Winners and Losers From NFL Preseason Week 3: The Aaron Rodgers-to-Garrett Wilson Connection Grows, While the Eagles and Bears Have QB2 Problems

    Aaron Rodgers-to-Garrett Wilson? Check. Marcus Mariota as the Eagles' QB2? Meh. Here are all the winners and losers from Week 3 of the NFL preseason.

    NFL preseason Week 3 is (nearly) in the books. While we still have one game to come on Sunday night, most teams have wrapped up their third and final week of exhibition action. Which players and position groups stood out over the weekend, and who failed to maximize their opportunities as clubs consider how to assemble their 53-man rosters?? Here are the winners and losers from Week 3 of the NFL preseason.

    NFL Preseason Week 3 Winners and Losers

    Winner | Aaron Rodgers, Garrett Wilson, and Mekhi Becton

    A little flick of the wrist from Aaron Rodgers leading to a touchdown reception for a wide receiver wearing No. 17? Where have we seen that before?

    Garrett Wilson looked like Rodgers’ new version of Davante Adams against the New York Giants on Saturday night, hauling in a fade route for a 14-yard score in the first quarter. The connection was a potential sign of things to come between the future Hall of Famer and reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

    “I got in, didn’t get hurt, scored,” Rodgers said after playing two series. “A good night.”

    Meanwhile, Mekhi Becton played 15 snaps against Big Blue, enough for him to secure the Jets’ starting right tackle job. Head coach Robert Saleh announced after the game that Becton — who’s missed most of the past two years with injuries — will line up at RT in Week 1.

    Winner | Will Grier, QB, Dallas Cowboys

    Will Grier knew his days with the Cowboys were numbered as soon as Dallas acquired fellow quarterback Trey Lance from the San Francisco 49ers on Friday night. With Dak Prescott, Cooper Rusher, and Lance all guaranteed spots on the Cowboys’ roster, Grier had nothing to lose against the Raiders.

    And he certainly put on a show.

    With Prescott serving as his offensive coordinator, Grier missed only six attempts, completing 29 of 35 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. But that’s not all! Grier also added 53 yards and two more scores on the ground.

    “For a preseason quarterback performance, that might be the best performance I’ve seen since probably 1999,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said after the game, according to PFN’s Jess Neverez.

    Although Grier may no longer be in Dallas’ plans, he put enough on tape to get looks from around the league.

    Loser | P.J. Walker, QB, Chicago Bears

    P.J. Walker played better in Week 3 than he did in Week 2, and he’s still probably going to make the Chicago Bears’ roster as a backup quarterback.

    That’s the good news.

    The bad news is that Walker was again outplayed by undrafted rookie free agent Tyson Bagent, whose mobility and playmaking ability has been on display in Chicago’s recent preseason games.

    Walker led his first touchdown drive of the preseason against the Buffalo Bills. Bagent threw an interception in the red zone (after TE Stephen Carlson dropped a would-be touchdown), but he later made up for the turnover by scrambling for a score.

    Bagent entered the game before Walker, as head coach Matt Eberflus — who suggested the Bears’ QB2 battle is still up in the air — wanted to see the Division II product work with Chicago’s second-team offense.

    Walker has $2 million guaranteed as part of the two-year deal he signed with the Bears this offseason, so he’s still likely to make Chicago’s 53-man roster. But it might be as the QB3.

    Winner | Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    The Los Angeles Chargers have been searching for a competent backup running back behind Austin Ekeler for some time, but they failed to add any further competition over the offseason. With Larry Rountree III waived, Joshua Kelly and Isaiah Spiller were competing to serve as Los Angeles’ RB2.

    Kelley may have secured the Bolts’ primary backup job on Friday night against the 49ers. While he handled only two carries, one of them happened to be a 75-yard touchdown.

    2022 fourth-round pick Isaiah Spiller is still around, and Los Angeles could always sign a free agent like Leonard Fournette or Kareem Hunt before the regular season. But for now, Kelley has a lock on No. 2 duties behind Ekeler.

    Loser | Marcus Mariota, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

    The Eagles gave Marcus Mariota a one-year, fully guaranteed $5 million contract to work as Jalen Hurts’ backup in 2023, but he’s been thoroughly outplayed by rookie fifth-round pick Tanner McKee during the preseason.

    Philadelphia would take on $1.9 million on dead money by releasing Mariota. Meanwhile, they probably don’t want to hand over their backup QB job to an unproven rookie as they try to defend their NFC title.

    Mariota should still make the Eagles’ roster, but he’s on thin ice. If Philadelphia can find another veteran signal-caller over the next few days, Mariota could be cut.

    Winner | Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Denver Broncos

    After showing out during the second half of the 2021 season, Albert Okwuegbunam was largely a forgotten man for the Broncos last season.

    The fourth-year tight end might not be in Denver’s plans this year, either. Sean Payton added former Saints TE Adam Trautman over the offseason, while Greg Dulcich is still around as the Broncos’ primary receiving tight end.

    But Albert O put up some good tape against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night, hauling in seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

    Even if Okwuegbunam doesn’t have a roster spot in Denver, the Broncos might be able to get something for him on the trade market. At the very least, Okwuegbunam will attract interest on the waiver wire if he’s cut.

    Loser | Jakeem Grant, WR, Cleveland Browns

    Injuries are always an unfortunate part of the preseason, and Jakeem Grant has suffered worse injury luck than most NFL players over the past two years.

    Grant, an All-Pro returner for the Miami Dolphins and Bears in 2021 and 2022, tore his Achilles last August after inking a three-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. On Saturday, Grant ruptured his patella tendon against the Kansas City Chiefs and will miss the entire 2023 campaign.

    Winner | Detroit Lions Rookie WRs

    Jameson Williams’ six-game gambling suspension and the Detroit Lions’ decision to waive recently-acquired wideout Denzel Mims opened a few slots on Detroit’s WR depth chart in advance of final cuts — and rookies Dylan Drummond and Antoine Green made the most of their opportunities on Saturday against the Carolina Panthers.

    MORE: Team-By-Team Tracker for Every NFL Roster Cut

    Drummond, an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Michigan, has been impressive throughout the summer. His standout performance culminated with a five-catch, 46-yard performance in Week 3 that likely secured him a place on the Lions’ roster.

    Green, Detroit’s seventh-round pick, showed off tantalizing speed on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater.

    With Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, and Marvin Jones Jr. as the Lions’ only other supporting options behind WR1 Amon-Ra St. Brown, Drummond and/or Green might have the chance to contribute early in the season.

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