages of training camp. He’s made throws that Manning could only imagine. Arm talent has never been an issue here. We’re also going to have to wait until real game action in the preseason, but the Giants have to be impressed by what they’ve seen from the Duke product during the early stages of camp.

Bradley Roby, cornerback, Houston Texans

Roby signed a mere one-year, $10 million contract with Houston after bombing out as a member of the Denver Broncos following some initial success. Still only 27 years old, there’s some optimism here. Roby displayed that during Friday’s practice session, picking off Deshaun Watson on a pass would have been returned for a touchdown in real game action. He has a real opportunity to start in Houston this season. And if the former first-round pick plays well, it could lead to a lucrative long-term deal next offseason.

Miles Sanders, running back, Philadelphia Eagles

One of the most underrated rookies in the NFL, Sanders is already displaying the traits that could make him a three-down back for the Eagles. He has the agility, speed and physicality to dominate at the next level. Philadelphia’s defense found this out and then some during the first couple practices this week. In fact, Sanders started getting first-team reps just two plays into Philadelphia’s initial practice. That tells us how the team feels about him.

Derrius Guice, running back, Washington Redskins

Coming off a torn ACL, Guice was a full go for Washington’s training camp. The former LSU standout didn’t disappoint, displaying some early rhythm with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Talent has never been an issue for the former second-round pick. He remains one of the best young backs in the game. If Guice can consistently show this type of ability as training camp continues, he could ultimately earn Washington’s starting job over future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson.

Greedy Williams, cornerback, Cleveland Browns

It was a shock to see Williams fall completley out of the first round of April’s draft. Considered by most to be a top-15 pick, the former LSU cover guy lasted all the way to Cleveland with the 46th pick. It led to many concluding he was the steal of the draft. If Williams’ first couple training camp practices as a rookie are any indication, he could prove everyone right. Here, we see Williams jumping Odell Beckham Jr. for an interception. That type of play-making ability has been on full display thus far during camp. It could lead to a starting role opposite Denzel Ward as a rookie.