As expected, first day picks Brady Quinn and Victor Abiamiri are getting plenty of press during the latest round of NFL minicamps, but here are a few notes and quotes about some of the other ND players, from third rounders to rookie free agents, whose NFL futures are far less certain.
Rookie assignment. Cornerback Mike Richardson, a sixth-round draft choice out of Notre Dame, had a tough task in 11 on 11 drills, often lining up across from receiver Randy Moss. He held his own. Since it’s only June and players aren’t wearing pads, it is difficult to make any definitive statements about any young players, but Richardson –- at the very least –- did not look out of place.
In the four minicamp practices in which Meachem did participate this week, he was overshadowed by free agent Rhema McKnight of Notre Dame, and Dante Ridgeway, who spent time toward the end of the 2006 season on the Saints' practice squad.
"He [Rhema McKnight] is coming out of a very sophisticated system, with many similarities to some of the things we do," said Johnson said of Notre Dame's and the Saints' top-ranked offense last season. "He understands the game of football and a lot of the intricacies about offensive sets that young players often donﾹt have at the same stage of their careers that he has right now. That is a credit to what he learned under Charlie Weis."
Former Cretin-Derham Hall and Notre Dame offensive lineman Ryan Harris, the third-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, has had seven minicamp practices at left tackle with the team.
"And we'll have seven more after the holiday weekend," the 6-foot-4, 301-pounder said Thursday from Denver. "We're running almost the same plays here in the pro offense that we did under coach (Charlie) Weis at Notre Dame, so that puts me a step ahead."
Lewis heaped praise on rookie safeties Marvin White and Chinedum Ndukwe. Both saw plenty of action because veteran Madieu Williams is sidelined with a strained hamstring.
"They're going to really have an opportunity to play a lot of football defensively for us," Lewis said. "They've shown very good thus far. I've been very impressed with both guys." With Madieu missing time, both those guys played a lot with the first unit. It's good experience and good exposure. It's not been too big for them. They're athletic and make plays on the ball."
emain from Brooklyn, MD: I'm really looking forward to seeing our latest draft picks. I was comparing this year’s with last year’s selections, which we got good production out of. The Jaguars have been very good at finding quality players (late in the draft). Being that Derek Landri was selected at 166, would you think he could be a steal or is it too early to predict?
Vic: It’s obviously too early. You really don’t know anything until you see them play in game competition. Everything I’ve heard about Landri, however, has been super positive. Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith raved about Landri during a commercial break in Wednesday’s “Jaguars This Week” radio show, and Smith isn’t the only one tooting Landri’s horn. Landri is a relatively short guy with short arms, and that’s caused him to be compared to Baltimore’s Kelly Gregg. If Landri can backup that comparison, the Jaguars will have gotten one of the major steals in this draft.
"[Darius Walker] is doing fine," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's got a long line ahead of him; that's [running backs] kind of the strength of our group right now, but he's getting a lot of reps at our rookie practice.
"The thing that's obvious is that he's a very smart young man and can handle a lot," Kubiak added, "Now he's just got to catch up physically with the pro game and the speed of the game, but it was very fortunate for us to get him as a free agent."