1) DT Dwayne Hendricks
– Hendricks made a splash last week when he notched a pair of sacks against the Jaguars, leading to high praise from Tom Coughlin. Of the on-and-off practice squad member, the head coach said, “If you’re foolish enough to think that he’s not going to make you look bad, you’re ridiculous.” Coughlin also added that Hendricks plays like he practices and he did “very well for himself” in training camp.
The splash he made soon turned into a wave this week when a run of injuries to the defensive front made Hendricks that much more important. He’s been around the organization since 2009 and is on the verge of his best opportunity yet. Let’s see how he handles it. 2) WR Rueben Randle
– Coming back from Albany, things have ratcheted up a notch at the Timex Performance Center. Rookies are inching closer to their first official NFL snap, but they need to soak up what they can in the preseason. All signs point to Randle contributing immediately, but the Jets secondary will be a good test to gauge his status. Yes, it’s preseason. But first teamers will see more snaps in the second preseason game, meaning increased competition. 3) WR Jerrel Jernigan
– You could put him on this list each week. Jernigan made impressive plays in training camp, but it’s all about making it work on game day. He had a setback last week when he muffed a punt and Jacksonville recovered deep in Giants territory. Coaches hoped that problem had been resolved, but Jernigan is still a young player. One mistake in a preseason game won’t lead to a total judgment, Coughlin said on Thursday.
He’ll also be looking for a breakout of sorts in the passing game. The 2011 third-round draft pick was thrown to twice last week but failed to record a reception. 4) CB Jayron Hosley
– The rookie’s first preseason game was going according to plan with a pair of tackles, a sack, and a 20-yard punt return. But this year’s third-round pick later muffed a punt and the Jaguars recovered. Like Jernigan, he’s a young player and mistakes are made. From a defensive standpoint to special teams, he’s definitely a player to keep an eye on as he hopes to make a splash as a rookie. 5) LB Mark Herzlich
– After a vigorous offseason training regimen, Herzlich’s camp went as well as it possibly could. He looks big and fast. The competition with Chase Blackburn
at middle linebacker is coming to a head, making the position that much deeper.