Stock Up, Stock Down for NFL Rookie Camps
NFL rookie camps really don't mean all that much, but it's still important to perform well.
These early evaluations will carry on into training camp, so the rookies that hope to break the starting lineup must make a great early impression.
We're all huge fans of the NFL, and picking apart every event is part of the job. Everybody wants to see positive reports from these rookie camps.
Stock Up: Mychal Kendricks, Philadelphia Eagles
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Landing Mychal Kendricks will really improve the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive play.
He's extremely athletic and capable of playing multiple positions, and it didn't take long for him to make an impression on the coaching staff.
Kendricks showed his versatility by intercepting a pass off Nick Foles deep down the field, according to Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Philadelphia has been criticized for plugging smaller linebackers into the starting lineup. However, size isn't the issue—it's the lack of instincts and overall feel for the game.
Kendricks will be making tons of plays this year in Philadelphia.
Stock Down: Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati Bengals
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Dre Kirkpatrick has a ton of upside but may need some time to adjust to the NFL game.
He's in good hands with the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff, as Mike Zimmer and Marvin Lewis know how to field a highly productive defensive unit.
Still, any type of negative review from a rookie camp is a little disconcerting. The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy reported, "Some times he did well and other times he struggled as the receivers got a step or two in coverage."
Reedy talks about how Kirkpatrick struggled against players the likes of Armon Binns, a practice squad player last year.
Stock Up: Courtney Upshaw, Baltimore Ravens
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There'll be a ton of NFL teams that look back and regret passing on Courtney Upshaw. He's a complete football player who can both rush the pass and hold up against the run.
The Baltimore Ravens' team website reported, "He recognized a swing pass on one play, and would have had a tackle for loss, drawing praise from linebackers coach Ted Monachino. He also had a tipped pass that was picked off."
Terrell Suggs' injury will be less painful because of the addition of Upshaw. However, Upshaw is more of an upgrade over the departed Jarret Johnson.
This is my top candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year, as Upshaw might post double-digit sacks and provide solid run defense.
Stock Down: Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
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Mike Sando of ESPN.com noted the following about Bobby Wagner: "His body type was notable. Wagner is shorter than the prototypical linebacker. He also appears thicker through his lower body."
The Seattle Seahawks have limited depth at the linebacker position, and Wagner is being counted on to play an important role.
However, size issues could limit the versatility of a linebacker. Seattle needs a powerful force in the middle of its defense.
Stock Up: Riley Reiff, Detroit Lions
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Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported that Riley Reiff will see time at both left and right tackle.
This shows that the Detroit Lions value Reiff and feel that he'll eventually crack the starting lineup.
He's going to enter training camp with the opportunity to beat out either Jeff Backus or Gosder Cherilus. The Lions are basically giving him every opportunity to make an immediate impact during his rookie season.
They know that the health of Matthew Stafford is key to the future success of this team. Madden cover boy Calvin Johnson won't have a major impact without Stafford in the lineup.
Stock Down: A.J. Jenkins, San Francisco 49ers
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Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press noted that A.J. Jenkins looked out of shape at rookie camp, and that doesn't bode well for the San Francisco 49ers' first-round pick.
Jim Harbaugh is an intense coach who won't tolerate out-of-shape players, especially rookies.
Stock Up: Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams
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Brian Quick has a ton of upside, but the St. Louis Rams don't have much time to wait for him to develop.
This fact might be causing some optimism within the St. Louis media, as Nick Wagoner of the St. Louis Rams' team website reported that Quick is "smooth and more polished than expected."
The Rams need Quick to make an early impact. Sam Bradford needs a top-notch playmaker if he hopes to rebound from his sophomore slump.
However, it might be a bit premature to dub Quick the No. 1 wide receiver in this offense.
Still, the arrow is pointing up for Quick.
Stock Down: Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
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As unbelievable as it sounds, Kendall Wright received his first-ever playbook at the Tennessee Titans rookie camp, according to NFL.com.
I have a hard time understanding how the offense at Baylor established any type of organization, as even most high school teams have playbooks.
Wright might be an explosive player, but NFL offenses are about timing and teamwork. Freelancing and spreading out the field doesn't work as well in the NFL.
The Titans are an especially conservative offense and will be looking to Wright to be in the correct position.
At this point, it's safe to say it may take Wright some time to adjust to the Titans' offensive game plan.
Stock Up: Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos
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Brock Osweiler debuted a new throwing motion at the Denver Broncos rookie camp, according to Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports.
This doesn't say much other than Osweiler is working hard to perfect his craft.
He showed a lot of moxie and tenacity, and if anyone can benefit from sitting behind Peyton Manning, it's Osweiler.
Osweiler should feel great that the Broncos invested an early pick to add him to the roster. It's even more important that he understands that he needs time to develop into an NFL quarterback.
Osweiler's stock is on the rise.
Stock Down: Donald Stephenson, Kansas City Chiefs
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According to Josh Looney of the Kansas City Chiefs' team website, Donald Stephenson is working at left tackle during the Chiefs rookie camp.
This gives Stephenson more value with the organization, but it really doesn't suit his skill set. Stephenson doesn't have the quickness or anchor to protect the blind side of a quarterback.
Lining Stephenson up at left tackle will only expose his weaknesses. His draft position doesn't guarantee him a roster spot, and once the team gets a glance at his left tackle skills, it'll send him packing.
It's hard to make a good impression if you're forced into a role that doesn't suit your talents.
Brandon Weeden Having Some Early Struggles
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Stock Up: Josh Robinson, Minnesota Vikings
Robinson impressed Leslie Frazier with his speed and burst, according to the Star Tribune (via the Aberdeen News), saying, "Josh (Robinson) caught a punt, and he just took off like a guy shot out of a rocket."
Robinson needs to make an impact on defense, but if he can contribute on special teams he'll help this team.
Stock Down: Joe Looney, San Francisco 49ers
According to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, Looney missed time due to a foot injury. Looney's draft stock dropped because of concerns about his durability, and starting off not able to work out doesn't bode well for his rookie season.
Stock Up: James-Michael Johnson, Cleveland Browns
According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Johnson appears to be getting every opportunity to earn some meaningful snaps. He's being rotated between both inside and outside linebacker.
Johnson is a player that I had rated as a second-round prospect. He can easily make an early impact in the NFL.
Stock Down: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
Kuechly will be starting his NFL career learning a new position. The Panthers plan on starting Kuechly at weakside linebacker, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, which is a position he isn't really familiar with.
Kuechly will make an early impact but might have been more successful at a familiar position.
Stock Up: Terrance Ganaway, New York Jets
According to Mike Vorkunov of The Star-Ledger, Rex Ryan loves Ganaway because of "the running back's smarts, versatility to play fullback and tailback, as well as an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield."
This is a team that might be willing to take a risk on another running back, as Shonn Green and Joe McKnight haven't locked themselves in as long-term options.
Stock Down: Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
Weeden spent most of his college career taking snaps out of the shotgun, and it seems that he's having some issues taking snaps from center, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
There are many predicting Weeden will make an easy transition into the NFL, but his age doesn't make him an NFL-ready quarterback.
Weeden needs time to learn the terminology, drop steps and reads.
Stock Up: Devon Wylie, Kansas City Chiefs
Romeo Crennel said, "He showed some pretty good quickness and things as far as catching the ball goes," according to KCChiefs.com.
Wylie will earn himself a role in the Chiefs offense. He's a more refined receiver than players like Dexter McCluster, who the team forced into that role.
Stock Down: Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions
Broyles had hoped to be ready by the opening day of training camp. However, it seems that that's a real long shot.
His coaches are hopeful that Broyles can make an impact at some point this season. Still, it will take time for him to recover from his injury.
The more time Broyles misses, the less chance he has to win the No. 3 wide receiver role.
Nick Perry Will Need Time to Adjust to Linebacker
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Stock Up: Jeff Allen, Kansas City Chiefs
According to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, Allen is working at left guard, where he has a great chance to unseat Ryan Lilja. I had Allen rated as a player who could make an early impact in the NFL.
Allen's a tough and technically sound football player.
Stock Down: Nick Perry, Green Bay Packers
Perry didn't sound completely comfortable with his transition to linebacker, according to Packers.com. He knows that it will take time but is reportedly willing to listen to the coaches.
Perry has upside, but the Green Bay Packers need him to make an instant impact. Clay Matthews' production depends on Perry's ability to threaten the edge.
Stock Up: Whitney Mercilus, Houston Texans
NFL.com reports that Mercilus will be allowed to ease into his new role as a linebacker, which will really help his development.
The Houston Texans have Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, who showed that they can handle the starting role, and working Mercilus in is a great scenario.
Stock Down: Jonathan Massaquoi, Atlanta Falcons
Massaquoi reported to camp at 260 pounds, which might limit his ability to play defensive end.
I believe Massaquoi is an outside linebacker only and will struggle playing defensive end in the NFL.
His best work is done out of a two-point stance. Massaquoi's career would've benefited more if he'd landed on a team running a 3-4 attack.
Stock Up: Joe Martinek, New York Giants
Tom Coughlin reportedly sees him as a player who can line up at running back or fullback, according to BigBlueView.com, saying, "He's been pretty good the whole camp, very steady. Probably can play both spots. I think he has some position versatility."
Don't sleep on Martinek's athletic ability—he's a player who can make a real impact in the NFL.
Stock Down: Isaiah Pead, St. Louis Rams
I'm splitting hairs here, but missing the first team workout hurts a player's opportunity to make an early impression.
Pead wasn't able to participate because of when Cincinnati's academic year ends, and those high hopes of him replacing Steven Jackson have now been put on hold.
Realistically, Pead's ceiling this year is as a change-of-pace back for the Rams. However, if Jackson goes down with an injury, Pead can be counted on to carry the load.