NFL football is back for real Thursday, but that's not to say we haven't already seen guys in action for a little over a month in preseason games. While the results of those matchups -- at least on the scoreboard -- are pretty meaningless, individual performances can be extremely important and often signify good things to come in the regular season.
Let's take a look at a selection of players on the rise backed up by some pretty impressive preseason performances in 2014.
Kelce was supposed to be an impact rookie for the Chiefs a year ago, but microfracture knee surgery stole his entire rookie season and essentially caused the Chiefs to redshirt him for a year on injured reserve. Now we're starting to see the potential impact Kelce can have on their offense. He was the top-graded tight end at Pro Football Focus this preseason and had more receiving yards than any other player at his position, 111 of them coming after the catch. He scored two touchdowns, including a 69-yard catch and run against the Bengals in his first preseason action that showed rare speed for a tight end.