It’s nice to get back to football. Well, it really wasn’t football. It was a football-like activity. Mini-camps are football-like activities. Rookie mini-camps are even worse. Those camps are the pink slime of ground beef, without the ammonia. For football starved Addicts, it’s a welcome event. For me, it’s the first sign of what the coaching staff thinks of the rookie draft class. Recently, Romeo Crennel talked about most of the draft picks, save DeQuan Menzie, who was out of the Sunday practice due to a strained hamstring. Courtesy of the KC Star, here is what Romeo had to say.
Draft pick evaluations
Crennel said nose tackle Dontari Poe, the club’s first-round draft pick, showed improvement from Friday to Sunday.
“He still has work to do,” Crennel said.
Here was Crennel’s quick impressions of the other draft picks:
• On guard Jeff Allen (second-round pick): “Allen missed time because of his graduation, but in the first day he looked like he could bend a little bit, took some leadership, asked good questions in the classroom, so we’re excited about that.”
• On offensive tackle Donald Stephenson (third round): “He’s a good athlete. I think he’s going to do well for us.”
• On wide receiver Devon Wylie (fourth round): “He looked quick and effective. I think he can be productive. He’s got to work on his footwork a little bit because he was on the ground some. That happens a lot with some fast guys when they’re trying to stop and cut. They end up slipping until they can get their feet completely under them.”
• On running back Cyrus Gray (sixth round): “He shows flashes. One time, he looks really good and another time, he looks like he doesn’t know what to do yet, but that’s what a rookie does. We feel pretty good about that.”
• On wide receiver Junior Hemingway (seventh round): “Hemingway has a very good knowledge of how to run routes, and he has good hands. I think with a guy like that, the more offense you put in, the more teamwork you do, then his qualities begin to show up more.”
What can be gleaned from this information? My translation is as follows:
Dontari Poe: He is a project and we are working with him.
Jeff Allen: Missed some time due to attending graduation. We like what little we saw of him.
Donald Stephenson: Here is your first red flag. There is nothing Romeo said about him that could not have been said before the mini-camp. The bottom line with this is that Stephenson hasn’t shown the coaches much. There wasn’t anything said that was specific to his performance in camp.
Devon Wylie: This was a bit of a rave review. The coaches are very happy with this pick.
Cyrus Gray: Showed some promise. He met the coaches’ expectations.
Junior Hemingway: He was a bit below expectations.
It’s still very, very early and these impressions are soft. However, keep in mind that it’s more likely that a bad impression gets worse, while good impressions can go either way. Overall, it’s not a rave review for the draft class. The coaches are happy with Wylie, satisfied with several players and disappointed in Stephenson. Some players take longer to get up to speed than others. Also, keep in mind Merlin’s camp rule: “It doesn’t count until the pads go on.”
That’s my take from rookie camp. What is yours?