SNIDER: Redskins rookies take their chance seriously

Rick Snider
May 11, 2018 - 3:44 pm
Derrius_Guice_LSU

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

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The opening huddle broke with a thunderclap.

Seventy-four rookies flashed during a two-hour light workout at Redskins Park on Friday. Eight draft picks are the only ones knowing they'll reach training camp on July 26 in Richmond. The rest were hoping to show something, anything that makes coaches want to keep them.

So they took it seriously. There was no hard hitting since pads weren't allowed, but coaches watched everyone even during stretching, from first-rounder Daron Payne to cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, a tryout player from Kansas. If Payne cut any corners during drills, it would have been alarming. Yet, there wasn't anything the nose tackle wouldn't do. Same went for Shepherd, who performed drills flawlessly.

And that’s how the afternoon went for a group that crammed a small playbook into their helmets over the past 24 hours.

Second-round running back Derrius Guice looked like a piston hammering straight ahead. That free fall in the draft two weeks ago looked like a million years ago. This rookie wants to run past doubters, debaters and deflaters.

Running back Martez Carter of Grambling State showed incredible balance in front of Senior Vice President of Player Personnel, Doug Williams, a fellow Tiger alum himself. Iowa State safety Kamari Cotton-Moya made a sharp interception after earlier tipping in during deep coverage. Texas linebacker Quincy Vasser kept catching your eye while pass rushing.

Players buzzed across two fields because many of their careers depended on this one chance just to get a second one in coming camps. Maybe that's why New Mexico running back Daryl Chestnut hit the burners when soaring downfield on a catch. Receiver Cam Sims was a blue downfield hoping maybe another Alabama player can make the Redskins. Colorado State quarterback Nick Stevens was the best of three passers invited for a shot at being the fourth passer in training camp that only promises to be, at best, a chance to show others something on film before released.

And Mr. Irrelevant – seventh-round receiver Trey Quinn – dared everyone to prove he didn't deserve to be there. There were lots of sharp efforts that promised him a real chance come preseason to prove he's Mr. Relevant.

Just a snapshot in the world of trying to make the NFL. The 74 will likely see maybe a dozen make NFL rosters or practice squads come fall. But for two hours, they were in the NFL.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks