Summer is almost here, and teams are starting to begin the offseason workouts. Coaches are now allowed to spend time with the draft picks and undrafted free agents, so they choose to hold “rookies only” minicamps. These three-day training camps give coaches the opportunity to work with the new players and focus purely on talent evaluation and teaching the playbooks.
After a post-Draft flurry of signings, Oregon State has quite a few players taking part in these rookie minicamps. Some were busy over the first weekend in May, but there a few hitting the field over this coming weekend. Let’s take a look at the 10 players taking part in the rookie minicamps.
Baltimore Ravens: May 5th-7th
Last weekend’s rookie minicamp was Ricky Ortiz’s first opportunity to impress a team in need of a fullback. The actual news coming out of this first minicamp was lacking beyond a few photos, but staff writer Ryan Mink listed Ortiz as one of the undrafted free agents will a really good chance to make the final roster based on the lack of a true fullback on the roster as well as his versatility. After all, Ortiz did play fullback, linebacker, and tight end during his time at OSU.
Cincinnati Bengals: May 5th-7th
Dustin Stanton hit the field for the first time last weekend looking to fill a massive hole on the Bengals offensive line. Cincinnati is in dire need of both tackle and guard depth, and Stanton could be the man to take one of those spots. Information about Stanton’s opening weekend has been difficult to find considering that he is an undrafted free agent. Although this is a situation in which no news could be good news. It’s better to hear nothing about Stanton’s weekend than it is to hear only negative comments.
Kansas City Chiefs: May 5th-7th
Devin Chappell took part in the Chiefs rookie minicamp over the past weekend, showing off his versatility as both a corner and safety. The ability to play multiple positions will be extremely handy for Chappell as he attempts to crack a very stacked safety and corner class. Luckily, he has the hard hitting skills to possibly earn a spot on special teams. If so, Chappell will join both DJ Alexander and Steven Nelson on kick coverage.
Oakland Raiders: May 5th-7th
Ryan Navarro was part of the Raiders rookie minicamp last weekend, looking to find a role on one of the AFC’s most powerful teams. He was primarily signed as a long snapper, a position that he filled quite well during college, but Navarro will need to beat out incumbent and two time Pro Bowler Jon Condo, who has been with the team since 2006.
Navarro has two factors in his favor heading into the true offseason. First, Condo is 35 years old. Special teamers do have longer than normal careers, but he is still on the older end of the scale. Second, Navarro has shown in the past that he can snap the ball and make it down the field in time to tackle the returner or recover a muffed punt.
San Francisco 49ers: May 5th-7th
Victor Bolden took place in the in the 49ers first rookie minicamp last weekend, joining more than 40 players on the field. While Bolden’s name didn’t come up during multiple takeaway articles, he was featured in a pretty cool photo from the 49ers official web site. Bolden also survived the initial roster moves, as the 49ers released one of the undrafted wide receivers.
Buffalo Bills: May 12th-14th
Like former teammates Dustin Stanton and Sean Harlow, Gavin Andrews will have a battle on his hands this weekend. He went undrafted and has to fight for his NFL future. Luckily, the Bills invited Andrews to a tryout with the team. Granted, spending time with the team during the rookie minicamp doesn’t necessarily guarantee a roster spot, but it’s the best available opportunity for the former Beaver. The main question heading into this weekend will be “how will Andrews hold up to the drills?” He was only a partial participant during the OSU Pro Day because of injury. Has he fully recovered?
Atlanta Falcons: May 12th-14th
Drafted quite high by the Falcons, Sean Harlow is virtually guaranteed a roster spot, but his first rookie minicamp is extremely important. Atlanta is in dire need of a new starting right guard after Chris Chester suddenly retired, and Harlow could fill that need. However, he needs to hit the turf running to impress head coach Dan Quinn and offensive line coach Chris Morgan. Given his higher profile status, Harlow should be a main focus during this opening weekend.
Jacksonville Jaguars: May 12th-14th
An undrafted free agent, running back Tim Cook has the opportunity to earn a roster spot in Jacksonville, but this will be tough. The Jags used a first-round draft pick on Leonard Fournette from LSU, and he will be the supposed starter entering the 2017 season. TJ Yeldon and Denard Robinson are also in the way. Granted, neither back has truly impressed during their time with the team, but they still stand in Cook’s way. He will need to be almost perfect to make an impression on the coaches.
New Orleans Saints: May 12th-14th
Linebacker Caleb Saulo will be pursuing his NFL dream this weekend as he heads down to Louisiana for Saints rookie minicamp. The journey will be difficult considering his status as an undrafted free agent/tryout, but the Saints will be looking for fresh faces to fix a terrible defense. If Saulo impresses defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and earns a rookie contract, it will come with a heavy dose of special teams.
Houston Texans: May 12th-14th
Of the players on this list, Treston Decoud could be quite busy during the Texans rookie minicamp. He will be working out for new defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and trying to find the most natural position, whether as a safety or cornerback. Considering the depth at corner and lack thereof at safety, Decoud will most likely start out at strong safety. Andre Hal will be heading into his third year as the starting free safety and has been quite solid. Corey Moore, on the other hand, is a second-year safety will only a few starts to his name. Moore is one of many players trying to replace departed starter Quintin Demps. Decoud could join that list as an express lane to a starting position.