FRISCO, Texas –As has been noted, these aren't full-fledged, padded practices we're watching – so we're a bit limited in what we can gather from this year's rookie minicamp.
Still, there's something you can learn from watching players work on the field. Whether it was new coaching procedures or positive reps or just some random observations, there was plenty to learn on Friday afternoon.
Here's a few things that stood out to me from taking in the first day of rookie minicamp:
- I thought Leighton Vander Esch would help this defense in pass coverage with his length and range. In their perimeter drill, he had a nice interception off a zone drop. Vander Esch was moving to his left as the ball was thrown behind him. He stopped and dove back to his right to pull the ball in before it hit the ground.
- Connor Williams did line up at left guard during both practices. Much like the workout that I witnessed in Austin for his Pro Day, the ease of movement was impressive. Marc Colombo put the offensive linemen through several drills where flexibility was stressed and Williams didn't bat an eye. What was also impressive was his ability to quickly get to the second level on blocks. There were snaps where he was beating the linebacker to the spot on the cut off blocks. I am looking forward to seeing him and Tyron Smith work together with their athletic ability.
- I noticed that Bo Scarbrough was lined up at right wing on the punt team. The quicker he can feel comfortable playing those spots and having some success, the better chance he has of making the squad. I believe he's going to need to play on special teams to have a chance.
- Other than Rod Marinelli, the happiest person to see Kris Richard has to be Marquez White. Richard has a history of developing tall, rangy cornerbacks. White fits that bill to a tee. White spent the entire season on the practice squad improving his game, but don't be surprised if you hear more about him during these OTAs and into training camp. White has been somewhat of a forgotten man in all the young secondary discussions.
- Of the undrafted rookie free agents, Tyree Robinson appears to be the one guy that's a true free safety. If there was something that stood out about him today was his ball skills. There were a couple of different snaps where he did a nice job of reading the quarterback and putting himself in position to make interceptions.
- Mike White didn't have to make that many throws during the practice, but he did do a nice job of putting the ball on the mark as the running back was working away from him. They were pretty routes but throws that could have not been accurate when dealing with nerves.
- Just as I thought would happen. Kyle Queiro is lining up at linebacker instead of safety. I didn't feel like that Queiro really had the range to play safety in the NFL, but that might be a different story at linebacker. Putting him near the line of scrimmage gives him a better shot to play to his strengths, which is attacking the ball.
- Chris Covington played all over the field while at Indiana. It appears that the staff is going to work him as a weak side linebacker and let him run to the ball, which is a smart plan. Something that did surprise me about Covington is that he has some pop in his hands. Going through the sled drill you did hear a thump when he hit it.
- I think Scott Linehan was impressed with the way Dalton Schultz caught the ball in drills during the afternoon practice. I noticed after a well-executed crossing route, Linehan nodding his head in approval as Schultz hauled the pass in and headed up the field.
- I have never seen this drill, but Sanjay Lal had his receivers running at half speed, stopping and then balancing on one foot. The player then holds that pose for a second before continuing down the field two more steps and then balancing on the other foot before finishing the route with an over the shoulder catch. Once the players got the hang of it, their balance improved. Before that guys were falling to the side or having to put their hand on the ground to keep upright.