Rookie minicamp is an interesting experience. It's the first opportunity to see the Atlanta Falcons' draft picks on the field, and there's a host of other players, undrafted free agents and young players who earned a minicamp invitation from the team, trying to make an impression on Dan Quinn and the rest of the coaching staff.
Because of the nature of rookie minicamp, it's hard to really pick out specific players who are standing out, and trying to project how anything that's happening on the field over these few days will impact how the Falcons perform next season is next to impossible. However, there were a few things that stood out at rookie minicamp.
The coaching staff is not taking it easy on these rookies.
This coaching staff places an emphasis on teaching, and that's in full effect during rookie minicamp. Coaches are offering instantaneous feedback on technique and form and effort. While there is more teaching than yelling, it doesn't mean that this coaching staff is taking it easy on the rookies.
There's always a learning curve for college players transitioning into the NFL, and while the coaching staff is doing all they can to make the transition smooth, they aren't doing so at the expense of their expectations for effort and discipline on the practice field.
The Falcons focused on intelligence in this draft.
Dan Quinn has made his priorities for this team well known, stating time and time again that he expects the Falcons to be fast and physical. There was an emphasis on speed and physicality in this last draft, certainly, and players like Keanu Neal and Deion Jones will help the Falcons achieve Quinn's ideal. What's also standing out, however, is that the Falcons drafted intelligent players.
It was interesting to talk to De'Vondre Campbell after practice and get his thoughts on rookie minicamp. He struck me as having both a high level of football intelligence, which is important, but he's also generally intelligent. That will make his transition to the pros a lot easier. Keanu Neal, whom we spoke with last week, and Wes Schweitzer made the same impression on me, too.
Devin Fuller has a hamstring injury, but don't worry.
Fuller was held out of today's team activities, though the team did put him through some individual drills. Dan Quinn told the media following practice that Fuller has a little bit of a hamstring strain, and the team would prefer to have him fully healthy and ready to go when they add this rookie group in with the veterans next week.
De'Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones are going to be pals.
Campbell told the media after practice that he and Deion Jones are spending as much time together off the field as possible, going through film and eating lunch together, working to build that connection Quinn wants players to have.
Dan Quinn is fired up.
Quinn told the media following practice that he loved the effort and the work ethic he's seeing from this rookie group. He said that these players have all done themselves favors with the way they've worked on the practice field over the past couple of days, and he's pumped to have the in Atlanta starting their rookie seasons the right way.
Your thoughts on rookie minicamp?