Someone asked a question the other day about what longshots could surprise us and make the team. That always makes for a fun topic.
At WR we have Hank Baskett penciled in as the #4 guy. Riley Cooper impressed the coaches at the recent mini-camp. He's a virtual lock to make the team, but he could surprise people and steal that #4 WR spot and push Hank off the roster. If that happens Chad Hall could be the beneficiary.
The coaches hated to see young guys Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson go last year. Danny they just couldn't keep on the roster because of Kevin Curtis' injury situation and not knowing how Jeremy Maclin would make the transition from Redshirt Sophomore to NFL rookie. I'm told that the coaches thought long and hard about cutting Curtis in favor of Amendola. With that in mind, you know it will be hard for them to cut Chad Hall if he has a good Training Camp and preseason.
I think Kurt Coleman has an excellent chance to make the roster. I think real highly of him. He's not the kind of guy who will wow you initially. He's a bit undersized. He's nothing special athletically. He isn't a killshot type of hitter. Kurt is just a good, solid player. He has this weird affect, though. The more you watch him, the more he will grow on you. Over time, you'll begin to appreciate how good he really is. Kurt could get caught in a numbers crunch if we go heavy with CBs and CB/S tweeners. He might be relegated to the Practice Squad. I think he'll have a good summer and impress the coaches enough that they find a way to keep him around.
OT Austin Howard is a player that I'm real curious about. He was the backup LT in this mini-camp. I don't know the full story with that. Did we move King Dunlap to the right side for a specific reason or does Juan Castillo think that highly of Howard? Relatively speaking, of course. The guy went undrafted so it isn't as if Castillo thinks he is a great player. Juan may see a player with the potential to be a LT at the NFL level. If so, those guys always have a fighting chance to make the team. I'm interested to see how Howard does in the remaining OTAs. He should get a little better each time out. He's not used to NFL coaching. He can make great strides the more he gets good reps and Castillo can work with him.
The CB that fascinates me is Josh Morris of Weber State. He was a confident, aggressive player in college. If he can play with that kind of attitude he's got a chance to make it in the NFL. CB is one of those positions where style actually has some value. Those guys have to be able to erase a mistake instantly. You need them to be somewhat delusional. Remember when Roy McAvoy kept swinging for the green in Tin Cup? He had the right mentality for CB. You could also think like the Black Knight in Holy Grail. "Come back you coward!" He shouted that after having his arms and legs cut off by King Arthur. Essentially...forget about what's happened and focus on the next play. That's a good CB. Morris looked good on tape, but that was against marginal competition. We need to see if he's got the physical ability for the NFL and the mental makeup. I think a lot of college stars get humbled in NFL camps and quickly fade away. We pick on Reno Mahe for a lot of reasons, but you have to give a guy like that credit when you see how hard he worked to keep his NFL career going. Look how easily Tony Hunt gave up.
Dimitri Patterson deserves a mention in this topic. He was on the team last year so picking him as a longshot to make the roster doesn't apply. I wonder if he's a guy to watch in terms of getting on the field in 2010. He made some nice plays at mini-camp. He played late in the Bears game and did okay. He hasn't had a ton of chances to prove himself on defense. He might get a shot at playing time this summer. I won't be shocked if he steps up. He's proven to be a good STs player. Dimitri has the right mentality. He'll battle on every practice rep and every play in a game. He's been around the league a few years. This is make or break time for him as a DB. He'll either show he deserves some playing time on defense or that he's meant to be just a STs demon, which isn't the worst thing in the world. Ask Sean Morey.
Here's the team roster. Feel free to find your own and let us know who you're watching: