The Chicago Bears conducted the final practice of the three-day rookie minicamp this morning.
Weather at Halas Hall was much warmer today than it was yesterday, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-50s.
Players were once again not padded, wearing only shorts and jerseys.
Notes from Day 3
-For the second day in a row, RB Jordan Howard did not do anything more than stand on the sidelines and watch his teammates practice. No part of his body was wrapped or showed any type of injury.
-RB Romar Morris, a rookie tryout player from North Carolina, had the lightest feet of any player in camp. His ability to stop-cut and slant on a dime was unmatched.
Yet, while he's extremely agile and quick, he made a couple of crucial mistakes. During positional drills, he ran a flat route that was 5 yards too deep. That earned him an earful from running backs coach Stan Drayton, who pointed out that Romar was still making the same mistakes he was making on Friday.
Later during team drills, Romar fumbled a handoff from QB Sean Goodrich. After practice, special teams coach Jeff Rodgers discussed the importance of showing improvement throughout the three-day process.
"The thing we're really trying to find out is can these guys continue to progress each day?" Rodgers said. "Can they be better during the walk through on Friday afternoon than they were in the morning? Can they be better Saturday morning than they were Friday morning? That's collectively but it's also individually."
Romar's mistakes today likely sealed his NFL fate, which just gives us a glimpse at the cutthroat nature of making an NFL roster.
-Just like yesterday, seventh-round WR Daniel Braverman was almost impossible to cover today. His most impressive catch came against man coverage, with fourth-round CB Deiondre Hall in press. Braverman stemmed his route to five yards before breaking inside. The quick cut left Hall in his wake, yet the pass to the crossing route was high. Braverman elevated and snatched the ball out of the air, showing very sticky hands.
-OLB Royce Jenkins-Stone, a rookie tryout player from Michigan, had a nice set of plays during team drills.
On the first snap, he set the edge against TE Gannon Sinclair on a stretch run. Jenkins-Stone cut off the outside lane, which forced the runner back inside to the rest of the defense.
On the very next snap, Jenkins-Stone timed the snap and shot around the edge of UDF RT Adrian Bellard. It would have been a two-second sack in a real game.
-During team drills, WR Kieran Duncan ran a deep post and QB Dalyn Williams fired the pass 40 yards down the field. From the opposite hash, fourth-round safety Deon Bush crossed the field, took a perfect angle of pursuit and knocked the pass away.
Bush played mostly in the box at strong safety this weekend but he showed good range as a center fielder on this play.
-On that deep pass to Duncan, it's worth noting that Hall was right in the receiver's hip pocket and would have had the opportunity at a PBU had Bush not knocked the ball away.
Later in the session, I got a clear look at where Hall's arm length is going to help him as an NFL corner. In man coverage, he backpedaled to 15 yard before the receiver stopped his route on a hitch. Hall broke forward, reached around the receiver and was able to barely get his fingertip on the pass, knocking it away. It was a play that an average cornerback with normal arms would not have been able to make.
-In sub packages, CB Kevin Peterson, a UDFA out of Oklahoma State, was used in the slot. During one of the final plays of team drills, Peterson made the defensive play of the weekend. On a deep pass to the tight end down the seam, Peterson undercut the ball and pulled down the interception.
It was the only turnover I witnessed the past two days, which should help Peterson as he fights for a roster spot heading into OTAs.
-First-round OLB Leonard Floyd has been used as much in coverage as he has a pass rusher the past two days. His experience in coverage is not going to go to waste in Chicago's defense.
On one snap, he lined up 5 yards deep across from the slot receiver. He then sat in his zone and shadowed the running back out of the backfield, before breaking on a pass inside. He didn't make a play on the ball but his movement and change-of-direction ability were on display.
-TE Ben Braunecker, a UDFA out of Harvard, had a solid day as a pass catcher. During 11-on-11 drills, he made a pair of nice catches in traffic on go routes down the seam.
Later in team drills, he ran skinny post and plucked a high pass out of the air. The Bears need a pass-catching tight end to step up and serve as Zach Miller's backup this season. Over the last two days, Braunecker has taken a big step toward landing that role.
-WR Jacob Hillyer (6-4, 212) has good size and speed, and twice broke free down the field today. Unfortunately, he was overthrown by Goldrich both times. Hillyer is a baller, Goldrich is not.
-On one snap this afternoon, second-round guard Cody Whitehair was asked to pull and lead on a trap play up the gut. Notable was the quickness with which Whitehair moved down the line and into the hole. He then found a linebacker and locked him up.
Whitehair definitely has good athleticism.
-The catch of the day came WR Kieran Duncan. On a simple hitch route, Duncan used his arms to fight off press coverage and create separation out of his break. As he broke inside, the pass was thrown far too wide, yet Duncan was able to adjust his body and make the diving grab, which elicited rave reviews from the coaching staff.
-OT John Kling (6-8, 320) is a mammoth human being. He doesn't move well but the UDFA out of Buffalo was swallowing up defenders all day today.
-The play of the day on offense came on a naked bootleg that fooled almost the entire defense. Goldrich rolled right after the play fake and sprinted to the sideline before launching a deep pass. WR Darrin Peterson, a UDFA out of Liberty, was wide open at the 10-yard line and strolled into the end zone untouched. Peterson has good size (6-2, 190) and looked pretty good this weekend.