Steelers Rookie Minicamp Recap: No reported injuries, intrigue wins the day

Justin K. Aller

The rookies finished up their first official practices with the Steelers, and prepare for the upcoming full team OTAs May 21-23.

Rookie minicamp is probably a step ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in terms of getting a clear picture as to which players will have higher or lower value come the start of the regular season.

At the very least, the coaches get to work extensively with their new players on technique and give them a sense of what's to come.

From what we've seen so far, the rookies put up solid effort. That and a buck fifty will you get a coffee and a newspaper on Sunday.

But at least no one was injured.

Drawing positive reviews were fourth-round safety Shamarko Thomas, fifth-round cornerback Terry Hawthorne and first-year veteran Marshall McFadden. Fourth-round quarterback Landry Jones didn't fare so well at the start of camp, but the quarterbacks probably have the toughest adjustment period.

First-round pick Jarvis Jones did enough to not be labeled as a project, but reports indicate he seemed a bit thinner than some had thought he would. If nothing else, he's working hard to earn his first round reputation, and isn't bitter - but rather, embracing - teams didn't take him higher than 17.

But he's too much like James Harrison, remember?

It's certainly not the most attention-grabbing piece of news over the weekend, but positives were also given out to a few players - Thomas and sixth-round linebacker Vince Williams in particular - about what they showed in special teams. New coach Danny Smith is said to be really promoting an aggressive and turnover-creating unit.

Speaking of special teams, there's still potential Cult Hero Reggie Dunn, who's biggest asset in his battle to earn a roster spot is his return ability.

We've enjoyed the stories of Mike Golic and Nic Embernate, and the allure of finding two offensive linemen who could contribute without having to use a draft pick, but that's pushing the envelope a bit. Perhaps next year.

Another fringe-roster guy is seventh-round defensive lineman Nick Williams. A great story about how he ended up in Pittsburgh, as well as the high ceiling he has, makes himself a player to watch come training camp.

Maybe he'll make a splash even earlier than that. The Steelers next scheduled full team portion of OTAs May 21-23. Subsequent OTAs are scheduled for May 28-30 and June 3-6. Minicamp is scheduled June 11-13.


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