While former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill is heading into his second NFL season, Thursday night presents the first opportunity for him to earn game-action snaps in the New Orleans Saints' offense.
Hill and the Saints will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at 5 p.m. MDT in Week 1 of the NFL preseason. The former Cougar — who played all of the 2017 preseason with Green Bay before being waived and picked up by New Orleans — will be in the spotlight, as he and veteran Tom Savage try to earn the upper hand to back up All-Pro QB Drew Brees.
“Oh yeah, I'm fired up about it. We've talked about this several times, that this has really been my first opportunity to play quarterback in this offense," Hill said during Saints media availability Monday, according to the team website. "I’m fired up about that, and I’m excited for the opportunity and challenge.”
Hill and Savage understand the importance of showing well during the preseason, with cutdowns to the 53-man regular-season roster looming less than four weeks away.
“I'm just treating (it) like a normal game. It's all I can control. I'm going to go out there and execute my job and do what I can do and all the other stuff is out of my control," Savage said during Monday's press availability.
The first week of the NFL preseason could also be pivotal for a pair of running backs who played collegiately in-state. Former Utah back Devontae Booker is listed atop the Denver Broncos' depth chart at RB heading into the team's Saturday matchup with Minnesota, while former BYU ball carrier Jamaal Williams is No. 1 at running back on Green Bay's depth chart heading into the Packers' game against Tennessee on Thursday.
For both Booker and Williams, strong performances could help them in the race to become the main ball carrier for their respective teams when the regular season hits. Likewise, struggles could open the way for players further down the depth chart.
Booker's biggest competition for Denver's starting spot is rookie Royce Freeman out of Oregon, while Williams is going against fellow second-year back Aaron Jones, who is suspended for the first two weeks of the regular season, and fifth-year back Ty Montgomery to lead the Packers' attack.
Those three are hardly the only locals playing over the next three days. Here's a look at each of the 84 Utah ties on active NFL rosters and when their teams play this weekend:
All times Mountain Time
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants, 5 p.m. (NFL Network)
- Micah Hannemann (BYU and Lone Peak High), DB, No. 35
- Nate Orchard (Utah and Highland High), OLB/DL, No. 44
- New York
- Hunter Sharp (Utah State), WR, No. 15
Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills, 5 p.m.
- Tyler Larsen (Utah State and Jordan High), OL, No. 69
- Jared Norris (Utah), LB, No. 52
- Kaelin Clay (Utah), WR/PR, No. 15
- Taron Johnson (Weber State), CB, No. 24
- Star Lotulelei (Utah, Snow College and Bingham High), DT, No. 98
- De’Ondre Wesley (BYU), OT, No. 74
Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals, 5 p.m.
- Kylie Fitts (Utah), OLB, No. 49
- Patrick Scales (Utah State and Weber High), LS, No. 48
- Nick Vigil (Utah State and Fremont High), LB, No. 59
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles, 5 p.m.
- Brian Allen (Utah), CB, No. 29
- Haloti Ngata (Highland High), DT, No. 94
New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars, 5 p.m.
- New Orleans
- Taysom Hill (BYU), QB, No. 7
- Marcus Williams (Utah), S, No. 43
- Hunter Dimick (Utah and Syracuse High), DL, No. 79
- Sealver Siliga (Utah and Copper Hills High), DT, No. 98
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins, 5 p.m.
- Tampa Bay
- Stevie Tu’ikolovatu (Utah and East High), DE, No. 96
- Isaac Asiata (Utah and Spanish Fork High), OL, No. 68
- Jalen Davis (Utah State), CB, No. 1
- John Denney (BYU), LS, No. 92
Washington Redskins at New England Patriots, 5:30 p.m.
- Kapri Bibbs (Snow College), RB, No. 35
- Tony Bergstrom (Utah and Skyline High), OL, No. 66
- Alex Smith (Utah), QB, No. 11
- Fish Smithson (Highland High), CB, No. 37
- Zach Vigil (Utah State and Clearfield High), LB, No. 56
- New England
- Harvey Langi (BYU, Utah and Bingham High), LB, No. 48
- Eric Rowe (Utah), CB, No. 25
- Kyle Van Noy (BYU), LB, No. 53
Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens, 5:30 p.m. (KYMU)
- Los Angeles
- Dominique Hatfield (Utah), CB, No. 36
- McKay Murphy (Weber State and Lone Peak High), DT, No. 61
- JoJo Natson (Utah State), WR/PR, No. 19
- Kendal Thompson (Utah), WR, No. 15
- Bronson Kaufusi (BYU and Timpview High), DE, No. 92
- Kai Nacua (BYU), S, No. 31
- Eric Weddle (Utah), S, No. 32
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers, 6 p.m.
- Luke Falk (Logan High), QB, No. 11
- LeShaun Sims (Southern Utah), CB, No. 36
- Xavier Su’a-Filo (Timpview High), OG, No. 76
- Jason Thompson (Utah), S, No. 32
- Green Bay
- Marwin Evans (Utah State), S, No. 25
- Kyler Fackrell (Utah State), LB, No. 51
- Devante Mays (Utah State), RB, No. 32
- Jamaal Williams (BYU), RB, No. 30
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m.
- Josh Thornton (Southern Utah), CB, No. 36
- Kansas City
- Algernon Brown (BYU and Skyline High), FB, No. 30
- Jordan Devey (Snow College and American Fork High), OL, No. 65
- Marcus Kemp (Layton High), WR, No. 19
- Daniel Sorensen (BYU), S, No. 49 (he suffered a knee injury earlier this week and is expected to miss significant time)
- Kerwynn Williams (Utah State), RB, No. 25
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers, 8 p.m. (NFL Network)
- Tre’von Johnson (Weber State and Hunter High), LB, No. 58
- Dalton Schultz (Bingham High), TE, No. 86
- San Francisco
- Pita Taumoepenu (Utah and Timpview High), LB, No. 55
- Fred Warner (BYU), LB, No. 48
- Joe Williams (Utah), RB, No. 32
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks, 8 p.m.
- Dres Anderson (Utah), WR, No. 83
- Tomasi Laulile (BYU), DT, No. 66
- Robert Turbin (Utah State), RB, No. 33
- Maurice Alexander (Utah State), S, No. 35
- Ricky Ali’ifua (Utah State), DE, No. 61
- Bobby Wagner (Utah State), LB, No. 54
Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets, 5:30 p.m. (NFL Network)
- Colby Pearson (BYU), WR, No. 84
- Derrick Shelby (Utah), DE, No. 90
- Salesi Uhatafe (Utah), OG, No. 62
- New York
- Jonah Trinnaman (BYU, Snow College and American Fork High), WR, No. 9
Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders, 8:30 p.m. (NFL Network)
- Ezekiel Ansah (BYU), DE, No. 94
- Miles Killebrew (Southern Utah), S, No. 35
- Nevin Lawson (Utah State), CB, No. 24
- James Cowser (Southern Utah and Davis High), DE/LB, No. 47
- Dallin Leavitt (Utah State and BYU), S, No. 45
- Donald Penn (Utah State), OT, No. 72 (currently on physically unable to perform list)
- Raysean Pringle (Southern Utah), CB, No. 43
Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos, 7 p.m. (ABC/NFL Network)2 comments on this story
- Mike Needham (Southern Utah and Desert Hills), LB, No. 49
- Garett Bolles (Utah, Snow College and Westlake High), OT, No. 72
- Devontae Booker (Utah), RB, No. 23
- J.J. Dielman (Utah), OG, No. 64
- Jordan Leslie (BYU), WR, No. 19
- Tim Patrick (Utah), WR, No. 81
- Jeremiah Poutasi (Utah), OT, No. 74
Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals, 8 p.m. (KUCW)
- Los Angeles
- Michael Davis (BYU), CB, No. 43
- Sam Tevi (Utah), OT, No. 69
- Pasoni Tasini (Utah), DT, No. 65
- Andrew Vollert (Weber State), TE, No. 89