The preseason gives some players a chance to solidify a roster spot and that's precisely what quarterback Nathan Rourke did in the Jacksonville Jaguars' 28-23 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL Preseason.
Rourke won't be moving ahead of backup C.J. Beathard on the depth chart anytime soon but he should feel good about his chances of sticking around in Jacksonville for the regular season. The Canadian-born passer played two seasons with the B.C. Lions in the CFL before signing with the Jags earlier this year.
Besides showcasing good accuracy and superb pocket awareness, Rourke was able to find his receivers for big gains despite the fact that they struggled to create separation at times He finished the game with a 52.9 percent completion rate for 153 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers.
While those numbers alone would help Rouke's case, it was that one completion where he put on display his escaping skills to find running back Qadree Wilson for a 31-yard catch that caught everyone's attention.
Heck, Patrick Mahomes caught wind of Rourke's ability to escape the pass rush to connect with Wilson. That said, Rourke wasn't the only Jaguars player that rose his stock against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the preseason. Here are three more who also helped themselves.
No. 3 Jaguars player whose stock went up vs. the Cowboys: Yasir Abdullah, OLB
Outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Allen are expected to cause disruption at the line of scrimmage in 2023. However, the Jags don't have much depth behind them and if either one has to miss time, Jacksonville could struggle to get to the quarterback. This is why the lack of depth in their pass rush rotation has been consistently brought up as one of their biggest weaknesses ahead of the regular season.
While outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson, a 2020 first-round pick, is running out of chances to live up to his draft billing, rookie Yasir Abdullah could come in and give the pass rush a boost, maybe. Against the Cowboys, Abdullah was consistently around the ball and didn't stop playing until the whistle was blown. His effort paid off as he finished the game with three total tackles and one sack.
Abdullah, a fifth-round pick in this year's draft, still needs to work on expanding his pass-rush repertoire before he can be counted on. But against the Cowboys, he showed he's putting in the work in case his number gets called during the regular season.