Approaching the midway point of the NFL preseason, former Tar Heels have entered new roles across the league.
Mitchell Trubisky and Sam Howell are trying to stand out in unsettled quarterback situations, Javonte Williams looks primed to become a star and Robert Quinn is coming off a career year.
Here's an update on four Tar Heels in the NFL weeks away from the start of the season.
Mitchell Trubisky, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
After spending last season as a backup to Josh Allen in Buffalo, Trubisky is primed to step into a bigger role in the new campaign. The former No. 2 pick is locked in a battle for the starting spot in Pittsburgh with 2022 first-rounder Kenny Pickett, but Trubisky started the Steelers' preseason opener.
The 28-year-old threw for 63 yards and a touchdown in his Steelers debut, but Pickett put together a game-winning drive to secure a narrow Pittsburgh victory. Entering his sixth season and joining his third team, this campaign could be Trubisky’s last chance to prove he can be a consistent starter at the NFL level.
Javonte Williams, running back, Denver Broncos
After spending his rookie season splitting carries for the Denver Broncos, Williams appears to be in line for a sophomore jump.
Despite sharing time with former Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon in 2021, Williams finished the campaign with 903 yards out of the backfield, 316 through the air and seven total touchdowns. With the addition of former Super-Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson, the Broncos have the potential to be one of the league's top offenses, and Williams’ receiving abilities could be a vital part of the team's production.