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EMU in the NFL: Preseason Week 1
Dylan Drummond is an early fan favorite for the Detroit Lions.
NFL Preseason: Week 1
Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders (W vs. San Francisco, 34-7)
It’s just preseason, so there’s no point in risking injury for the Raiders and Maxx Crosby.
Crosby is one of the premier defensive stars in the NFL, he was listed at #17 of the NFL’s top 100 players heading into the year. This season will be Crosby’s fifth in the league ever since he was a 4th round draft pick by the team in 2019 (#106 overall). This season is also the second year on a contract extension he signed last year, valued at $98.98 million over four years ($53M guaranteed).
So no preseason, but there will be so much more time to spend talking about Crosby’s continued success in the NFL.
Dylan Drummond, Detroit Lions (W vs. NY Giants, 21-16)
Snap count, per PFF: 35 offensive snaps, 6 special teams
PFF grades: Offense 58.9, Special teams 63.6
Stats: 4 targets, 2 catches, 12 yards; 1 kick return, 19 yards
Is there anybody gaining more fanfare as an undrafted rookie than Dylan Drummond?
Drummond, undrafted out of EMU in April, has a good shot at making Detroit’s roster this year for his consistency as a receiver and ability to get the job done on special teams too. In Friday’s preseason game at Ford Field, Drummond only had two catches, but he was close to having a big one right before halftime. On fourth and goal, offensive coordinator dialed up a play during a timeout to have Drummond be the primary option, but the pass was broken up incomplete in the end zone.
From the Detroit Free Press:
“Lions receiver Jameson Williams was lined up far left. At the snap, Williams cut inside and crossed the field, as Drummond ran to the goal line and cut left.
Drummond had beaten cornerback Cor'Dale Flott, a 2022 third-rounder who appeared in 11 games with the Giants last season.
"I think I gave him a good move and ran to the corner,” Drummond said.
Nate Sudfeld, the Lions' backup quarterback, also recognized the coverage and lofted the ball to Drummond in the left corner. The ball was behind Drummond, and he had to stop, turn and jump for it. Drummond was a long jumper in high school.
As the ball arrived, Flott reached out and knocked it loose.
Incomplete. Turnover on downs.
“I should have made a better effort to pluck the ball away rather than wait for it to come to me,” Drummond said in the Lions' locker room after their 21-16 victory. “So I need to make that play for Nate.”
Drummond has done nothing but impress since he arrived at Lions camp.
“We see it,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said on Aug. 3. “He makes plays every day. He really, mentally, can play all the positions. He competes in special teams, and I would say he’s hard to ignore. He’s just hard to ignore. He just — he’s continuing to climb the depth chart, so he’s doing exactly what a guy like him has to do. He’s doing everything right. He rarely messes something up and if he does, he learns from it, he grows and it doesn’t happen again, so he’s doing a good job.”
So, even though Drummond didn’t come down with that ball in the end zone on Friday night — even though he didn’t score — it was an important moment.
Jose Ramirez, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (L vs. Pittsburgh, 27-17)
Snap count, per PFF: 3 defensive snaps, 8 special teams
PFF grades: Defense 57.4, Special teams 59.9
Pat O’Connor, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (L vs. Pittsburgh, 27-17)
Snap count, per PFF: 18 defensive snaps, 4 special teams
PFF grades: Defense 53.2, Special teams 43.4
Sidy Sow, New England Patriots (L vs. Houston, 20-9)
Snap count, per PFF: 46 offensive snaps, 1 special teams
PFF grades: Offense 49.4, Special teams 60.0
Sidy Sow, picked in the fourth round by the Patriots (#117 overall), got the start at right tackle in his first preseason game.
Chad Ryland, New England Patriots (L vs. Houston, 20-9)
3 kickoffs, 72.0 yards per attempt (1 return, 21 yards)
Chad Ryland, who spent his final graduate year with Maryland, was a 4th-round pick by New England (#112 overall) and it looks like he’ll be the kicker of the future after Nick Folk eventually leaves. Until then, he has a lot to learn from Folk, who was drafted into the league in 2007 and has been with the Pats since 2019.
Andrew Wylie, Washington Commanders (W at Cleveland, 17-15)
Snap count, per PFF: 21 offensive snaps, 1 special teams
PFF grades: Offense 45.4, Special teams 60.0
After Andrew Wylie’s shutdown performance in the Super Bowl, he signed a 3-year, $24-million deal with Washington, finally leaving Kansas City (and Patrick Mahomes). Wylie started at right tackle for his new team.
Thomas Odukoya, Tennessee Titans (L at Chicago, 23-17)
Snap count, per PFF: 24 offensive snaps, 4 special teams
PFF grades: Offense 42.6, Special teams 79.2
Mathew Sexton, Atlanta Falcons (W at Miami, 19-3)
Snap count, per PFF: 19 offensive snaps, 2 special teams
PFF grades: Offense 55.5, Special teams 60.1
Stats: 3 targets, 1 catch, 5 yards; 1 punt return, 6 yards
Sexton was able to make the move from the XFL to the NFL by signing with Atlanta two weeks ago. Sexton didn’t get a ton of opportunities in his first preseason game with Atlanta, hopefully, he’ll get more chances next time around.
Still, good on him to make the leap back into the NFL — it’s his fifth professional team signed with since he graduated from EMU in 2020. He was with the Steelers for a short time in 2021, was later signed then cut by Kansas City due to injury, and Atlanta is now the third NFL team to take a chance on him.