Rookie Camp Roundup: Will Anderson’s Excitement, Seahawks First Look at Potentially Impactful Class, More
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are here working, doing things they need to. They’re doing it with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement,” Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said. “I think a lot of it has to do with what we’ve done on the offensive side. I think Eric has brought some optimism, and you listen to the guys talk about it.”
Rookie mini-camps were in session this weekend across the NFL, including in D.C., where Commanders head coach Ron Rivera complimented new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for setting the tone. We’ll start this rookie camp roundup in D.C., where Eric Bieniemy and Emmanual Forbes made strong impressions.
After failing to land a head coaching gig in another hiring cycle, Bieniemy departed Kansas City to become Washington’s offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Rivera told reporters that Bieniemy has set a new tone with veterans and rookies on the offensive side of the ball since taking the job three months ago. Bieniemy could use his time in D.C. to finally land that elusive head coaching job. From the sounds of this weekend, he’s off to a strong start.
On the defensive side of the ball, rookie Emmanuel Forbes stole the show.
The Commanders worked Forbes in the slot this weekend, something new for the first-team All-SEC selection from Mississippi State. If Rivera and the Commanders want to keep Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St-Juste on the outside, that’s where Forbes will slot in to open the season.
According to The Athletic’s Ben Standig, Forbes looked the part this weekend. Standig said that Forbes spied and intercepted former Fordham QB Tim DeMorat in 7-on-7’s this weekend and had another deflection before rain forced the team inside.
Will Anderson is excited to do whatever the Texans need …
Will Anderson will play the EDGE position with his hand on the ground for the Texans this season despite mainly playing outside linebacker at Alabama. However, Anderson said the “position change” isn’t that much of a change for him. Anderson has experience in high school and some at Alabama.
“Yeah, well, being at Alabama, you know, they played me very versatile, so when we go to any type of flex defense, I was already playing a five-technique, which I’m kind of used to playing on the outside of the tackle. The four [point technique] was an adjustment for me, but my regular position was always hand in the dirt, five-technique, and stuff like that. Keying the outside pad of the tackle. So I’m kind of already used to that. I have been playing that my whole life since high school. Alabama just used me in more different ways, differently, but I’ve had that experience.”
Anderson said that he’s just excited to do whatever the Texans need him to do this season.
“I’m very excited. However they want to use me, it’s just going to be anything I’ve kind of did at Alabama, so I’m super excited. But just to do anything they need for the team.”
Seattle gets a first look at what they hope will be another impactful draft class …
The next stop on our rookie camp roundup takes us to the pacific northwest, where the Seahawks got their first look at their 2023 draft class. The Seahawks hope that a class headlined by Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba can have as significant an impact as last year’s class.
Left tackle Charles Cross, right tackle Abe Lucas, cornerback Tariq Woolen, running back Kenneth Walker III, and nickelback Coby Bryant all played more than 500 snaps for the Seahawks last year. Kenneth Walker III and Tariq Woolen were finalists for the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards last season. In addition, second-round pick and EDGE rusher Boye Mafe played more than 400 snaps. So, big shoes to fill for the 2023 draft class in Seattle.
However, Witherspoon and Smith-Njigba were both limited this weekend. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll didn’t seem too concerned with their status, though.
“We don’t want to go too far too fast,” Carroll said. “There’s no reason at this point because they can still get all the learning done.”
Witherspoon and Smith-Njigba participated in walk-throughs this weekend, and The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar said they looked solid. He said that even in a walk-through setting, it was easy to envision what JSN’s impact might look like:
“Even in a walkthrough setting, it’s easy to envision the stress Smith-Njigba is going to put on defenses when he’s in the slot matched up against linebackers, nickel corners, and box safeties while DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett draw the attention of the opponent’s best coverage men on the outside.”
Running back Zach Charbonnet was a full participant this weekend.
Rookie camp roundup quick hitters …
- Chargers head coach Brandon Staley and GM Tom Telesco praised Quentin Johnston’s size and athleticism at Chargers camp this weekend. Johnston has some work to do in the route-running and concentration department, but he’s got some great examples to learn from.
- Johnston’s QB at TCU, Max Duggan, was throwing to him this weekend at the rookie mini-camp. Johnston said that it felt like they were back in Forth Worth. Duggan complimented Johnston, calling “who he is as a person” his best trait.
- Falcons head coach Arthur Smith says that the Falcons are working on the mental aspects as much as the physical with their rookies:
- Dalton Kincaid “looked smooth, but has to shake off some ‘rust'” in his first weekend with the Bills: