About two before training camp I hosted a poll on twitter asking which three players you wanted me to pay attention to more than anyone else. Laquon Treadwell, Mackensie Alexander and Dalvin Cook received the most votes. To no surprise, each player has generated a lot of buzz around camp. Between spectacular plays and injury questions I’ll cover everything I saw in Mankato.
This man is going to make defensive coordinator’s lose sleep. He’s a classic example of film over measurable’s, he tested fairly average at the combine, but when you put on the tape, hes the best running back in the 2017 draft class. After seeing him in person, I have no clue how he dropped to the second round. One play in particular stood out from Dalvin today. Bradford lined up under center and changed the play and backed up into shotgun formation, Cook faked a delayed hand-off and ran an out route and Sam dropped it off to him, within a 5 yard distance he managed to juke out three defenders and turn the play into a first down. His pass blocking has looked very good so far as well. Another interesting play was when Bradford motioned cook out wide and the defense became very confused, with all the focus on Cook out wide, Diggs ran a deep out route and gained 25 yards, definitely something I could see them using in the regular season. Cook is the real deal.
I’m fairly certain Quon has locked himself into the WR3 spot, I remember seeing him last year at camp and he looked slow and robotic, like he has over thinking every move he made. This year he looks quicker, stronger and mentally ready. I saw him routinely beat man coverage against first team defense. My favorite play by him wasn’t even a catch. He was split out wide right, the defense was playing man coverage with two high safeties, Quon beat Newman off the line of scrimmage and used his strength to push right past Newman’s bump attempt, once he got to the second level he put a quick stutter and go move on Harrison Smith and ran right past him. Bradford over threw him unfortunately. He’s been fast, quick out of his breaks and making contested catches, like we expected him to. He’s ready.
I don’t have as much to say about Mac, hes had a very quiet camp, which is a good thing. He’s spent most of his time in the slot with first team defense, and hes been doing his job. No picks or crazy pass break ups, just taking his guy out of the play. If he’s ever out of position or makes a mistake, Terrance Newman has been in his ear helping him. Between his new mind set, confidence, and Newman coaching him up, I think he’s going to have a quietly good season.
Michael Floyd might be Mr. Mankato this year. He looks like the 2015 version of himself, 4.4 speed, physical, good route runner and making contested catches. Those first four games he’s suspended for will be huge for Treadwell, because Floyd has performed like a WR1 throughout camp. Bucky Hodges has also looked great as a recieving option, he’s not much of a blocker, but we knew that. I’m expecting him to show off in the pre season, giving Zimmer the go ahead to pencil him in as TE2.
- Dalvin Cook is special, he’s got my early prediction for rookie of the year
- Michael Floyd could see a lot more playing time than anticipated, he’d been a stud all of camp, this is a bold statement, but he’s looked more like he’s fighting 19 for the WR2 spot instead of 11 for WR3
- Edmond Robinson has been taking the makority of snaps with first team defense with Kendricks and Barr, and he’s gone almost unnoticed, hasn’t made many mistakes, but also hasn’t made spectacular plays
- Stefon Diggs looked even better than last year. Team’s are going to start game planning for him more and more, and it wont matter. His route running is that good
- Danielle Hunter is going to put up numbers this year
- The offensive line isn’t Dallas or Oakland yet, but it’s a big improvement from 2016