2022 NFL preseason: Patriots' Cole Strange is a top rookie to watch

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Patriots' Cole Strange is a top rookie to watch originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Football has returned to a screen near you and the rookies are ready to play.

This year's draft class has introduced some talented football prospects, and they are about to begin their football careers for the 2022-23 season. 

Fans are already turning their attention to when they will see their teams on the field in the regular season. But before that, the 2022 NFL preseason games begin Thursday evening with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders facing off in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. 

The Hall of Fame Game kicks off at 8:05 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBC and streamed on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock. 

Jacksonville and Las Vegas are the only teams that will play four preseason games on its schedule, while the rest of the league will have only three each.

NFL preseason is the first opportunity to see the rookies on the field, so here are 10 NFL rookies that you should be on the lookout for:

10. San Francisco 49ers - Drake Jackson, EDGE

Although Jackson fell to the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the speed rusher from USC still has a chance to make a name for himself in San Francisco. His athleticism will be his best chance to make his way through the interior of the offensive line. He possesses the skills to be an effective pass rusher in the future.

9. New England Patriots - Cole Strange, G

Strange, the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft, has a lot to prove to earn a starting role as a rookie for the Patriots. The interior blocker from Chattanooga has potential to play a solid game on the offensive line.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kenny Pickett, QB

Pickett is up for a fun ride as he works toward that QB1 spot in Pittsburgh, though the Steelers brought in Mitchell Trubisky as added competition. The 20th overall pick in the first round has the luxury of remaining in the same city and the same facility as he transitions into the NFL. The rookie has a perfect recipe for success ahead of the season. 

7. Chicago Bears - Kyler Gordon, CB

Gordon has a great opportunity to record starting time early in his rookie season for the Bears

The Washington product is a natural at his position, entering his professional career never allowing a receiving touchdown during his time in Washington. While he still looks to refine his skills, his natural athleticism puts him as a top player to look out for this season. 

6. New York Jets - Breece Hall, RB

Hall is entering his NFL professional career as a top running back selected in this year’s draft. The highly productive runner possesses the physical attributes to contribute for the Jets and be an elite back.

5. Philadelphia Eagles - Jordan Davis, DT

Davis is in a great position to single handedly be a factor in an NFC East division that features some high-profile running backs.

He’s part of a defensive tackle rotation that features two veterans in Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. The 13th overall pick is a talented interior defender with exceptional run-stopping skills. For Davis, and the Eagles, the future looks very bright.

4. Baltimore Ravens - Kyle Hamilton, S

With the Ravens in need of secondary help, Hamilton looks to be a solid man to fill the role. The No. 14 overall pick’s length and speed puts him as a favorite rookie to be on the lookout for. 

The Notre Dame star is on his way to being a future All-Star with a game that is filled with awareness and elite athleticism.

3. New York Jets - Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB

Gardner is just as flashy on the field as he is off it. 

The 21-year-old Cincinnati star has already been nabbed as a top cornerback from the 2022 draft, and he should have an immediate impact for the Jets. His quick feet and vision already puts him as a solid player to look out for in the preseason 

2. Washington Commanders - Jahan Dotson, WR

Dotson has proven himself as a top draft prospect to watch in this year’s preseason games. The Penn State star is a catch-and-run specialist with outstanding speed and quickness. With Washington searching for a second wideout alongside Terry McLaurin, Dotson is a solid option for the Commanders’ signal-caller Carson Wentz. 

1. Detroit Lions - Aidan Hutchinson, DE

Hutchinson's transition into the NFL should be pretty much perfect as he stays in Michigan and joins the Lions as a solid addition on the team’s defensive front. 

Hutchinson’s performance and production already makes him an exceptional prospect, filled with outstanding potential. 

There’s no doubt that his length and effortless physical strength will be welcomed by head coach Dan Campbell, which makes him a top rookie to watch in this year’s preseason games.