There are few things that say “unimportant” quite like NFL OTA’s. The minicamps that follow them certainly gives them a run for their money, but it’s still not the real thing. As a result of the new CBA, teams aren’t allowed to practice as much as they used to be and are allowed to get much less contact in when they do.
That hasn’t stopped the players from creating something in the way of news these last few weeks. For a look at some of the more positive news to come out of OTA’s, read on.
1. The Year of the Comeback: Both Johnny Jolly and Jamarcus Russell are making an attempt to come back in the NFL. Jolly’s former team, the Green Bay Packers, has taken him back with open arms and is giving him every chance possible to win a roster spot. Russell has apparently landed a tryout with the Chicago Bears.
2. Geno Smith, Getting Reps with the Starters: Is the Mark Sanchez era in New York finally reaching it’s merciful end? Probably not, but it’s worth speculating on with Smith getting reps with the first-team offense. His play to this point hasn’t been stellar, but he’s clearly doing something right to warrant this kind of promotion - even if it is just in practice.
3. Tyler Wilson is Turning Heads: In case you haven’t heard, Tyler Wilson could be the second coming of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or something. OK, no, not seriously, but there has been no shortage of praise heaped upon this kid since becoming the Raiders fourth round pick in the draft. Some people are even going so far as to suggest Wilson should start in Week 1.
4. Denard Robinson’s Role with the Jaguars: He played college football as a quarterback, was expected to be drafted as a wide receiver and now finds himself listed as a running back and kick returner. Eclectic fellow. Whatever his role with the club winds up being, the word out of OTA’s is that the team looks to get 10 to 15 plays in a game for Robinson, which isn’t bad for a 5th round pick currently behind Maurice Jones-Drew on the depth chart.
5. Terrance Williams Starting to Come On: His first series of practices with the Cowboys didn’t go incredibly well. William was dropping passes and looking every bit the part of a rookie third round pick. Now, as they inch towards the end of the OTAs, Williams is really starting to come on. He’s all but guaranteed to land the spot as the Cowboys third receiver, but could even challenge Miles Austin for the second spot on the depth chart at this rate.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV