For the rookies in this weekend’s minicamp, you want to hear some good news. A draft pick making an impact play. Confidence in picking up the playbook. Guys having the right attitude and demeanor.
All of that is important. But above all is health. Football is back. And so are the risk for injuries.
Two hours away, the Cleveland Browns found that out the hard way yesterday. Fourth round pick, cornerback Howard Wilson, suffered a fractured patella during yesterday’s practice. The team wouldn’t confirm he’ll miss the entire season but at the least, portions of 2017. It’s more likely he misses the whole year.
Browns 4th round pick CB Howard Wilson suffered a fractured patella yesterday at rookie minicamp. He had already signed his contract.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) May 13, 2017
Or Dante Fowler Jr, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first round pick in 2015, who tore his ACL on the first day of rookie minicamp. The list could go on and on. Obviously, you’re not going to learn about a player if they’re on the mend. Rookie minicamp, as Mike Tomlin spoke to yesterday, is about instilling the basics of the playbook and creating the culture. The evaluation period can began when NFL veterans and superstars join in during OTAs and more importantly, training camp and preseason games.
For the UDFAs and tryout players, looking impressive means more, especially for the latter. But for the draft picks? Get through it healthy and a basic understanding of the playbook and I’m a happy guy.
While I – like you – are all exciting to get our hands on any morsel of information about these players, and it is important, seeing everyone come off the field healthy is the number one priority.