Getting their feet wet

Ready, set, hike! Ahmad Carroll eyed wide receiver Robert Ferguson for the first time face-to-face on the practice field in the Packers' recent post-draft minicamp. But in the blink of an eye, Ferguson flew past Carroll to make an easy catch. Welcome to the NFL, Ahmad.<p>

Ferguson put a double-move on Carroll that the rookie probably will never forget. Carroll is expected to win most of his battles against receivers thanks to his blazing speed and strength, but he also has a lot to learn. Carroll, along with third round pick Joey Thomas and other Packers rookies got their first taste of the NFL this past weekend in Green Bay. Ferguson and the veterans were more than anxious to show them what to expect in the pros, including a wicked double-move that froze Carroll.

"In all fairness to Ahmad, that's a hard route for any corner to cover, a double-move like that," said Ferguson. "I was just trying to show him things that he's definitely going to see throughout the year."

Carroll and Thomas got plenty of repetitions against Green Bay's receivers as the camp progressed. The bigger Thomas seemed much more comfortable than Carroll, taken 25th overall. He made a handful of plays during his first day of practices.

"I feel like I've gotten a feel for it," Thomas said. "I definitely feel better now that I've gotten my feet wet." Carroll used his 4.34 40 yard dash speed to run with the receivers, but he struggled anticipating or reacting to breaks, allowing a number of passes to be completed against him.

"I'm starting to get used to it," said Carroll. "I just have to get used to (the receivers) going against them every day." The Packers rookies and free agents will return to the practice field on May 16 for a week-long "opportunity session." Veterans and rookies will meet again in early June for a mini-camp. Training camp is expected to begin in late July.

Speaking for all of the rookies, head coach Mike Sherman gave this assessment on Sunday:

"I think initially each rookie in the camp was probably shocked by the speed, size and the strength of an NFL player. They're used to going against a player like that maybe once a season, and now we have a number of those players. On the competitive side of things that certainly is challenging for them because every play when they line up in practice, somebody has an ability to beat them. In college when they practice, there was probably nobody on their team who could beat them. Going out there and competing is their biggest challenge and knowing at any moment they could be embarrassed."

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