The word from teammates and the head coach of the Green Bay Packers is that their first two picks in the 2011 NFL Draft are picking up the offense quite well in the early going.
First-round draft choice Derrek Sherrod and second-round draft choice Randall Cobb could potentially impact the Packers as much as any player in this year's draft class, and their knowledge of the offense is almost as important as their execution if they're going to see extensive playing time this season.
Of the rookie wide receiver, Mike McCarthy said on Monday, "Randall (Cobb) is everything physically we thought he would be, and he has a good understanding so far of what we've asked him to do. ... He's bright-eyed, communicates very well and seems to be picking things up pretty rapidly."
Cobb has a lot on his plate for a rookie, in addition to his role on offense, he'll be asked to contribute to the Packers on special teams in a return capacity.
Perhaps it helps that because of the depth at wide receiver, he can be brought along slowly in the offensive phase of the game. But according to most reports, his talent has been readily apparent through the first three training camp practices of 2011.
"I think he's learning really fast," said fellow wide receiver Greg Jennings. "I think he's a very smart learner. ... But I think he's definitely going to have an impact on what we're able to do offensively and especially special teams wise."
As for Sherrod, he's been working as the first-string left guard since day one of camp. He's never played the position before, and predictably, he faces a steep learning curve.
The results have been mixed thus far, but working in Sherrod's favor is the mental side of the game.
"He's very bright, you can see it in the classroom," said McCarthy. "I really like what you see, physically. But we're asking him to do things a little differently than he's been asked to do them in college, so he's going to take some time."
From the start Sherrod has been locked in a battle with third-year player T.J. Lang for the open starting position at left guard vacated when incumbent starter Daryn Colledge left in free agency for the Arizona Cardinals.
In addition, the Mississippi State product has also been taking roughly 20% of his snaps every evening at left tackle making his transition a little more challenging.
"I think everyone's catching up pretty quick," said tackle Bryan Bulaga, who was in a similar role as Sherrod last year as a first-round offensive lineman. "I think the guys, I can't speak for everyone, but in our group guys are catching up quick and kind of getting the feel for everything."
It hasn't help this year's rookie class that the Packers' offseason program didn't occur this past spring and summer due to the NFL lockout.
Even though those offseason practices would have been held without pads, they would have at least given them a knowledge base to help pick up the offense and get them acclimated to professional football. Bulaga can attest to how much it helped him a season ago.
"It definitely was important," said Bulaga. "You kind of came into training camp with an understanding of how the tempo of the practices went, how the structure of the practices went. It's a little unfortunate these guys didn't have the opportunity to do that."
In the fast-paced world of NFL football, the game will not stop and start at a rookie's convenience. Sherrod and Cobb must continue to learn on the fly.
- Like Like
- 0 points