The Green Bay Packers are in Kansas City to face the Chiefs and wrap up the 2022 preseason schedule on Thursday night.
The exhibition contest game can be televised nationally on the NFL Network. While the Packers will be sitting veteran starters, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, coach Matt LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutekunst will still have plenty to watch during the final preseason.
Here are five things to watch Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium:
Rookies stand out
The Packers’ fourth-round picks – receiver Romeo Doubs and offensive lineman Zach Tom – both have a chance Thursday night to take another big step toward regular-season playing time. Can Doubs create more big plays for Jordan Love? Even Aaron Rodgers knows the rookie wide receiver – despite his ups and downs – is proving too talented to keep off the field. Tom has been solid at right tackle and could be a legitimate starting option if David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins aren’t ready for Week 1. Also: Packers second-round pick Christian Watson could debut in the preseason after taking 11-of-11 reps in practice this week. There is a chance he could make a big splash playing with Jordan Love.
Edge rusher battle
One last chance to see the backup outside linebackers in a game setting before the roster cuts. Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, Ladarius Hamilton, Kobe Jones and rookie Kingsley Enagbare (who is likely a roster player) have been disruptive at times during camp and the preseason, but this competition is still open. Who takes the opportunity on Thursday night? It’s possible two roster spots will be on the line for the preseason finale. Watch outside linebackers give the edge against the run, during one-on-one pass rushes and on special teams. Everything matters.
Undrafted rookies with a chance
There appear to be only two undrafted rookies with a chance to make the team: offensive tackle Caleb Jones and Tyler Goodson. Jones has been terrific as the second-team left tackle and could force the Packers to hold 10 offensive players if he’s strong again Thursday night. Players with his size and mobility are rare and worth developing long term. Goodson is trying to make the team as the third running back. He’s up against Patrick Taylor, who has more experience and is the more complete player. Goodson’s burst is a special feature and he can catch the ball out of the backfield, but he’ll need to do something significant on special teams to stick.
Secondary stock watch
Cornerback Kiondre Thomas and safety Micah Abernathy have put themselves in position to earn roster spots in the Packers secondary through the first two preseason games. They are the two highest-rated defensive players on Pro Football Focus so far this summer. Can a player like cornerback Rico Gafford or safety Innis Gaines make a late charge in Kansas City? While there’s no guarantee the Packers will keep six cornerbacks, the safety position isn’t settled and at least one roster spot is up for grabs.
Another step from Love?
Not only did Love show marked improvement from last year, he even showed week-to-week improvement in his second start of the preseason last Friday night against the Saints. Can the third quarterback continue to build momentum against the Chiefs? He plays with more determination and urgency, throwing with more zip and accuracy and shows a greater willingness to attack the center and extend plays with his feet. Maybe this is the game where Love plays well again and his young receivers finally make all the plays. The Packers could score a lot of points on Thursday night if that’s the case.
This story originally appeared on Packers Wire