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Northwestern NFL Preseason Update: Week 2

Trevor Siemian has secured the backup job in Minnesota and Ifeadi Odenigbo shifts over to defensive end and has a big game.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

A handful of Northwestern alums continue to fight for their spots during the NFL preseason. While some former Wildcats seemed to be in jeopardy in the weeks leading up to preseason, many have proved themselves in the first two games, catching the eyes of their coaches and fans. Others are still searching for their shining moment and hope to find it in the last two weeks of preseason.

Here are a few recent player developments.

Ibraheim Campbell: Houston Texans

Campbell has had many ups and downs during his three years in the league. After being drafted by the Browns in 2015, he found his way in regular rotation for the Cleveland defense for about two seasons. In November of last season, he suffered a hamstring injury and was cut by the Browns with an injury designation. Soon after, he was signed by the Texans and was promoted to active roster.

While he only played in one game for Houston last year, he has made an impact so far in preseason recording 4 tackles in two games. Campbell proved his potential during his time at the Browns and can hope to gain the same respect in Houston this season.

Austin Carr: New Orleans Saints

Injuries have been the ongoing narrative for Carr during training camp and in the weeks leading up to preseason. After sitting out Week 1 against Jacksonville, Carr was able to see the field in the Week 2 loss to Arizona with 3 receptions for 37 yards.

Ifeadi Odenigbo: Minnesota Vikings

The most exciting news of any ex-Wildcat comes from Ifeadi Odenigbo, a player who needed a major development if he wanted to see himself on the active roster this year. He got exactly that. In the Vikings’ Week 2 loss to Jacksonville, defensive line coach Andre Patterson approached Odenigbo and told him he needed him to play defensive end, a position he has not played since last season after making the switch to defensive tackle. After rookie DE Ade Arune went down with what appears to be a devastating knee injury, Odenigbo was the only option since the starters were done for the day. He lived up to the request and shocked his teammates and coaching staff with his 7 combined tackles and two sacks.

“It feels good,” he said. “I’m just trying to be the utility man. You can put me at [defensive tackle]. You can move me outside. I’m just trying to be a guy that can do it all. That was the message today, to anybody upstairs, or whoever is watching, that I can play ball.”

While his spot is still not guaranteed, his performance last week pushed him in the right direction. If he can remain consistent, his shot at a spot on the 53-man roster appears more likely.

Godwin Igwebuike: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Igwebuike is another player still looking to impress. After not seeing the field Week 1 against the Dolphins, he used practice time to his advantage to earn his minutes. In Week 2 against the Titans Igwebuike had 2 tackles. While he has shown progress, he still has a long way to go.

Justin Jackson: Los Angeles Chargers

Time is ticking and as Jackson’s hamstring injury has yet to heal, his uphill battle to make the Charges’ 53-man roster intensifies. After missing both preseason games so far and remaining a question mark in practice, Jackson hopes to be cleared by Friday to face the Redskins, as he needs all the exposure he can get at this point.

Trevor Siemian: Minnesota Vikings

Touchdown Trevor’s spot as backup to Kirk Cousins seems set in stone at the moment. After a strong performance in Week 1 against his former team Denver, Siemian did not see the field as much in week two. In the loss to Jacksonville, he only went 5-of-10 for 46 yards as Minnesota’s third-string QB Kyle Sloter received the bulk of the snaps. Siemian and Sloter can be expected to split the time throughout the rest of preseason and will both serve as backups to Cousins starting Sept. 9.