The 5 Biggest Takeaways from the New York Jets' Rookie Minicamp

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IMay 13, 2013

The 5 Biggest Takeaways from the New York Jets' Rookie Minicamp

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    The New York Jets' future began last week, as the team held its annual rookie minicamp session in Florham Park. 

    With the loss of Darrelle Revis and a number of high-profile veteran starters this offseason, the rookies will immediately be thrust into key roles. 

    Even though it's so early in the offseason, the minicamp is extremely important to the development of the youngsters as they transition to the pro game.

    Here are the five biggest takeaways from this past week's minicamp.

Geno Smith Can Handle the Media

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    Both before and after the NFL draft, Geno Smith was the subject of intense media scrutiny, as the rookie quarterback was allegedly texting his friends and playing games on his phone during visits at team facilities. 

    While Smith appeared flustered by the criticism earlier, he maintained himself well throughout the minicamp media sessions. 

    Smith answered questions with confidence and composure, and he said all the right things.

    While there were many doubts on whether the former West Virginia star could adequately handle the New York media, if this past week was any indication, he will be fine.

Sheldon Richardson Could Be a Difference Maker

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    Fans and experts alike criticized the Jets' first-round selection of Sheldon Richardson.

    Many argued that New York had way more dire needs than defensive end, while others believed that Richardson was an inferior prospect to fellow defensive line prospects Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd.

    However, Richardson impressed coaches and the media during minicamp practices this past week.

    Richardson looked both strong and athletic on the field, and he was one of the camp's biggest standouts.

    The Missouri product appeared well-prepared to take on a significant role in his rookie season. 

    Richardson could be an impact player on the defensive line in both the run and passing games in 2013. 

Geno Smith Is the Favorite in the Quarterback Battle

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    Along with handling the media well, Geno Smith was extremely impressive on the field during this past week's minicamp. 

    Smith completed 17 of 25 passes (68 percent completion percentage) on his first day of practice, and only improved from there. 

    Rex Ryan and Co. were equally impressed with Smith's performance on the field as his performance with the media. 

    The second-round pick showcased terrific accuracy and great footwork and mechanics. 

    The early success vaults Smith into the lead of this offseason's quarterback battle. 

    If Smith can continue to impress, he should lock up the starting job with ease in his rookie season. 

Dee Milliner Is as Fragile as Expected

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    While Geno Smith and Sheldon Richardson impressed this past week, Dee Milliner struggled to even get on the field. 

    Milliner, who underwent shoulder surgery in February right after the NFL combine, was limited to the stationary bike.

    While the injury seems nothing major, the Alabama product has dealt with health concerns throughout his football career. 

    Milliner has already had surgery five times, and his durability is a major concern.

    While it's too early to hit the panic button, Jets fans should be concerned with Milliner's inability to stay on the field for any lengthy period of time.

Rex Ryan Has Got His Swagger Back

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    Rex Ryan's seat may be on fire after back-to-back non-playoff season, but you wouldn't know it from his offseason behavior. 

    After being humbled by the continued failure of his team the last two seasons, Ryan appears to have his bravado back.

    Ryan is reportedly taking back control of the defense this season, as he feels the unit will be stronger with more of his attention. 

    The defensive guru also publicly called out star Quinton Coples' work ethic and has not apologized. 

    While the actions may seem minor, they are serious signs that the cocky and audacious Rex we all know and love may be back in 2013.