By K.J. Momberg @K_Momberg on August 17, 2014
The Jacksonville Jaguars lost a nail-biter to the Chicago Bears 20-19 in their second preseason game of 2014. While the Jags may have lost, it is becoming evident that with plenty of young talent, this team is going to be much more competitive than it has been in years past. With that said, here are five players who stood out in the Jaguars' loss to the Bears.
This is an obvious choice, but for anyone who has been following the Jaguars this preseason, the talk in Jacksonville is all about rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. With each passing game, the young signal-caller is making it harder and harder for the coaches to sit him behind Chad Henne. Through two games, Bortles has completed 18-of-28 pass attempts for 277 yards and no turnovers.
Second-year cornerback Dwayne Gratz could be a player to watch for the Jaguars in 2014. Gratz has played well in the preseason and appears poised to have a breakout campaign. Against the Bears, he recorded six tackles and looked impressive against the run and in coverage. He has all the makings of a complete cornerback.
With each passing week, rookie linebacker Telvin Smith is proving that he is going to be a force in head coach Gus Bradley's defense. The fifth-round pick has more speed than any linebacker on the roster and appears to have a knack for making big plays. He was credited with just two tackles against the Bears but was responsible for the tipped ball that led to an interception by safety Josh Evans.
For the second consecutive week, undrafted rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns led the team in receiving, further solidifying his place on the 53-man roster. Through two games, the former University of Miami wideout has six receptions for 117 yards.
Former first-round pick Tyson Alualu is thriving in his new role as a backup behind former Seattle Seahawk Red Bryant. Against the Bears, Alualu recorded his second sack in as many games. That is already more than the 1.5 sacks Alualu put up during the entire 2013 regular season.
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