Up until now, the rookies for the Green Bay Packers have used the OTAs, the minicamp and the first couple of weeks of training camp to impress the coaching staff.
It's hard to gauge the success of the rookies up until this point, because there hasn't been any game video to review except for the Family Night scrimmage last Friday night. Still, some of the rookies have certainly had their moments thus far.
The good news for Ted Thompson is that it appears that his draft class of 2012 looks pretty good up until this point, especially his early selections.
First-round pick Nick Perry continues to look more comfortable at LOLB, where he has been penciled in as a starter since he arrived in Green Bay. Perry is under the constant tutelage of outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene and has looked good as of late rushing the passer, which is the main reason he was drafted.
The first of two second-round picks, DE Jerel Worthy, also has shown he can be strong and explosive at the snap. The other second-rounder, CB Casey Hayward, has impressed the coaching staff so far with his ability to track the football and either break up the pass or pick it off.
Perry looks to be on the field for the defense at all times, whether the Packers are in their base defense or in the nickel or dime looks.
Right now, Worthy is starting in the nickel, while Hayward looks to be one of the DBs in the dime look, which the Packers plan to utilize much more in 2012.
Both of the Packers' fourth-round selections, DE Mike Daniels and S Jerron McMillian, have also looked fairly impressive in camp thus far.
Daniels has shown his ability to rush the passer and has stood out. He will get plenty of opportunities for the Packers in the nickel and dime schemes. McMillian is backing up M.D. Jennings right now in the nickel and dime look, but has shown excellent ability on special teams thus far.
The same holds true for fifth-round pick Terrell Manning, who is currently a backup ILB.
The only rookie draft pick that looks lost at times is one of the Packers' two seventh-round draft picks, OT Andrew Datko. He looked horrible the first week of training camp, both at LT and RT, with his pass blocking. That has improved recently, but Datko has to continue to get better if he intends to make the team.
The other seventh-round pick, QB B.J. Coleman, has looked pretty good overall, both with his arm strength and his accuracy.
The big test for all of them will come on Thursday night. Some of the rookies (Perry, Worthy and Hayward) will play early in the game. Others will get their chances later in the contest.
So, which rookie has made the most waves in training camp thus far? Well, that's a tough question. But if I had to pick out an individual, and as good as some of the draftees have looked, I would choose OLB Dezman Moses, an undrafted rookie.
Ironically, Moses played his college ball for the Green Wave of Tulane, after first playing at Iowa, where he was part of the recruiting class of 2007, along with OT Bryan Bulaga and DT Mike Daniels.
Moses is getting a lot of time at ROLB and on special teams, and he looks like a good shot to make the team right now.
Even though Moses was a DE at Tulane, he still had 15 sacks in 23 games. He has shown an ability to cause havoc with his physical style of play so far with the Packers.
"That's pretty much the way Coach (Kevin) Greene explains it," Moses told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 28th. "He teaches us to play with passion. Obviously, I love the game. Once we put on the pads today, that was fun for me.
"Getting to hit a little bit, contact, get the blood flowing; it's fun."
Moses, along with fellow rookie Terrell Manning, has looked outstanding on special teams thus far in camp too.
It's early, but I see Moses making the team right now. Perhaps at the expense of one of the other undrafted rookies (Frank Zombo or Vic So'oto) who made the team the past couple of years.
The big test for all the rookies starts on Thursday night.
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