NFL rookie mini-camps have now been completed. Teams are starting to know what they have in each player they drafted. Do they have the next Jerry Rice? Or did they manage only a Troy Williamson? While we can’t really know, we may as well start our predictions now. There were eight receivers selected in the first three rounds, four were first round selections, three in the second, and only Mohamed Sanu in the third. Following our first take at this, we’ll take a peek at what’s being said around the league in the order they were drafted.
- Justin Blackmon sat out of the final day of the May 4-6 minicamp with a sore foot. Coach Mike Mularkey said it wasn’t a big deal and that the team had “[seen] what we needed to see” so taking him out for the day to prevent further aggravation was fine by him. Blackmon displayed his superb hands the first three practices by making plays on poorly thrown balls. There haven’t been any circus catches and he is learning the playbook, but Mularkey fully expects that “He’ll get faster in everything he does.”
- Michael Floyd has some sources exited about his play. Some are even saying that he is expected to be the most productive receiver. Floyd would like to cut down his weight to increase his endurance and stamina in the Arizona offense. After the mini-camp, Floyd knows he needs to get faster and quicker in order to be competitive in the NFL.
- Kendall Wright as you all well know, is not a favorite of mine. But despite my opposition, the Titans thought he was worthy of a first round pick. The Titans gave Wright his first ever playbook. Yes, you read that right. Over the mini-camp weekend, it was revealed that Wright has never studied a playbook and instead has memorized every play through high school and college. It may appear that this receivers brainpower is superb to go with hands that have the Titans buzzing. After his solid mini-camp the Titans are impressed that he is learning everything about the offense. This may be a receiver that succeeds with his brain – quite the scary thought for the Titans’ opposition.
- Brian Quick has reportedly turned heads at the St. Louis mini-camp. He reportedly didn’t drop a ball all day, which is really something. The Rams think they have found the explosive player they need to pair with Sam Bradford. Based on what I’ve been hearing out of St. Louis, I think they’re probably right.
Stephen Hill wowed scouts at the combine with his unbelievable speed. The Jets, of course, bit. Hill already has his contract signed and had nothing to distract him in camp from his play. Hill impressed the team, especially head coach Rex Ryan, with his speed and big 6’4″ frame. Hill dropped one pass in drills – a deep ball that bounced off his finger tips. Ryan is excited over Hill’s performance and says he will be starting this season.
- Alshon Jeffery has ex-Vikings head coach Mike Tice pretty happy. He beat the cornerbacks, plucking the ball above their heads during the Chicago Bears’ mini-camp. While Jeffery left Friday with cramping, he came back to participate all through Saturday. Some say he didn’t look entirely comfortable, though his hands still have the Bears excited. He looks like he will be a good addition behind newly acquired WR Brandon Marshall.
- Rueben Randle has already begun impressing the Giants with his polished play. While he had a few drops during the mini-camp he displayed great athleticism and should serve as a very good replacement for Mario Manningham (San Francisco) in the coming season. Expect his hands to improve with time but the athleticism to remain (and cause fits for defensive coordinators).
Mohamed Sanu didn’t separate himself from the pack during the rookie mini-camp. He made some plays against 1st round selection, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, but hasn’t established himself as a top receiver for the Bengals…yet. I fully expect Sanu to make the Bengals roster and prove well worth the third round pick spent on him. Head Coach Marvin Lewis expects Sanu to come in and contribute right away. He is everything the Bengals expected from him. I bargain they’ll receive much more in the long run.
Keeping tabs on the top receivers in the 2012 class is crucial as we grow to (hopefully) love and appreciate Justin Blackmon. Much like the comparisons between Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, the receivers from 2012 will always be pegged to each other. So far it is appearing that the players will make impacts, but who will make the most impact on their respective rosters is what matters. It sounds like Michael Floyd will provide exactly what John Skelton/Kevin Kolb need in Arizona, currently he appears to be the measure against which all others will be weighed.
Of course, that’s if you believe everything the coaches told the press following the mini-camps…
– Luke N. Sims
Tags: 1st Round Pick 2012 Mini-Camp 2012 NFL Draft 2012 NFL Draft Selections AFC South Alshon Jeffery Brandon Marshall Brian Quick Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Dre Kirkpatrick Jacksonville Jaguars Jerry Rice John Skelton Justin Blackmon Kendall Wright Kevin Kolb Michael Floyd Mike Mularkey Mike Tice Mohamed Sanu New York Giants New York Jets Otas Rookie Mini-Camp Rueben Randle St. Louis Rams Stephen Hill Tennessee Titans Troy Williamson Vikings