NFL Rookie Minicamps: Relax About Burks, Tennessee; Linemen Set To Start In Dallas, And Tampa; LB In New Defense With Jags

Rookie minicamps around the NFL came and went the last couple of weekends and it was wonderful because the draft offers lots of tape on players and meetings with them in casual settings.

Minicamps puts those guys on the field.

In their new team’s defense with their new coaches and assignments. It can be an immediate confirmation of what teams thought they drafted. Or it can be an eyebrow raiser.

So let’s take a trip around a couple of camps.

And let’s start with some massive overreaction because, well, that’s what the media does — even in May.

In Tennessee the first day of rookie minicamp for Treylon Burks was cringeworthy.

Burks, the first-round pick who played at Arkansas and is the team’s best hope for replacing since-traded A.J. Brown, left practice twice his first day.

He initially looked to be having some issues catching his breath and then came back out, ran a few routes, and left again. He did not return.

The rookie got through the entire practice on Saturday, which was good, but had a notable drop.

Nightmare. He’ll never be as good as A.J. Brown. Disaster in the making.

“They all have, we all have a long way to go,” coach Mike Vrabel said.

Relax, folks. It’s May.

The Titans are in Phase II of their OTAs on Monday and rookies will join the veterans in workouts. Burks will see immediately the difference between NFL conditioning and combine preparation conditioning.

And the guess here is he’ll catch up.

Tyler Smith Headed Toward Starting Job

In Dallas, first round pick Tyler Smith got his first NFL work at left guard, after which offensive line coach Joe Philbin, who normally has the sense of humor of a door knob, reached for a pun perhaps without even knowing it.

“We wanted to get his feet underneath him a bit,” Philbin said and later added. “It was a good first step.”

Smith will be the Cowboys’ starting guard in 2022 and the only way that isn’t true is unless something goes terribly wrong.

Buccaneers Rookie’s Trash Talk Will Fit In

The Buccaneers traded for Shaq Mason to play one guard spot but have another opening in the starting lineup because they lost both Ali Marpet (retired) and Alex Cappa (free agency) so all eyes are on second-round pick Luke Goedeke.

Goedeke, 6-foot-5 and 312 pounds, played offensive tackle at Central Michigan but is headed to a guard spot next to veteran center Ryan Jensen.

And Goedeke is looking forward to playing next to the veteran known for his aggressive, trash-talking approach. Because Goedeke is a like-minded individual.

“I know he likes to get after defensive linemen and that’s right up my alley,” Goedeke said. “Watching him on film – it gets me fired up watching him. I heard he likes smack-talking a little bit, which I partake in that here and there as well. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Goedeke was asked to describe “partake” and it sounded perfect.

“I’ll throw in a few little word-jabs here and there,” he said. “I mean, if the refs start saying something, then I’ll stop. My play-style, I like to play with what I like to call ‘controlled rage.’ I don’t like to push my limits too far where it draws penalties, obviously, because that’s just detrimental to the team.

“Like you said, it’s teetering on a fine line. I believe I play just on the good side of that line where I don’t draw very many penalties whatsoever.”

Devin Lloyd Has Issues To Overcome … And He Will

It’s possible to believe the Jacksonville Jaguars will be patient with inside linebacker Devin Lloyd and may not ask him to be a Day 1 starter.

They did, after all, sign Foye Oluokun in free agency.

And the Jacksonville defense, which is a base 3-4, is new to Lloyd.

Nah.

Kid’s got Day 1 starter written all over him, but he has to earn it. And he has to catch up on the new defense.

“This is my first time in a 3-4, but I love it,” Lloyd said. “I feel like if you look at the people that we have and we’re not even practicing with the vets or anything like that, but even the guys we have right now, everybody’s athletic. Everybody has to do a lot of things which fits to my
skill set.

“I just love what the coaches have going on here as far as what they’re asking the players to do,
how we’re attacking offenses, and really our mentality as a defense. I like what we have going on.”

The front will be different for Lloyd. But he’s a smart player so he’ll get it, even when Jacksonville coaches as the two inside linebackers to swap against certain offenses or on certain calls.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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