Saturday, May 12, 2012
Taking notes: NFC West rookie camps
By Mike Sando
A quick spin around NFC West rookie camps in search of notes to file away:
- Arizona Cardinals: Tight end Steve Skelton, brother of quarterback John Skelton, might have a shot at earning a roster spot this season. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic made that observation. Todd Heap, Jeff King, Rob Housler and Jim Dray would outrank Skelton on the depth chart at tight end. Those four stuck on the initial 53-man roster last season. Arizona had opened with three tight ends on its roster in every other season since Ken Whisenhunt became head coach in 2007.
- San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback Alex Smith took the time this offseason to work on his mechanics. Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle has the details. Some offseason stories can be overblown (players adjusting their workout routines, etc.). This one intrigues because the coach Smith consulted has worked with Tom Brady, Drew Brees and other top quarterbacks. An assistant coach once told me Brady had better mechanics entering the NFL than any quarterback he had evaluated. Mechanics matter a great deal for quarterbacks. Brady remains close to perfect in that area. The question for Smith or any quarterback is whether he'll revert to bad habits under pressure.
- St. Louis Rams: The team has high expectations for rookie receivers Brian Quick and Chris Givens. Quick, a second-round choice from Appalachian State, was supposed to be raw. Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com called Quick "smooth and more polished that expected" during the first practice of camp. Coach Jeff Fisher singled out Quick's "good hips" relative to his size (Quick is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds). The plan has to be for Quick in particular to develop quickly enough to help right away. Initial reports suggest the Rams are optimistic on that front.
- Seattle Seahawks: I forgot to mention second-round pick Bobby Wagner in my report from Seahawks camp Friday. His body type was notable. Wagner is shorter than the prototypical linebacker. He also appears thicker through his lower body. The Seahawks pointed to his 4.4-second speed when they selected him. Position coach Ken Norton Jr. was noncommittal when asked whether Wagner, a middle linebacker, could project to the outside (K.J. Wright would play the middle in that scenario). The staff would prefer to keep Wright, a 2011 fourth-round choice, on the strong side. That is where fifth-round rookie Korey Toomer projects as well. Toomer's athleticism jumped out right away, including when he picked off a tipped pass.
These are day-one impressions, so they come with all the usual disclaimers. It'll be interesting to revisit them during the season.