The speed of the NFL game is on a completely different level from the speed of the college game, and it's not unusual to see rookies -- even high round draft picks -- struggle with that adjustment. That gap between the rookies and the veterans has been less noticeable throughout OTAs and minicamp, and that's impressive considering the pace and intensity Dan Quinn and his staff maintain throughout each practice.
Eighth-overall selection Vic Beasley spoke to the media following training camp last week, and he said that he was pleased with the way minicamp had gone and that he was looking forward to training camp.
Beasley isn't just adapting to the speed of the game. A player in the LEO role has to be versatile and able to line up on either side of the formation. That's an adjustment for Beasley, but it's one he embraces.
"Predominately, the right side is more comfortable for me, but I'm just doing whatever I can to help the team," Beasley said. "I'll play the left side if if that's what's needed to help the team."
It will be important for Beasley to be comfortable on both sides, because the team will likely use him and his impressive first step to create mismatches and generate necessary pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
I asked Beasley about adjusting to the speed of the NFL game and whether the pace of practice has helped with that transition, and Beasley said he believes it has made the adjustment a little easier.
"I think it's a different level of speed between college and the NFL, so just playing in the NFL and getting started, I think it's been a big difference, so it's helped me out a lot," Beasley said.
Of course, nothing in minicamp or OTAs is happening at full speed. We'll have to wait for the preseason to begin before we can form any concrete opinions about how the rookies have adjusted to the speed of the pro game. However, Dan Quinn's practices, from the pace to the playlists, are designed to help prepare the whole team for game environments. It should ease the transition for all of the rookies.
Beasley's veteran teammates gave him some advice on how to handle the free time between minicamp and training camp.
"They just told me to stay in shape on the break and just continue to work hard, and just know what we have in store," Beasley said, "and just looking forward to winning a championship, and that's everyone's goal."
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