Jets vs. Bengals: 3 players to watch

Bilal Powell.

Preseason games can always be a challenge to view because, outside of the first quarter when the starters are in, much of the rest of the game is dominated by the second string and players hoping to make the squad. Here’s Metro New York’s primer on three names to watch in the second quarter and beyond (and no, not that Tim Tebow fellow):

1. Damon Harrison — The massive nose tackle out of tiny William Penn stands at 6-foot-3 and tips the scales at 339 pounds, but Harrison has been showing very well this camp. He’s proven to be more than a space eater as he provides pressure and is disruptive in the backfield. Raw and technically in need of some refinement, Harrison can make a statement to make the roster or the very least the practice squad with a solid display in these next four preseason games. He’s a project but his size and athletic ability can’t be taught.

2. Bilal Powell — Last year’s fourth-round pick, Powell had just 13 carries for 21 rushing yards as a rookie. Powell has impressed in training camp and with the departure of LaDainian Tomlinson this offseason, Powell’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield could be a major plus. Durability was always his issue at Louisville, but he can be a nice addition to the backfield if he stays healthy. With rumors of the Jets being interested in adding another running back to the mix, Powell can quiet that talk beginning Friday night.

3. Hayden Smith — The learning curve begins in earnest with Hayden Smith’s debut against the Bengals as the former rugby star suits up for a competitive game of football for the first time. Smith has never played football on any level outside of practice this spring and summer with the Jets. There will be penalties and miscues but provided his errors don’t get any of his teammates killed, it will be a part of the progression for a player whose skill set is certainly intriguing.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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