McCarthy likes what he sees from rookies
From Paul Imig, Fox Sports Wisconsin
~GREEN BAY, Wis. — After the first two-hour practice of the Green Bay Packers’ rookie minicamp, coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t about to provide in-depth individual player evaluations with such little information to go on.
But with all eight of the Packers’ draft picks signed before taking the practice field for the first time Friday afternoon, McCarthy had his full complement of players to begin assessing in drill work.
With players in helmets but no pads, contact was minimal, but it was enough to make a first impression with the Green Bay coaching staff.
First-round pick Nick Perry, who is switching from his preferred spot as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense to outside linebacker in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme, lined up at left outside linebacker, the position typically occupied by Clay Matthews.
“We played Nick Perry exclusive on the left side,” McCarthy said. “That will definitely be the starting point for him.”
Jerel Worthy, Green Bay’s second pick at No. 51 overall, immediately looked like the type of dominant force on the defensive line that the Packers are hoping he can become.
“His first step is clearly something that we were excited about when we evaluated him in college,” McCarthy said of Worthy. “You could definitely see that. I don’t like to compare players, but he has a very explosive first step, even for a big guy. Whether he’s playing the 3-technique or even the shade, he’s definitely going to be a factor inside. That was evident through our drill work today.
“Very explosive for a big guy.”
The other second-round pick general manager Ted Thompson traded up to get, cornerback Casey Hayward, like Perry and Worthy, could be asked to start immediately if Charles Woodson moves to safety.
“He looks great,” McCarthy said of Hayward. “He definitely looks very explosive through the hips. It’s something that jumped out at me the little bit I saw during drill work. He’s an excellent athlete. I think he’s an excellent selection. I’m glad he’s here.”
The notable absence on the field was fourth-round pick Mike Daniels, a defensive tackle from Iowa who will not be able to participate at all due to an injured shoulder.
“He may be able to go through (individual position work next week) because there’s not really any contact,” McCarthy said. “I think I’ll get to see Mike on the field Monday, Tuesday and Thursday next week, and then we’ll probably re-evaluate him when we have the physicals the following Monday and see if he’s ready for the first OTA on Tuesday.”
While safety Jerron McMillian (fourth round), linebacker Terrell Manning (fifth round) and offensive tackle Andrew Datko (seventh round) also all participated in drills, there were a lot of eyes on quarterback B.J. Coleman, a seventh-round pick out of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
McCarthy, known for his ability to develop quarterbacks, liked what he saw in Coleman. Throughout the practice, Coleman was splitting throws with recently acquired free-agent pickup Nick Hill, a left-handed former Arena League QB who is part of the competition to be Aaron Rodgers’ top backup.
“I would say Coleman, you could see he has good arm strength,” McCarthy said. “He was very anxious, excited as far as in the classroom, speaking with (offensive coordinator) Tom (Clements) and (quarterbacks coach) Ben (McAdoo). I didn’t spend much time with him in the classroom.
“It’s like a lot of quarterbacks. His footwork history is different than what he’ll be taught here. So there’s going to be adjustments there. You could see that right away.
“But I liked his command in the huddle. He’s aggressive. He can throw it. He’s definitely a young man we’re excited about having here and working with and developing him fundamentally and in the philosophy that we believe in.”
There were also 14 undrafted free-agent signings of the Packers that participated in the full practice session. The most notable names of the group include wide receiver Dale Moss, safety Sean Richardson (a Vanderbilt teammate of Hayward) and USC running back Marc Tyler.
The only other player to miss Friday’s practice was undrafted free agent signing Jaymes Brooks, an offensive interior lineman out of Virginia Tech. Brooks has a hamstring injury and will not be able to participate in any of the rookie sessions.
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