IRVING, Texas – Here's a Scout's Eye review of Friday's second minicamp practice.
In the morning practice, I thought that Terrance Mitchell was the best player in the secondary, while in the afternoon session, Tyler Patmon out of Oklahoma State was that guy. Patmon is on the field this week as a tryout player and he is making a strong case to be signed to the training camp roster as soon as this camp is over. Whether it was the 7-on-7 or the team period, Patmon was outstanding. He didn't give an inch in any of his opportunities and it started in the 7-on-7 when Chris Boyd tried to run a curl on him where Patmon arrived the exact same time as the ball and ripped it away from Boyd. Later in the drill, he comes off his coverage to drive on the ball thrown underneath to the tight end, knocking it away. Patmon had such a good afternoon that Monte Kiffin told a group of reports after practice, that he needed to learn his name because he was making plays like a "young Ronde Barber out there." High praise for a guy just trying to get someone to notice him.
- There is something to this Ryan Smith of Auburn. With Jocquel Skinner suffering a leg injury early in the practice, Smith had to line up and take some reps at cornerback when his natural position is safety. I have to give him credit that he did not look out of place or appeared to struggle with his technique. He was smooth with his pedal and was able to hang in there when the receiver tried to carry him across the field, undercutting the route. He has also done a nice job of playing his natural position of safety reacting to the ball in his area as well. The only knock that I have had against this guy and it was on his tape, is that he will struggle as a consistent tackler.
Receiver L'Damian Washington looked far more comfortable in the Friday afternoon practice than he did in the morning. He did a really poor job of freeing himself in the morning and it was a struggle for him getting in and out of those routes. He played like he had never seen press man coverage in his life and his play suffered for it. In the afternoon, he came onto the practice field with more of a purpose and plan which I bet had to do with a between practice film session with receivers coach, Derek Dooley. Washington appeared to do a better job of battling the cornerbacks while he was working up the field and in doing so, he was able to free himself for some quality catches and show the skills that these coaches and scouts believed that he processed.
- A pleasant surprise along the defensive line has been the play of Dartwan Bush, defensive end from Texas Tech. Bush is like Tyler Patmon in that he too is trying to play his way onto this roster for training camp. Bush doesn't have the best measureables but there were some snaps in the one-on-one pass rush drills on Friday afternoon, where he was able to grab the corner and create some pressure off the edge. He has shown the ability to dip his shoulder, getting his arm under the blocker, which is ideal technique. There is nothing special or unique about his game but his effort has been outstanding and along with his ability to finish, has got him noticed in that regard. [embedded_ad]
- Unless you are from the state of Texas or a fan of the Big 12, you've probably not heard of running back Ben Malena of Texas A&M. It has been very clear that the star of Dallas Day this past April, has been the best back in this camp. He has shown some nice quickness with the ball in his hands. He has been difficult for linebackers to cover out of the backfield and has been very natural catching the ball. He is not the tallest guy at 5-8, 193 but when you stand next to him, he is a well put together player that looks physically stronger than Lance Dunbar. I don't believe he is as an explosive player as Dunbar or has his long speed but you get my idea of that type of player. In talking to guys that have been around Malena during his college days at A&M, the word "tough" is consistently used. Through two practices, there is no doubt he is on a mission to find a spot on this club.