Some early results are in, and it appears there is in fact good news from the rookie mini-camp. Now, much of it is delivered in the form of backhanded compliments, but as we've discussed before, it's hard to hide optimism on rookies. It's especially hard to hide it coming off a 6-10 season.
Some rookies who earned praise:
RT Rob Petitti He apparently struggled in protection drills, and admitted that his mind is tied up in knots trying to learn the footwork at RT after playing LT in college. But when the head coach says he's "intrigued" by you and that he feels you can play, the rest of us should take notice.
OLB Kevin Burnett The second round pick from Tennessee got praise from DC Mike Zimmer for his speed, intelligence and skill in pass coverage. I predicted he would be the most likely linebacker to start and I see nothing to suggest I was wrong. Bradie James better be working extra hard on his assignments because he's got competition.
DE/OLB Demarcus Ware A lot of people on these threads felt Ware should get the nod over Al Singleton at SOLB. They may be right. Ware got a lot of time playing over tight ends and received praise from the TEs in camp for his jamming skills. Ware apparently has some coverage skills, which will only increase his playing time.
In short, nobody at the Ranch has backed down on their optimism over the three first day picks. Ware, Spears and especially Burnett appear as good as advertised. Add the good things said about Petitti, Tyson Thompson, Marion Barber and Jay Ratliff and you have to feel good. Yes, it's three days in shorts playing against rookies and second year guys, but why go looking for pessimism?