What we noticed while wondering just how much we could take away from non-contact minicamps involving nothing but rookies, and a few veterans per team who were allowed to participate because they didn't get a vested year last season:
49ers first-round pick A.J. Jenkins shows up out of shape? It's kind of like abandoning your pro day, or testing positive for something unwise at the scouting combine -- showing up for your first NFL OTA and getting gassed immediately isn't the smartest thing anybody will ever do. You know it's coming, and what were you doing on your own? From Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee:
Jenkins was observed doubled over from about the midpoint of the hour-and-a-half session onward. Afterward he was in the locker room with bags of ice on both his hamstrings and quadriceps. "I'm back home [in Jacksonville] and thinking I'm in shape -- working out in the morning time," Jenkins said. "You definitely see [this] is a totally different ball game, so you've got to get your mind right."
On the other hand, undrafted Stanford receiver Chris Owusu, who didn't hear his name called during draft weekend due to a serious history of concussions, looked good during camp because he understood the drill -- he's obviously seen 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh before.
"I played with coach Harbaugh for three years," he said. "I know what he expects from his players. I know his mentality, I know his philosophy. And part of it is, you can't be competitive if you're not in shape. I wanted to come in here and be in shape."
Jenkins will be tasked with turning the 49ers receiver group around, but first, he'll need to catch his breath. Owusu has the literal headstart.
Seahawks' "reach picks" could provide immediate dividends. As we wrote Sunday night, Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson might be on your TV screens a lot sooner than expected -- even after the preseason ends. Wilson, the notably height-impaired quarterback from Wisconsin, impressed the Seahawks' brass enough to make Pete Carroll declare that the third-rounder will be in competition for the starting job right away. If Wilson could pull that off, he'd be the second third-round rookie in NFL history to do so -- Buffalo's Joe Ferguson was the first in 1973.
[Shutdown Corner: Giants' Osi Umenyiora sent Mother's Day greetings to Eagles' LeSean McCoy]
Bears planning to attack defenses with Jeffery. Matt Bowen of the National Football Post has a great read on how he would use rookie receiver Alshon Jeffrey to get downfield against press coverage. The Bears are looking to revamp a receiver corps that has been less than impressive in the last few years.
Vontaze Burfict is looking to turn things around. When a horrible combine folded into a penalty-filled time at Arizona State in the minds of NFL personnel executives, the grades started to come back on linebacker Vontaze Burfict: Undraftable. After Burfict was shut out of the draft process, he contacted teams and asked for a chance. The Cincinnati Bengals took a shot, and head coach Marvin Lewis is hoping for a steal in Burfict on top of a very strong draft class. "He's a better conditioned athlete now than he was at the combine and at ASU in March. If he continues to go down that path, he seems bright enough to learn. He seems willing to want change this image people have of him," Lewis told Joe Reedy of Cincinnati.com. "He can be a good football player. Learn to bend his knees, play behind his pads, strike people within the whistles and life is good."
[Shutdown Corner: Saints rookie cornerback Corey White gets reality check from Drew Brees]
Ryan Lindley adds intrigue to Cards' QB situation. Our buddy Greg Cosell has told us that as erratic as San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley was through his collegiate career, you could put together a reel of his 20 best plays, and think you were looking at a first-round pick. Lindley went in the sixth round, but he might jump up the depth chart sooner than expected.
"He's a big guy with a big arm," Cardinals quarterbacks coach John McNulty told Fox Sports Southwest. "He's not intimidated by anything out here. You can just tell, with the experience he has and his demeanor, he doesn't get too off-kilter one way or the other. He's been through a lot of different things and seen a lot of different things in games."
Trent Richardson is officially "a freak." Much of the talk in Browns rookie camp was about rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, but those in the know opined that running back Trent Richardson was the real star of the thing.
"Just look at him," Weeden told Cleveland.com. "Whatever he is, 5-10 [actually 5-9 1/4], 225 pounds and he's 2 percent body fat. He's got a special ability when the ball's in his hands. You can tell when you hand it to him, he takes it from you. He runs hard, and I'm really anxious to see him when he puts the pads on."
Browns head coach Pat Shurmur agreed. "I think he can hide behind blockers, and we saw him do that at times at Alabama, naturally," the coach said. "He's a very patient runner. He's got excellent vision, so when he sees daylight, he can get his foot down and get up in it. By the nature of his build, he's sometimes hard to get your arms around and tackle. That natural leverage that he has also gives him great balance and body control."
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