It’s time to take a look at some more rumors and news surrounding minicamp performances, partially because there is little else to talk about and partially because some of these nuggets can prove to be useful in the future. For instance, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane were camp standouts for the Seattle Seahawks last year, and they went on to have very strong performances when called upon after injuries and/or suspensions to cornerbacks above them on the depth chart.
1. We all know it’s a make-or-break year for Sam Bradford, and the St. Louis Rams have stood squarely behind him when they could have easily pulled the quarterback of their choice with the second overall pick. Instead, Les Snead and Jeff Fisher stood by their praise of the former No. 1 overall pick, and Snead’s tenure with the Rams is pretty much riding on Bradford’s success. I’ve been in his corner as well, because I think he can be a solid quarterback. He played well last year before tearing his ACL, and he’ll have even better weapons around him with running back Tre Mason, Zac Stacy carrying the rushing game, and the addition of Kenny Britt to go with more developed receivers.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas, Bradford “looked sharp” again yesterday after receiving another slate of back-to-back practices, and it’s clear that he’s made great progress from his ACL tear. All the ingredients are there for Bradford to have a good year, and I have faith in him. As for one of the developing second-year wide receivers, Stedman Bailey, who was a pinpointed as a sleeper in the 2013 class, put in a good day of practice yesterday.
2. Although Mike Williams was a standout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he’s only set to be the Buffalo Bills No. 3 receiver next season behind even younger wideouts Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. The latter will play plenty in the slot, as that will be his position in three-wide sets. Woods is an excellent receiver on intermediate routes due to his safe hands and savvy route-running, and WGR 550’s Joe Buscaglia writes that Woods has been a camp standout due to his dependability. Look for him to be E.J. Manuel’s safety blanket and the chain-mover of this Bills offense.
3. Bruce Ellington was a favorite mid-round receiver for many draft analysts, and the San Francisco 49ers got an absolute steal when they were able to add him to a wide receiver corps that went from decent to great this offseason. The versatile playmaker has made a “widespread positive impression”, per the San Jose Mercury News’s Cam Inman, on the 49ers in minicamp, with Colin Kaepernick praising the agile rookie’s long speed. Ellington’s ability to play inside or outside is coveted by the Niners, and Inman noted that he ended the 49ers day of practice by hauling in a touchdown catch from competing backup quarterback Josh Johnson.
4. Denarius Moore was kicked around in trade rumors earlier this offseason, and those won’t die out if Andre Holmes continues to play well in offseason workouts. That said, I wouldn’t want to trade Moore away, since it never hurts to have four quality receivers, but it does hurt to potentially run thin at the position. Rod Streater, of course, is the leader of the Raiders wide receiver corps, and he’s had a huge offseason this year after notching 888 receiving yards last season. According to CSN California’s Scott Bair, Streater “has looked pretty darn good this week”, which isn’t a surprise to Raiders fans but is good to hear nonetheless.
5. There’s no doubt that Chicago Bears rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller was one of the prospects who received a huge amount of positive buzz in the pre-draft process, and that has carried into offseason workouts. Per the Chicago Tribune’s Rich Campbell, Fuller has shown great skill in man-to-man coverage and run defense, which are two things that he excelled at while at Virginia Tech. The first-round pick came into the draft as the best run defending corner, as well as the most physical corner (well, right there with Darqueze Dennard at least). This team desperately needed a guy like Fuller, and there’s plenty of reason to have faith in his ability to step in and immediately play at a high level; he already possesses an advanced feel for the position.