IRVING, Texas– In reviewing my notes from the OTA sessions, I wanted to take a deeper look and get away from the starters and rookies we're always talking about.
These guys are usually afterthoughts because of the high-profile players that line up at the same position, but they've done enough to show they're worth remembering as we head into minicamp – not to mention training camp.
OT Darrion Weems
I feel like I have gone down this road with Darrion Weems before. It was just a year ago when I believed that he had an opportunity to be the primary backup tackle to Tyron Smith and Doug Free, but a shoulder injury during the early days of training camp put him on the shelf for the year.
So instead of a battle for the spot, Jermey Parnell finished out the season when Free was injured. Free's injury still has him sitting out and Parnell has since moved on to Jacksonville, so this leaves Weems as the most likely candidate to secure that job. I see La'el Collins concentrating solely at guard, which means that Weems' other competition will come from rookies Chaz Green and Laurence Gibson. What I like so far from watching Weems play in these practices is that he appears to be more physical and is doing a much better job of finishing blocks.
His confidence and technique has improved to the point where he is not a liability and the coaches are starting to see that since he has been working with the first line.
DB Corey White
There are a couple of offseason moves that this front office made that have a chance to pay off by adding some depth to this roster on the defensive side of the ball. I like the additions of Andrew Gachkar, Jasper Brinkley and Keith Rivers, but I am really starting to like what they did with Corey White.
It appeared when White was claimed off waivers from the Saints that all the fans wanted to focus on was some ranking that a scouting service had on the player and not dig into deeper of all the positions he could play in the secondary.
My scouting report on White was that he was a much better slot player than he was on the outside, but I don't believe I have given him enough credit for how he has played on the outside in these practices. What I have also noticed about White's game is that he can line up as a true free safety or walk down in the box and play like a linebacker in coverage.
He has been competitive in every job the coaches have asked him to do. White has shown me that he is not afraid of the matchups he gets.
*LB Jasper Brinkley *
When I was talking about Corey White earlier I mentioned Jasper Brinkley as one of those offseason moves that I really thought could help this team. He might not have the position flex of the other linebackers on the roster, but what he gives you is a veteran player that has made plenty of starts in this league.
Watching him in these practices, he is one of those guys that is always around the ball. He hasn't been out of position in the scheme and he has done a solid job of lining up at that Mike spot while Rolando McClain has been out of the lineup.
I thought he might be a liability -- especially in pass coverage -- but that hasn't been the case at all. He is discipline and his reactions are better than what I had observed during his days with the Vikings. I don't believe these coaches want to play him on every down because of the other linebackers on the roster who have better skillsets, but for what they have asked him to do, Brinkley has been a nice fit.