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Mailbag: Should The Early Draft Picks Stand Out Quickly?
When going against other draft picks and rookie free agents, shouldn't your first, second, and to some degree, third round picks seem like men amongst boys in training camp?
Nick: No one dominates like that at this camp. It’s not really for standing out too much. I know we cover it like that because we haven’t had practice-looking events since the season ended. But in shorts and helmets, it’s hard to separate anyone too much, especially linemen. It sounds like Frederick did just fine and the same with Escobar. Williams looked uncomfortable at times, but it sounds like there are a few reasons for that. He’ll be fine. I think for the most part, the draft picks showed what you want to see out of them.
Rowan: Not really. The jump from college to the pros is significant for everyone, not just the players coming from smaller schools. Everything is faster, not to mention, it’s harder to tell just how much more advanced some players are than others when no pads are on during rookie minicamps. The better players will start to separate themselves as the offseason goes on. It’s hard to tell how good Frederick is when he can’t hit anyone or how much playmaking ability Escobar or Williams have when they aren’t in game-type situations. We’ll know more as late July and August start approaching.
PARK RIDGE, NJ
Who do you think will win the battle to be the starting strong side linebacker?
Nick: Good question. I think it will be Justin Durant. Probably an easy choice, but here’s a guy that had over 100 tackles in this defense last year in Detroit. Kyle Wilber will be learning a new position, same with Alex Albright. And they added some outside backers in the draft and rookie free agency who might get a roster spot, but I have a hard time thinking anyone on this roster will beat out Durant.
Rowan:It sounds like it will be Durant, at least in early-down situations. Early in the offseason, Stephen Jones said he hoped Wilber could take that role. But that was before they’d signedDurant. Now Wilber will start off as a defensive end. Alex Albright could still compete for that role and players like Ernie Sims, DeVonte Holloman and Brandon Magee will push all the linebackers, but I’d guess Durant right now.