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2015 Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Notebook: Day Three and Four

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Holy pads-emonium

I don't actually write much about either of these guys, but it's a cool picture
I don't actually write much about either of these guys, but it's a cool picture
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Depth Chart

We're going to see some movement in the depth chart tomorrow! As a reminder, here's our current depth chart minus Shamar Stephen:

Depth Chart 7-29-15

I don't really have a handle on the returners quite yet in terms of the depth chart, so I only listed the first person, who is very clearly the highest on the chart. People to watch out for in the returner spots: Marcus Sherels, Jarius Wright, Jerick McKinnon, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs.

Observations

Quarterbacks

Two days of quarterback observation are not necessarily easy to compress, especially given that the wind was only around for one of those days.

Teddy Bridgewater's had a rougher go of it in the past two days than the previous two days, though Day 3 was worse for him than Day 4. All told, he may have thrown three interceptions and had two more dropped. One at least one of them, I think he's probably less to blame than the receiver, but for the most part, bad ball placement caused them. That said, I wouldn't say he looked bad over the past few days despite those interceptions.

The speed he seems to have gained on the ball for the first few days is certainly there and his deep ball is catching up to where it was at the end of the season last year, though it's not quite there yet. He still needs to find a better rhythm for it and we honestly haven't seen much of it in camp yet—so there's definitely time for us to not worry about it.

A lot of compressed pocket play for Teddy in the last two days, which is about as alarming as you'd expect. I'm glad the defensive line is good, but that's not the side of the ball I was worried about when it came to the trenches. His worst pass was definitely more along the lines of an off-balance throw than it was a bad decision or an inherent problem with the way he plays.

Bridgewater's movement in the pocket remains good and I like how he finds space without drifting (which he will still do at the top of his drop on occasion). There are still times he will hold on to the ball a bit too long, but he's done a better job this year of getting rid of the ball quickly than last year. There's no question that he's been able to get through half-field reads quickly; now we just have to see how well his full-field reads have developed.

As for the backup quarterbacks, I thought Shaun Hill was clearly the best (and not just because he's... you know, supposed to be). He handled the wind on Day 4 the best out of all the quarterbacks and could do a better job connecting at all depths than Mike Kafka or Taylor Heinicke. Kafka had the ball die on him going deep against the wind, and couldn't seem to adjust to the breeze (which was not that strong, honestly). Heinicke had a better arm, but a worse day. He was not only inaccurate, he was clearly making the wrong decisions.

Running Backs

Again, there wasn't much to add on running backs. I'll have to watch them more closely when I get the chance. Only one of the running backs seemed to have dropped a pass (Matt Asiata) and they didn't stick in pass pro as often as I'd like in order to evaluate. The one snap I saw of blitz pickup from Adrian Peterson was very good, and the communication between him and the line worked out—no pressure on the quarterback. For Jerick McKinnon I wanted to see more routes run as well as more snaps in protection, but I either missed them or most of his practice involved actually running the ball. To that end, he looked decent, but not quite as good as I remembered from last year. On the other hand, he always takes the snap after Adrian Peterson does, and for all the worry about Peterson's aging and hype about McKinnon's athleticism, Peterson just looks like a more explosive guy. Hard to compare well to that.

Asiata's vision doesn't seem to be producing for him this year (so far). The only thing that keeps him on the roster is his prodigious ability to avoid negative yardage.

Tight Ends

Trying to watch linebackers and defensive backs more makes for few opportunities to really evaluate the tight ends. There were fewer route-running drills for these guys, but I have to say that Brandon Bostick improved despite being the goat of a previous tweet of mine

That was embarrassing for him (and so long as we're talking about "things that Brandon Bostick is embarrassed about" this is low on the list), but I still think his last two days have been better than worse.

MyCole Pruitt has been getting a lot of buzz, but it's not all sunshine for him. He had some issues with some of the contested passes he had in camp, something that I don't think is representative of his play in general. I still think he could improve his separation in general and prevent those passes from being contested in the first place.

It should be no surprise to say that Kyle Rudolph should remain the starter at tight end, but I think the separation between him and the rest is clear at the moment and he's doing a good job figuring out where he needs to be.

He continues to win contested catches and did a good job maintaining catches through contact. Unsurprisingly, he can take a hit.

I haven't seen much of Rhett Ellison or Chase Ford, though Ford did almost run into me and that was a good reminder that he is a foot and a half taller than me, which is good to know. He also weighs 110 pounds more and is skinnier. Whatever, man. I have a blog.

Wide Receivers

A lot of receivers and defensive backs notes today. Starting with Charles Johnson, there's reason for optimism. My ceiling for Johnson, when pressed, has been to regularly call him a "near 1000-yard guy." That's not terrible production, but it's also not optimistic for a "ceiling." Ideally your top projection for your top player is a Pro Bowl quality year, yea?

I may have to revise that sort of projection, though four days of camp—two in pads—is not enough. Johnson is doing much better with the physical kind of play that I thought he did poorly with last year (to wit, he had the second-worst rate in contested catches that Matt Harmon's receiver project found) and has won some contested catches. I wrote them off early because they weren't in pads and not particularly physical, especially because the DBs didn't often leap to challenge him, but so far so good on that front. His catch radius has seemingly expanded too, as he isn't just more likely to leap but play with the kind of body control that will allow him to recover for inaccurate ball placement or tough passes.

I wouldn't call him a star yet, but he's certainly a starter. He still needs work on separation and his hands in general, but I like what I see. From a separation standpoint, a player like Stefon Diggs is actually doing a better job at smaller details during the route to create space between the defensive back and the receiver at the catch point. Regardless, Johnson has been doing a better job running routes, and he excels when he begins the route with leverage. Perhaps designing route options with that in mind would be smart—9 routes with the DB on inside leverage and 8 routes (posts) against outside leverage, for example.

As for Mike Wallace, I'm still waiting to see his speed. That's not to say he's been unimpressive or anything in camp, I'm just saying they haven't had him run a ton of routes that allow him to showcase it. He's played well in camp so far, but his hands-catching technique could of course use some improvement—it hasn't caused issues yet, but I'd like to see him flash later hands and coordinate the timing between the catch and the turn. It's better to spend too much time looking the ball in before turning up field rather than turning upfield too soon and not securing the catch. All in all, if he changed nothing about his hands, that would be fine. But there's always room for improvement.

Wallace's route running is better than I gave him credit for and it's been sharp on in-breaking routes. He hasn't broken free of either Newman or Rhodes on deep routes as often as I'd like, but as I said: not too many have been run in camp this year so far. Wallace is making the most of his speed the same way he did in Miami (but not Pittsburgh) by threatening it more than actually getting open deep through comeback and curl routes. It's worked out well for him, and expect a lot of that this year for him.

Edit: I forgot to mention one of the most intriguing stories in camp! Cordarrelle Patterson. As a route-runner, there's little doubt in my mind that Patterson has improved, but whether he's improved enough to be a consistent presence in the offense is the real question. I don't have an answer yet or much of an inkling, to be honest. Patterson has outperformed Trae Waynes at least, and I think he's doing a much better job on things like comeback routes, though I'd like to see him attack the ball a little better, especially as he has the height to run up to passes a little better. His movement in route is sharper and I like that his turns aren't as flat as before. I hope his release off the line is getting better, but I won't know until I see more against press coverage, a big issue for him in camp last year. The routes that are new—like shake and dino routes, which are a little more complex—take him a bit more time. He still has exaggerated movements that may be compelling but ruin the timing of the offense and he needs to work at being more subtle about them. These are the kinds of nuances I want to see improve, because sharp route-running is going to be good and helpful, but without combining it with proper timing, leverage and deception, will make him a mid-level receiver.

I mentioned Stefon Diggs as a player who is creating surprising separation with more nuanced play at receiver than many others, and Diggs is doing that and more. While he doesn't seem to be a contested-catch/fight-for-the-ball kind of receiver (yet), he's doing a lot to get open. His route-running at Maryland was (fairly) criticized as imprecise and lacking in terms of timing and physicality. ]

Here in camp, it's difficult to see that. He's running routes well, at the correct depth with compact footwork and a lot of physicality. There are occasions when he rounds off routes and breaks too early but really it's been mostly good and mostly precise. He's done a number on Waynes and is good against Jabari Price, too. Head fakes are the way to go, I guess. He could possibly beat out Wright for the slot role, but I think instead what will happen is simply rotation through all the receiver positions. Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner have both mentioned he can be an outside receiver kind of player and they've played him there a lot.

As for the things that will keep him from starting—probably that he hasn't shown as much straight-line ability as Wright (and again, more catches like his sideline grab against Demarcus Van Dyke and that criticism probably goes away).

He needs to attack the ball better when facing the quarterback, but so does Wright. Wright has improved his route-running too, so this will certainly be interesting to watch.

As for scouting Wright himself, I seem to have missed him for the last two days. He is still doing a good job with double moves to get open deep.

Adam Thielen is the same way; I haven't seen much of him in the last two days. What I have seen is positive, but not highlight-worthy. He still seems to be breaking early on routes.

Isaac Fruechte is really up and down, and so is Jordan Leslie to a lesser extent. Fruechte has had some pretty good plays, but also a number of drops to be concerned about. I would argue that Fruechte is a better route-runner than I gave him credit for and he seems to be getting a heavy rotation with the first and second special teams units. Still, he's signaling his routes to opposing defensive backs.

I like Jordan Leslie more so far in camp, and I think his performance is worth noting as he should be a favorite to make the practice squad. Leslie hasn't necessarily been sharp in his breaks, but I still think he's doing a better job creating separation and has done a better job of avoiding drops than Fruechte.

We've only seen one day of Davaris Daniels, but it was a good day, highlighted by a phenomenal corner route and acres of separation.

That's not to say everything has been perfect, but I expected to see a slower receiver who won more with savvy than speed. Instead, he had everything—including the second gear to make a difficult catch on Heinicke's slightly overthrown ball. If he continues this performance, he'll raise my estimation of this year's WR UDFA class, which seems unusually weak; especially after I praised it coming in.

Gavin Lutman... he has all the tools in the world, but I think it's safe to say he's the worst route runner in camp, barring a player like fullback Blake Renaud, who is playing on the offensive side of the ball for the first time after being a linebacker in college. He seems like a cool guy, so I'd be happy to see him improve. I do not see him distinguishing himself so far.

Offensive Linemen

Padded drills! This is good news, because I love noting these. In one-on-ones and in scrimmage, we've been able to see how the offensive and defensive linemen have done more than the first few days and that's a lot of fun. Let's go through the list.

  • Matt Kalil: He started out camp strong and has been worse every day since. Seeing him get clowned by Everson Griffen wasn't fun, even if I like Griffen and am optimistic about him. Seeing him lose to Danielle Hunter more often than a starting tackle should—even if Hunter is everything Zimmer says he is—is depressing. We haven't had many days in pads, so he can improve. But the context of his recent history of play is not providing optimism. Here's to hoping.
  • Phil Loadholt: This dude is really good! He's adjusting well to different kinds of rushes and knows how the angles of the pass-rush will change how he uses his body. Rookie year Loadholt would throw his weight around. Veteran Phil is having none of your shit. He had some good days in camp, and though one could say that Brian Robison might simply be fading against Phil (FWIW, I don't think he is—he ruined the second team when lined up against them), Loadholt did a good job with whoever lined up against him, including Hunter who should be said to have had a good showing regardless.
  • John Sullivan: His star may be fading, but he still does a good job against younger players. All the centers did a meh job in one-on-ones, which makes sense if you think about it, but it would have been nice to see Sully do better against first-tier talent. He didn't do poorly against second-teamers if I recall correctly. He did very well in the scrimmagess.
  • Brandon Fusco: A rock. He's been great so far and though I didn't get to see too much of him in one-on-ones, he did well there and in scrimmages, including high-level awareness that had occasionally been an issue for him.
  • Joe Berger: Fairly average results. He won the majority of his battles, as offensive linemen are wont to do, but not enough that I'd stay excited about him. He is a starting-quality guard, which is why I'm not going to be all that worried if he takes over the position. I prefer him to Mike Harris.
  • Mike Harris: Not too happy with the results there. Perhaps I'm asking for too much because he didn't do anything particularly egregious in the last two days with regards to scimmages and his one-on-ones weren't bad, just not great. Linval Joseph eviscerated him, but as you'll see below he did that to everybody.
  • Tyrus Thompson: What an incredible day for him! He was astounding in the one-on-ones, did a fantastic job in the run game in scrimmages, I hardly have a bad thing to say about him. I expected a longer development curve from him, but his issue at Oklahoma wasn't necessarily that he was raw, it was that he would run hot and cold. Maybe today was a hot day (it was very good). Other days could be cold. We'll see. For now, I expect to see him take the spot at right guard.
  • David Yankey: The other possible right guard candidate, the folks who were on the left side of the field didn't get a lot of attention from me (see: Fusco) because the one-on-ones were further away. Curse my human limitations! I have no notes on him, but Eric pointed out that that fits—he has been OK, but he hasn't done anything to stand out. Still, the very first rep I saw of him was him shutting down Sharrif Floyd. That's really great news—he didn't lose any reps I saw, but that is mostly because I saw one rep.
  • T.J. Clemmings: Nope. He got burned by everybody, though it doesn't help that most of the time, he lined up against Brian Robison. Give him a year, though. While Thompson ran hot and cold from game to game at OU, Clemmings ran hot and cold from play to play at Pitt. His footwork was a mess coming out and that probably had a lot to do with his day yesterday.
  • Carter Bykowski: Better than I thought, but still a backup-quality tackle at this point. I did not see him that much in one-on-ones and he had a lot of lowlights tweeted out (by me) at camp, and I think those lowlights are representative of who he is, but he's had good moments, too. His issues are less physical and more assignment-oriented.
  • I didn't see any of Bobby Vardaro.
  • Austin Shepherd: Did better than I thought at the right tackle position, and he held his own against Caesar Rayford in one-on-ones, with a superior understanding of leverage. His play in scrimmage isn't as pristine and he had at least one bad play that bothered me, but for the most part, he's been alright.
  • Zac Kerin: He's alternating with Tom Farniok in scrimmage, so I can't see much of him. I liked what I saw in one-on-ones.
  • Tom Farniok: See above. His one-on-ones were not as good, unfortunately.
  • Babatunde Aiyegbusi: He improved after not having to line up against Danielle Hunter, and locked up Leon Mackey at least twice from what I saw. I think this is good news, but as I've written before, he's so raw as to be unrosterable no matter his physical talent unless he really does have an international player exemption.
  • Isame Faciane: He did better than I thought, but against not great competition. Regardless, "better than I thought" isn't good and the balance of his snaps produce a negative evaluation. He played evenly against Crishon Rose, but poorly against Chigbo Anunoby. It is possible he does better against smaller players.


Defensive Line

Same deal. Bullet points!

  • Brian Robison: Still fast, still good against non-Loadholt tackles (well, effing great against non-Loadholt tackles) and he held his own against Loadholt. I was happy with his performance, for sure. In scrimmages, he wasn't as good as he was in one-on-ones, but I think his worst play was outside of the last two days and he had good showings. In a way, I like seeing his snaps limited because I'm curious about Scott Crichton, but I want to see more of Robison in scrimmage.
  • Everson Griffen: A beast. I don't think I've seen a bad snap since the pads have come on, and he ruined some days in one-on-ones.
  • Linval Joseph: I think my favorite performer at any position on either side of the ball. What a monstrous several days. Incredible penetration, good lane discipline and high-level recognition. The Vikings OL did try trapping him once and it did not end well.
  • Sharrif Floyd: Very good! I know that putting together a bunch of positives for the DL isn't necessarily a good thing given that it means bad things about the OL, but I feel like I can begin to make some of these important distinctions, and I want to say that Floyd has been an unqualified success so far in camp. Like I mentioned above, he did lose to Yankey once, but also beat Berger and (I believe) Sullivan on two separate occasions, and that's good. I've liked what I've seen in scrimmage, but I think the issue of lane discipline is a more prescient concern for him now.
  • Scott Crichton: I thought he made good on his progress, but it's easy to see why Danielle Hunter is getting more press. Crichton is doing "well" but not catching many eyes. I like his progress and I think he'll be a solid rotational player, but who knows? I do need to see more of him, as I missed him in one-on-ones.
  • Danielle Hunter: I've given ancillary feedback on him a lot throughout this, so I'll just say he's been very good and is exciting to watch.
  • Shamar Stephen: I've missed out on him, which sucks because it was his first day back.
  • B.J. Dubose: The Louisville product is doing better than I thought, but he excels more in the defensive tackle role they sometimes give him than the defensive end role. He may have to transition there long-term (like Kevin Williams did) because he produces some interior pressure but not a lot of edge pressure. I didn't get to see as much of him in one-on-ones as I would have liked, but he didn't do all that well against Austin Shepherd.
  • Tom Johnson: There weren't a lot of snaps with him, but I'm not seeing the same stuff that got me so excited about him last year (during the regular season, not camp—I wasn't particularly excited about him during camp). No one-on-ones that I saw (he was on the far side of the field) but his scrimmage play has been alright. The second-string interior offensive linemen are much better this year than they usually are, however, so that's worth noting.
  • Justin Trattou: He fared well in one-on-ones and I think he has a chance to take Scott Crichton's spot on the depth chart if Crichton doesn't flash a little more, but for now Trattou is penciled in as the fifth DE in my eyes, behind Hunter and Crichton—in part because of Hunter's surprisingly high level play so far. He did a number on Matt Kalil.
  • Chigbo Anunoby: Some great work by a player who I thought wouldn't be that relevant coming in. He's created some separation and has also been a force in terms of modifying the blocking math. Shamar Stephen could lose his spot if he's not careful. I like Anunoby's anchor despite some earlier trouble for him I had tweeted out.
  • Chrishon Rose: Also surprising, and another nose tackle candidate. I entered camp thinking the nose tackle depth would be weak while the under tackle depth would be strong, but it really seems like the other way around. Rose did very, very well in the one-on-ones, tangling successfully with Faciane, Farniok and others—but losing once to Faciane and at least once to Tyrus Thompson.
  • Leon Mackey: A player I like with some athleticism (despite some poor athletic testing) and length, he hasn't flashed much or done a lot to deserve a spot on the roster yet. I'm also pretty sure that losing to Aiyegbusi is something that signals needed development.
  • Caesar Rayford: No one looks longer than him at camp, even if some players actually are (see: Hunter, Aiyegbusi) He may not have a torso, honestly. At any rate, he doesn't know how to use his length and that creates issues because instead of creating separation, he's creating issues with leverage, and doesn't often place himself correctly or uncoil well from his stance.

Linebackers

In terms of performance in drills, there's some information to be revealed but not necessarily conclusively. The biggest surprises came from video that Luke Inman showed me of drills (I was watching defensive backs at the time) that showed Josh Kaddu with serious problems moving the blocking dummies, in part because of his technique when uncoiling—which relates to something I saw earlier, which was uneven performance when tackling—he wasn't moving his feet through contact and didn't hit soundly.

On the other hand, and more surprising, was finding out how well Brian Peters did in the same blocking dummy drill, hitting with a ton of power and not much restraint. Unfortunately, my observations show someone who isn't hitting soundly, which could create problems despite his power because of his size. Some of that comes from how he uses his arms and some of it comes from an inability to keep his pads down.

I guess we could talk about starters, too. I thought Chad Greenway's time in drills was extremely good, and his ability to uncoil into the offensive player is a big asset. He still is being asked to be patient through his reads, but it was good stuff.

Audie Cole has had good performance overall, both in drills and scrimmage work, where I think he's fitting into the run scheme extremely well, and is reaping the advantages of his height while minimizing the negatives, like leverage and stiffness. If he wins the middle linebacker spot, which I don't expect, I wouldn't be too worried about his impact on run defense and more concerned with what issues that may cause in coverage. I haven't seen too many plays of him in coverage, though both him and Greenway have bitten a little too often on play action in scrimmage for my liking.

His competition at middle linebacker, Eric Kendricks, has been fantastic in drills. He runs through blockers/ballcarriers with urgency and a lot of footspeed and is improving on his leverage. He's quick off the ball, too, and I think that quickness is the biggest advantage he has over Audie Cole, who was always slow off the snap in the NFL.

Anthony Barr is still recovering, but his performance in drills has been good and he's moved well from what I saw in scrimmages. He still has fluidity and can plant well, so I wouldn't worry too much in the short run about his knee.

I don't think Brandon Watts has been having a good camp so far, but he is on a few special teams units, so that should help. His technique when taking on blocks or approaching to tackle has had issues, and he doesn't attack through his hips. He, along with Peters, Kaddu and Robinson, seem to be having the most trouble in individual drills.

Edmond Robinson is a player I like a lot, but without much showing on the special teams units, he could get beat out by Watts, as his camp hasn't been particularly stellar so far. He's suffered a few criticisms in the individual drills and seems to hesitate to often in scrimmage. Hopefully, he turns it around, as he has a lot of great tools.

I wanted to have seen more of Gerald Hodges, who is moving well and is much more vocal than last year—he's communicating well with the defense, and he's doing fairly well in drills. Still, I've seen him out of position on occasion and don't think he's going to challenge for a starting job at the beginning of the year. I think his clear improvement, however, will give him a shot by season's end.

Defensive Backs

OK, hey look. A lot of people are comparing Trae Waynes' early struggles in camps to Xavier Rhodes' early issues in 2013. I'm not sure where the notion that Rhodes had an abysmal camp came up, but he had an inconsistent camp that was marked by periods of really promising play—especially when he could play press—and some mistakes. That kind of inconsistency is not the same level of struggle I see with Waynes.

Fundamentally, I agree with the sentiment behind it; Waynes is a rookie and he should be evaluated as such. Unlike Rhodes, he is playing an unfamiliar position (in the slot) for some of his snaps. Also unlike Rhodes, he's playing against the second-team offense. Waynes' struggles in the slot aren't what worry me; he's struggled on the outside,  too—especially against in-breaking routes. Below is a rough (and terrible) illustration of the issue. Separation on a well-coordinated dig route is normal, but most cornerbacks don't find themselves yards away from the play.

While Waynes can drive well to the ball, especially in zone, he needs to do it here to an impossible degree.

Waynes v. Patterson

Like I said before, whatever. He's a rookie learning a new system and new techniques. The truth is he's not good now, but could be in the near future. There's some other useful feedback for Waynes, though: I love how he looks in drills. I didn't expect him to be as fluid as he was in some of the movement drills, but I did see different levels of plant-and-explode ability on different days. If that becomes more consistent, he could be a surprisingly good zone corner, not something I expected to think of him as when he was coming out. Who knows?

Let's talk about other players. Terence Newman continues to impress me, though not as much as he did on the first day. He needs to do a better job closing in on underneath routes, though it's clear that his initial responsibility is to prevent deep routes. He didn't have a great day the other day, but neither would I characterize it as terrible. I think he plays sound defense but needs to be a bit more aggressive at times.

Xavier Rhodes has been playing well. When lined up against some of the lesser receivers, he almost never gives up space in coverage, even against quicker types. That isn't to say Diggs didn't get some good play in against him, but I like what Rhodes has put together so far in camp, and he's even shoring up some of the weaknesses from his play last year.

Jabari Price has been the most surprising cornerback so far, and despite a disappointing stretch of play late in the season last year (sort of), he has been playing well throughout camp against a variety of receivers, including Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson—though Johnson has more recently and consistently gotten the better of him. Price is playing with good instincts and speed, and it looks like he can be an outside corner, size be damned.

Harrison Smith is Harrison Smith and his multiple interceptions are worth noting, in particular because some of them weren't "gifted" to him so much as taken. He's got great instincts and for all his talk of becoming a better pass-rusher this offseason, he's already pretty good at it—while still maintaining good backpedal. His man on man coverage still isn't great, but it's good enough for the Vikings defense to be more aggressive about CB/S rotations in two- and three-deep coverages.

Captain Munnerlyn is doing better than I would have anticipated, but he's obviously not perfect. I don't think he's going to lose his spot as the top slot defender and if discipline within the scheme was supposed to be his issue going into this year, it hasn't cropped up as something that I would be worried about coming out of (four days of) camp.

Robert Blanton did not have a particularly good set of days, and it's highlighted by some issues with winning in the air and maintaining position. He did do a good job reading a Bridgewater pass and putting his hands on it, but he dropped the interception. Blanton still plays his run responsibility well.

Like Price, Marcus Sherels is someone who is doing surprisingly well on the outside, though his more recent performances aren't as good as they were in the beginning. I think his positioning in zone coverage has been encouraging, but there are times he'll lose his man in coverage and he's not particularly physical in the air. As it is, I do not mind him as a fifth cornerback on the roster, even after you exclude his return game.

I wish I had seen more of Antone Exum, but what I saw was largely good, with smart movement and a near interception to his name. Same with Andrew Sendejo minus the "near interception". His discipline was the biggest issue last year and does not appear to be an issue in camp so far.

DeMarcus Van Dyke has been up and down, and he had some very good days flying down the field and deflecting passes I didn't think he had a shot at, while following players through a variety of routes. At other times, he's somewhat out of position and can get pushed around without doing much to affect the play positively. I think his lack of bulk is an issue in the long run, but in camp so far, it's only occasionally cropped up.

Jalil Carter has been mostly bad, but he's had good moments, including some solid positioning on a number of plays—including a near interception of a Taylor Heinicke throw. He covers some routes very well, like the corner route, and at other times is out of position, like the dig. He looked good in drills, moving fluidly and closing well.

Shaun Prater had a hell of a day yesterday, and turned in some big hits as well as more than one interception, including one off of a deflected pass that he probably would have grabbed anyway given where he was positioned when the receiver (Lutman) somehow got a hand on it. He also got a "sack" and provided good coverage on some deep routes.

I tweeted (embedded above) a positive about Justin Coleman, and he had at least one other good play, but I don't think he had a good pair of days, with really stiff movement and wasted footwork in drills. It's showing up in scrimmage play as well, and I'm not sure he can make the practice squad despite his football IQ.

I didn't see much of Josh Thomas. Anthony Harris, however, I did see and I thought his drive, especially for a safety, was a little poor in drills at least on one day. For the most part, Harris has been quiet and did notably lose some battles in the air, but I don't think I've seen enough of him to evaluate.

I've written a few articles during training camp so far.

  • One on Jerick McKinnon here.
  • One on Tom Farniok here.
  • One on Brian Robison here.
Enjoy!