The Runner Sports

NFL Mandatory Minicamps Begin Tuesday

For NFL teams, June 13 marks one more important day in the offseason schedule. Tuesday is the beginning of mandatory minicamps for almost every team (the New England Patriots held minicamp last week). Although brief, these three-day minicamps serve as yet another opportunity for coaching staffs to evaluate their rosters. But which are the most interesting situations to keep an eye on?

Baltimore Ravens

Obviously, the big news dominating the Ravens’ offseason is the signing of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on Monday. Formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, Maclin has been a very successful red zone threat throughout his career. Now, he will serve as another primary option for quarterback Joe Flacco and help offset the unfortunate loss of Dennis Pitta. The Ravens now have quite the talented trio of starting receivers in Mike Wallace, Maclin, and Breshad Perriman, provided he continues improving in his third season.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers may not seem like the most obvious choice considering what is perceived as an overall lack of talent, but there are some intriguing pieces on offense. Carlos Hyde is a better-than-average running back, and he is joined by rookie Joe Williams from Utah and seasoned veteran Tim Hightower. The receiving corps has some interesting pieces in Jeremy Kerley, Pierre Garcon, and Marquise Goodwin, plus some free agents in Victor Bolden Jr. and Aldrick Robinson. Besides, Brian Hoyer has been a better quarterback under the tutelage of new head coach Kyle Shanahan. Hoyer isn’t a world beater by any stretch of the imagination –just ask the Texans– but he could make the 49ers competitive against the LA Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals.

Oakland Raiders

Yes, Marshawn Lynch is by far the most exciting part of Oakland, but he isn’t the only attraction. The Raiders also have Amari Cooper maturing into one of the NFL’s best receivers, as well as Michael Crabtree perfectly filling the veteran role. Free agent signee Cordarrelle Patterson may not be the most natural receiver around, but he has potential. Plus, his personality is very entertaining. Any behind the scenes videos with Patterson are guaranteed to be fun. On the defensive side, Karl Joseph is a player to track as he enters his second season in Oakland’s secondary. The West Virginia safety had a quieter rookie season with 60 tackles and only one interception, but he is set up well to become a key leader.

Seattle Seahawks

Look, the Seattle Seahawks are purely included because of the now infamous ESPN article detailing the supposed conflict in the locker room. According to Michael Bennett, the article is pure trash, but his statements haven’t kept the piece from gaining traction around the league. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if the article is true or false; what really matters is that the Seahawks will be working like crazy to bury the rumors. This approach will probably result in more competitive practices, as well as some testy moments. And let’s face it, practices are more entertaining when teams have something to prove.

Green Bay Packers

Unlike the previous entries on this list, the Packers are included because key veterans like Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson won’t be present. Mike McCarthy has once again given veterans the option to skip mandatory minicamps if they have more than six years of experience.

Interestingly enough, the absence of the Packers stars actually makes the minicamp worth watching. Everyone knows Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Jahri Evans, and Clay Matthews, but there are so many other players that deserve attention. For example, how is the secondary shaping up after the departure of Micah Hyde and the additions of rookies like Kevin King and Josh Jones? Possibly more importantly, how is Brett Hundley coming along while learning behind Rodgers? Will the five rookie running backs on Green Bay’s roster take away snaps from Ty Montgomery? There are so many unknowns at this point that the Packers could end up being the most entertaining team to watch this week.

There are obviously many more situations to monitor during this brief minicamp, especially with new coaching situations in Buffalo, Los Angeles, and Denver. Hopefully, this week provides some much-needed answers to questions about various quarterback situations and key roster battles.

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John Newby

A Minnesota Vikings fan from Oregon who writes about the Houston Texans and discusses nerdy topics.
Quite fond of my wife, video games, and Blue Heelers.
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