Let's not act like every question was answered during a 3-day span of rookie practices in shorts and t-shirts. By far, the most important question for any rookie will be answered in training camp once the pads go on, and that rookie has to prove if he can match up with the physical play in the NFL.
Of course, this is what concerns me about the Bucs' faith in wide receiver Kenny Bell, who's disappearing act once the pads went on should've sent off major alarms everywhere, but that's neither here nor there.
For this piece, I want to focus on versatile 5th round offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch.
“Right now he was working at right guard for this camp," head coach Dirk Koetter said of Benenich. "You know, Caleb is one of those guys – because of those west coast schools that are on the trimesters or whatever they’re called – we’re going to lose him for a while. So he’s not going to be able to be back with us until June which is unfortunate, but it’s just one of those things. It’s just part of the rule because he’s a young guy. He’s a guy that – like a lot of our linemen – they learn multiple spots anyway, but he’s playing right guard for right now.”
It's hard to place full trust and faith into a 5th round pick. Late round picks like this are even more of a crap shoot than the early round picks are. With that said, after standing next to Benenoch following Saturday's practice, I can tell you that the man looks the part and speaks with confidence as well.
"I'm a competitor," Benenoch said about leaving UCLA a year early. "I want to compete at this level. That's what basically made my decision to come out. I see all my friends coming out, I see everybody I played against compete at this level and I feel like I have the tools and the ability to do so, so I wanted to take that leap. Now I've got that opportunity."
Not only will Benenoch need to prove his worth on the field to remain with the team...5th round picks are not guaranteed roster spots...but he'll also need to be able to pick up positions he didn't play in college quickly. This is a challenge Benenoch is ready to attack.
"Yeah, I love it. I'm for it. I love the challenge," Benenoch said about playing guard. "That's why I came out, so I can compete and get coached by the best. Coach Warhop is a great coach, so I'm looking forward to learning a lot from him."
There isn't a ton to learn from a rookie mini camp when the players are in shorts and t-shirts. I will say, I did learn that Benenoch is physically ready to prove his worth, and mentally, he's more than ready. He is a sharp young man that gets it. Jason Licht said that 90% of all busts are mental related. This is good news for Benenoch because he's pretty sound in that area.
Heading into training camp, look for Benenoch to compete for a backup position along the Bucs offensive line. If he does prove to be versatile, Benenoch should find himself a roster spot. If Kevin Pamphile ends up winning the starting left guard spot, I wouldn't be surprised if Benenoch was pinned as Pamphile's replacement as the Bucs' 6th offensive lineman.
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