Rookie minicamp notes

Posted May 13, 2017

Rookie minicamp got started on Friday. Here were some of the early happenings for the weekend of workouts.

“Best on best”
When the team went into one-on-one drills the coaching staff took advantage of matching up their first-round pick against their second-round pick with Tre’Davious White squaring up against Zay Jones.

“It’s never a bad thing going against Tre’Davious,” said Jones. “A great cornerback. He’s a top guy. He proves it. He’s a hard worker, dedicated and knows his stuff. Going against someone like that is definitely going to prepare me for Sunday.”

“I’m a competitor, so I want to go against the best guys that are out there,” White said. “We matched up every rep and both of us got better. If we continue to do that the next couple of days we’ll be ready to roll once the vets get here.”

Jones had a bit of advantage having one whole side of the field to work with to gain separation. The receiver broke off three of his for routes inside making receptions on all three.

White’s pass breakup abilities showed up when he did not bite on a double move and used good trail technique to knock away a pass for Jones down the right sideline.

“I thought they were both solid,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “They came out here with a very serious demeanor and professional approach. Really, this was the first time they put on a helmet in the NFL. I’m interested to see how they process of going through last night to this morning and onto the field. Again at this point, I feel good about where they are. There is a lot of work ahead of all of us, including them, and getting to where they need to be to help this football team.”

Dawkins on the blind side
He’s expected to be one of the candidates pushing incumbent Jordan Mills for the starting right tackle position this spring and in training camp. During rookie minicamp however, being the most talented lineman on hand, second-round pick Dion Dawkins was lining up at left tackle with the first rookie unit this weekend.

“We have a versatile player, a tough football player that’s long, athletic and the importance of running the football and this climate and philosophically what I believe in and what we believe in, in terms of the importance of running the football and controlling the line of scrimmage,” said McDermott.

Dawkins proved to have a really good anchor as no oncoming defensive end was able to move him off his spot once he set.


Peterman exposure
For those on offense who did not have prior exposure to QB Nate Peterman they’re getting a good idea of what he’s about this weekend. Peterman was in and out of the huddle quickly as he appeared to have a good grasp of calling plays in the huddle on day one of practice.

One player who wasn’t surprised was WR Zay Jones, who worked with him all week at the Senior Bowl in late January.

“When he was drafted I was so excited and I texted him and told him I couldn’t wait to start working with him,” said Jones. “He has a high football IQ. A great guy, strong leader, so I’m excited to learn from him and develop with him.”

Offensive lineman Dion Dawkins was also at the Senior Bowl and got a feel for Peterman’s calls leading up to the snap.

Peterman’s best throw on Friday was a dart that he fired on a crossing route that had good timing with the receiver’s route. The play covered about 15 yards.

Listenbee waiting for clearance
There are a host of first-year players participating in this weekend’s rookie minicamp. Last year’s sixth-round pick Kolby Listenbee would’ve been able to practice, but he has not yet been cleared for football activities.

Listenbee, who had sports hernia surgery last March, had a second pelvic procedure after complications arose post op. He’s working his way back from that now.

“Yeah Kolby is on schedule,” said McDermott. “He is attacking the rehab everyday. I love his attitude and his approach. The trainers are doing a fantastic job of working with Kolby. He’s been back on the field a little bit doing some rehab. I’ve gotten a chance to get to know him and I love where he is and where his mind is right now. So, that is a step in the right direction and a start for us moving forward.”

The hope is Listenbee is ready to return to football by training camp at the latest.

Even though he was sidelined from the action, Listenbee made it a point to step into the huddle to listen to the play calls even though he wasn’t running any routes.

Johnson has feel for the cutback
UB product and undrafted rookie signing Jordan Johnson will get plenty of reps this weekend as he’s one of just two running backs on the field this weekend. First-year player Cedric O’Neal is the other.

Johnson had a good first day demonstrating a good feel for the cutback lane that he exploited on a few run plays during the team periods.