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Hall of Fame game: Three high draft picks to play for Jets, two others, along with Aaron Rodgers, won’t

No Sauce Gardner or Garrett Wilson against the Browns

New York Jets Training Camp Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The NFL season gets underway with the first preseason game of the year. In 2023, that sees the Cleveland Browns travel just south to take on the New York Jets in the Hall of Fame game. Despite being local, the Browns have not played in the game since their return season in 1999.

In all, Cleveland has played in five Hall of Fame games while the Jets have played in just two with the last coming in 1992.

We shared a few things we are looking for with the Browns and Jets in the game. For both AFC teams, the preseason has very little meaning outside of players staying healthy and helping decide the fate of those on the roster bubble.

While Cleveland has not shared their plans, New York’s HC Robert Saleh has provided some information on theirs:

Rodgers, who hasn’t played in the preseason since a brief appearance in 2018, will not see the field during Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game against the Cleveland Browns. Jets head coach Robert Saleh also indicated that other starters such as wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who sustained a low-ankle sprain in Thursday’s practice, and cornerback Sauce Gardner will not play.

While Rodgers, Wilson and Gardner represent three of the team’s biggest names and two of their recent high draft picks on the sidelines, three other high selections will see the field:

Instead, (Zach) Wilson is expected to start against the Browns, but he’s not the only intriguing Jets player who will be watched closely in the game.

Former first-round offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, whose weight has become a subject of consternation the past few years, is expected to play. Becton reportedly showed up to camp in terrific shape, and he could play a big role this season for the Jets if he’s healthy.

The Jets are also expected to play 2023 first-rounder Will McDonald, who got off to a slow start in camp with a leg contusion.

Wilson has struggled greatly since being the second overall pick while Becton’s up-and-down career could be at a crossroads after the Jets declined his fifth-year option. Weight concerns have plagued his career as have injuries.

When we get information on the Browns plans for the Thursday night game we will let you know. We expect very few veterans to see the field at all after warmups.