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3 Questions: Standout Rookies, Darkhorses & Quality Backups
- What rookie will benefit the most from working in these camps against a veteran?
Every day that DeMarcus Lawrence has lined up in practice this week, he has had to face Tyron Smith or Jermey Parnell and neither has cut him a bit of slack. To his credit, he has not backed down on any snaps. There were several reps on Tuesday where he put Smith in some poor blocking positions.
What has been most surprising is that Lawrence has done it with power. When you look at his build, you would think that this wouldn’t be a part of his game that has developed, but there is something there. Another matchup that I am looking forward to in the future is when Zack Martin has to battle Henry Melton in Oxnard. Martin not only can play with power, but he is athletic as well. Where Melton will really test him is his ability to handle explosive quickness off the snap. If he can survive those reps, he can matchup against anyone in this league.
- Give us a player that nobody is talking about but should be?
I am guilty of not giving Jakar Hamilton enough credit and that honestly is a mistake on my part. The more I watch him play, the more I understand that this kid has a ton of ability. He was not ready to step on the field last season against the Lions and make plays, but give him this off season to prepare himself mentally along with physically and this kid has a chance.
There are traits that he has in coverage that allow him to play as that true safety that they sure could use. What I have seen him do out of the slot when they flex Escobar or Hanna has been quite impressive. He has shown the ability to not be pushed around or knocked off balance. When the coaches have asked him to play down, he has been right where he needs to be. When they move from Cover 2 to a single high look, his rotations have been smooth. There is an ease to his game and I am sure that these coaches and scouts have taken notice.
- How do you see the backups shaking out along the offensive line?
It’s very early but I am going to try and give this question a shot. Jermey Parnell has been getting a lot of work at left tackle, and I believe he will continue to do so through the
preseason. Darrion Weems has yet to make an appearance in these practices and I know that once healthy, he will be in the mix at a couple of different spots - guard and tackle.
I could see Parnell and Weems in a battle for that swing tackle spot. The loser there might be a tradable piece at the end of camp. Zack Martin is going to start at right guard which means that Mackenzy Bernadeau and newly-signed Tyronne Green will both gets reps at the guard spots but will also need to work as a backup center. I have never seen Green play in a league game at that position but knowing how these coaches like guys that can play multiple positions, he is going to have to learn if he wants to make this squad.
I like Bernadeau as the front runner for that job as the backup guard and center. If you like a dark horse in all this, rookie Brian Clarke, like Bernadeau and Green, will work as a guard first but will also take some reps as a center. There is athletic ability and toughness to his game.