6. The Green Bay Packers gave top quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn a day of rest, so the workload went to returning backup Scott Tolzien and notable undrafted free agent Chase Rettig (Tolzien was also undrafted when he came into the NFL from Wisconsin). ESPN NFL Nation’s Rob Demovsky wrote that Tolzien put in a strong day of work yesterday, calling the third-stringer “especially sharp” on third down throws and praising a touchdown pass to backup TE Brandon Bostick. Tolzien’s roster spot isn’t a guarantee, but I have a hard time seeing him losing it; Rettig looks like a practice squad guy.
7. According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Paul Gutierrez, the Oakland Raiders top two draft picks, Khalil Mack and Derek Carr, continue to have huge offseasons, and it’s still incredible to think that they managed to land both standouts. Mack’s great play isn’t surprising, but it’s great to hear that he isn’t having any issues translating to the NFL from a small school, though the real tests are obviously still waiting. Meanwhile, Carr’s rise continues, and nobody should be surprised that he has left the underwhelming Matt McGloin in the dust, especially since Carr blows him out of the water in the tools department. I still see the Raiders sticking with Matt Schaub, but I have a feeling Dennis Allen and the organization will put the veteran on a short leash if Carr continues to impress. Of course, a player with Carr’s athleticism and arm talent will always shine in workouts, as there are still concerns whether or not he can shine in real games given that he seemingly has to make a big jump from Fresno State to the NFL.
8. In a previous “Minicamp Morning” piece, we noted that Stephen Hill put in a good day of work for the New York Jets at one practice session, and ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini praised the maligned third-year wide receiver for his work yesterday. It’s just the offseason, but it’s great to hear that Hill is at least generating some positive momentum. After all, he had a terrible offseason in 2013 before turning in a putrid season that caused him to be openly criticized by his head coach at one point. Drop problems are enough, but Hills’ inability to grasp an NFL route tree has been a troubling development. Cimini also praised David Nelson for putting in some solid work, but it’s clear that Hill’s play has been the most noteworthy tidbit for the Jets at the wide receiver position. If he can play well in his third season, then he will be on his way to shedding the bust label after coming into the league as a raw but incredibly athletic WR out of Georgia Tech with a deadly size/speed combo.
9. It’s always interesting to take a look at tight ends who are highlighted as potential breakout players in offseason workouts, and we’ve heard the likes of Jordan Cameron, Robert Housler, Zach Ertz, and Ladarius Green receive this designation over the past few seasons. New York Giants tight end Adrien Robinson has been named as a possible breakout player for the Giants at the position for a couple of seasons now, but he has still failed to grasp the starting gig despite his terrific physical tools.
Per NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan, Robinson has been given more snaps with the first-team offense that veteran blocking tight end Daniel Fells, USC rookie Xavier Grimble, Kellen Davis, and Larry Donnell, but the raw 25-year-old still hasn’t established himself as the starter. As the Giants TEs coach said, it’s still a wide open competition, and nobody is separating themselves. I have a hard time envisioning Robinson losing out, as he has the most upside and individual talent of the tight ends competing. Fells is a great blocker and has plenty of experience, but he simply can’t catch passes or stretch defenses like Robinson. It’s an interesting dynamic, which will make for an interesting position battle come August.
10. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was the biggest name in the Oregon Ducks secondary last year, and he’s a lock to be a first-round pick in next year’s draft. However, his partner in crime at corner was also very impressive in college, as Terrance Mitchell didn’t allow a single touchdown to be caught in his coverage. Although less athletic than Ekpre-Olomu, Mitchell was a big-time lockdown corner at Oregon, and that’s probably one reason why he wasn’t talked about nearly enough. Like Devin Street, I consider Mitchell to be a draft day steal for the Dallas Cowboys, and he was one of the best picks in the draft.
He’s also made an impression on one starter on the Cowboys, as cornerback Orlando Scandrick believes that the rookie could even take a starting job this year. He said of Mitchell, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Carlos A. Mendez, “Man can play. Man can play.” Mitchell doesn’t have an easy climb to a starting job, but he had an interception yesterday and has the ability to make an impact in his first year; I would keep a close eye on him in training camp.