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Observations: Rookie Minicamp, Session 1

  • The last time Ron Rivera and Norv Turner coached together, the Chargers finished 2010 with the league's top-ranked offense and defense. So four months after reuniting, it was neat to see the two together again on the field.  
  • Because players were only in jerseys (they'll put on helmets for Friday's second session), there wasn't too much to glean football-wise. So none of this should be taken as anything more than extremely early first impressions.   
  • The first player out there for Friday's morning session? Running back Elijah Hood, whose second NFL chance comes in his hometown after the Raiders released him Monday.   
  • Not far behind were rookies DJ Moore and Donte Jackson, who each had something to say about the warm conditions as they walked onto the practice fields for the first time. 

   Moore, a Philadelphia native who played at Maryland: “It’s what, 80 degrees already?”

   Jackson, who spent his first 22 years much farther below the Mason Dixon line: “Good thing I’m from Louisiana. That’s my element right here.” 

  • The big thing coaches wanted to see in the first session was how well guys retained information from meetings Thursday night and early Friday morning. Moore made a couple of mental errors – and he certainly wasn't alone – but he also caught everything tossed his way during a long installation period. And he was fed a lot.   
  • If you don't know already, Jackson likes to talk. But besides communicating with the defense, the second-round cornerback was kind of quiet out there.   
  • Yes, Rashaan Gaulden played a lot of nickel in college, but the Panthers are adamant he'll be a versatile safety in the pros. And in this one session, they were already rotating his reps from in the box to deep in the defensive backfield.  
  • The session didn't include any offense vs. defense reps, so it was REALLY against air. But undrafted quarterback Kyle Allen already looks sharper than most of the quarterbacks who have come through this minicamp over the past few years.  
  • Fourth-round tight end Ian Thomas flashed soft hands and also went up the ladder to snag a pass from this weekend's other quarterback invitee, Marcus McDade.   
  • I have no idea if former UNC wideout Bug Howard will stick around after his tryout, but at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he sure looks the part.   
  • So does Efe Obada. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound defensive end, who spent last season on the Panthers' practice squad as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway Program, looked massive compared to anyone else on the defensive side. And he may not just look the part. Coaches are truly excited to seeing more of him this spring and summer.  
  • Eric Washington had an unmistakable presence when he was attached to the hip of his defensive line the past seven years. Now in charge of the entire defense, you can already tell Washington will have no problem extending that presence to each group he pops into.   

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