Even with first rounders Shaq Lawson(shoulder) and Kevin Dobbs(foot) out with pre camp surgeries for the respective Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans, Clemson football still has seven other NFL picks currently in pre-season camps.
Here are some updates on each player:
Zac Brooks. Brooks was the last of three running backs drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, so it might be hard for him to get playing time this year.
As of today, he and fellow draftee C.J. Prosise are both out with hamstring injuries, but Brooks’ talent hasn’t gone unnoticed. Before his injury, he was getting reps as the third down back, and he even had a long run during an 11 on 11 session. Head coach Pete Carroll offered these words about the Clemson product.
“He’s taking advantage of it,” Carroll said. “He’s had a couple of good days now, he’s a very good catcher, he has receiving in his background, as well,” Carroll said. He’s a versatile player and he’s made a really good first impression.”
Jayron Kearse. So far, Kearse has done a great job in Vikings camp despite his tall stature. He has made numerous plays on the ball in coverage, and Minnesota Defensive Coordinator George Edwards talked about the challenges that Kearse faces as a tall safety.
"Yeah, we’ve had a tall safety in the past. The biggest thing is, he’s going to have to continue to stay low in his backpedal and in his reaction to be able to get in and out of cuts, because he is a little bit taller, but I’ll tell you what, he has done a nice job of doing that through the camp, which is something we didn’t see a lot of with him first coming out initially. But coming down in the box to play the run, he has exhibited the ability to do those types of things, and he’s able to have power and explosion out of his hips. So, we’re excited where he’s at right now and look for him to continue to grow and progress as we go through the rest of the preseason."
Kearse is currently listed as the third team strong safety, but he will have a chance to close the gap between him, Andrew Sendejo, and starter Michael Griffin. Harrison Smith is the starter at free safety and he offered this assessment of Kearse.
“He is a very talented guy. He can do everything well and he’s getting better every day, so we are lucky to have him.”
He is listed as a 5th receiver on the initial Jets offensive depth chart, but his recent performances may change his status soon. Check out the comments on the video below.
D.J. Reader. Reader has been impressive enough to be the second team nose tackle for the Houston Texans and here are two observations from camp.
Texans analyst, John Harris mentioned Reader in his 28 observations from Saturday at #TexansCamp:
"6.The half line drill was made for rookie D.J. Reader. I’m not sure I’ve seen many defensive tackles that can not only stay strong versus the double team, but push back against it. I saw him do that in a rep today. He has continued to impress."
He was also previously in the 27 observations from Day 3 of #TexansCamp:
"21. I mentioned D.J. Reader earlier in observations and this is the second time I’ve seen him in pads in 2016. I’ve told the story of seeing him at the Senior Bowl down in Mobile and how he stonewalled everyone in their tracks. That got everyone’s attention. I’d been waiting to see whether that would translate at this level and guessed that it would when the pads went on. It certainly did. He moves like an edge rusher and can get his hips turned when necessary. He’s strong as an ox. More good things are needed from him and they’re coming."
The 5th round pick is realizing his potential and living up to what his father envisioned for him.
B.J. Goodson. Goodson is currently listed as the third team MIKE linebacker behind starter and former Gamecock, Jasper Brinkley and Kelvin Sheppard. He will also be used on special teams, but he has made enough plays during both camp sessions that he can’t be ruled out as a starter for this season.
NY Post’s Paul Schwartz had this to say about Goodson’s future, “I think B.J. Goodson definitely has a chance to win the middle linebacker starting spot, next year. Okay, next year. I think that’s the plan. I think they want him to be a beast on special team’s this year and win the middle linebacker job as a starter next year.”
Schwartz also went on to say that, “Now, you know what-things have a way of changing, so I think B.J. Goodson is a guy that coaches want to be the middle linebacker of the future but sometimes the future is now. But he can do it, he might be able to do it.”
T.J. Green. With projected starter Clayton Geathers out with an injury, Green finds himself as the starting free safety for the Indianapolis Colts. But he didn’t just get the job by default. He has outplayed the competition and has shown why he was a worthy 2nd round pick.
After returning from a calf injury, Green garnered praise from Head coach Chuck Pagano, “It’s great having T.J. back out there. He made a nice interception in the red zone. He broke up another pass in the red zone.
He’s a great athlete, Pagano continues, Like Ryan Kelly and any of the other rookies, there are going to be some mistakes. Coach(Greg)Williams is doing a great job with those guys, Ted’s(Monachino) doing a great job with the whole unit, the communication is getting better every single day. The guy(Green) is definitely a playmaker.
When he gets everything down from a mental standpoint and the game really starts slowing down for him. He’s made a couple plays here and there and I think that is really going to do nothing but get better.”
More from Rubbing the Rock
- Clemson Football: Q&A with Florida State experts at Chop Chat
- Clemson Tigers News: New commitments, Ian Schieffelin and Jonathan Weitz
- Clemson Football needs their biggest stars to shine against Florida State
- Clemson Football: Receiver by committee could work for the Tigers
- No reason for Clemson Football to fear a Seminole takeover
Green was suppose to get his first career start against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but the game was postponed due to unsafe field conditions. However, he will get another opportunity against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.
Mackensie Alexander. Minnesota fans have been waiting to hear some news on the progress of their 2nd round pick and here is what Defensive Coordinator George Edwards had to say about him.
"He’s still in a cognitive state of learning, so he’s still learning the things. It’s his second time through pretty much everything, but he’s still having to think a little bit as far as what we are anticipating call-wise and what we are doing technique and fundamental wise. The thing he’s done a good job with is, he’s been focused, he’s doing a good job of competing every day. As long as he keeps doing that, the more experience that he gets within the system, he’ll continue to get better at it. The biggest thing we try to encourage him to do is to come out, concentrate and focus on what we are doing from the meeting room and the individual [period] and then have that transfer over to our team period."
The Vikings held a Saturday night practice in front of fans and he was doing what Alexander does-Shut them down!!!
Minnesota is currently practicing against the Cincinnati Bengals and the two teams will meet on Friday at 7:30 pm. Alexander is listed as the third team left cornerback and he has also been practicing at the nickel position.
Here is a list of the games that will involve the rookies this week.
Tonight. 7:30 Jacksonville Jaguars vs Jets.
Friday. 7:00 Miami Dolphins vs Giants. 7:30 Minnesota Vikings vs Bengals.
Saturday. 4:30 Seattle Seahawks vs Chiefs. 7:00 Indianapolis Colts vs Bills.
Sunday. 7:00 Houston Texans vs 49ers.