NFL rookie minicamp started for some teams throughout the league this weekend, and for several former Kentucky Wildcats, it was our first time seeing them suited up as professionals.
The New York Giants got things started on Friday afternoon, where both George Asafo-Adjei and CJ Conrad took the field dawning their new red, white, and blue uniforms.
For Asafo-Adjei, there have been early reports that he is making a push for the starting right tackle job in New York.
“The incumbent at right tackle is Chad Wheeler, but the Giants added competition to his position in the draft when they selected George Asafo-Adjei in the seventh round,” Dan Salomone of Giants.com said this afternoon. “The Giants liked the Kentucky product’s toughness while playing in the SEC, including practicing against teammate Josh Allen, who was picked right after Jones by the Jaguars. Nothing changed the Giants’ thinking from then until now. He is lining up at right tackle and will compete for the job.”
Head coach Pat Shurmur was impressed with the former Wildcat, as well.
“He is a powerful guy that has very good length,” Shurmur said Saturday. “You can tell he is a very physical style player. That is important at the position.”
“Big George” spoke with the New York media this afternoon about what he brings to the table:
WATCH: "Big George" Asafo-Adjei on what he brings to the Giants' O-Line pic.twitter.com/3TmFiH84uc
— New York Giants (@Giants) May 4, 2019
Asafo-Adjei’s teammate, CJ Conrad, has also reportedly had a strong start to minicamp.
Inside Football’s Patricia Traina said that the former Kentucky tight end is “jumping out with his play.”
Kentucky TE CJ Conrad keeps jumping out with his play. He’s one of the UDFA signings.
— Patricia Traina (@Patricia_Traina) May 3, 2019
You can see Conrad working out in some drills here:
Giants tight ends work at rookie minicamp. pic.twitter.com/2uOqVtk34l
— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) May 3, 2019
You can see both Conrad and Asafo-Adjei in the short highlight clip the Giants released on Friday evening:
2019 draft class putting in work ? pic.twitter.com/mxNgjF6UZt
— New York Giants (@Giants) May 4, 2019
As for former Kentucky wide receiver Dorian Baker, he is getting things rolling back in his hometown of Cleveland for the Browns.
For a longtime fan of the Browns, Baker says he’s excited for this opportunity.
“It is honestly a blessing to come back to this city, and I have all my friends and family supporting me,” he told the media this afternoon. “I am just excited to be here and have this opportunity. … I was passed up by all 32 teams so I am just coming in ready to work. I have an opportunity, and that is all I need. As long as I have an opportunity to showcase my talents, I am going to make the best of it.”
While he knows it won’t be easy, Baker said that he has to come in and fight every second he’s on the football field if he wants a chance to earn a roster spot this fall.
“You just have to come in and be a dawg,” Baker said. “You can’t be scared to take reps, and you have to handle your business as a man, too. You can’t come in here bringing the same college attitude. You have to come in ready to play and ready to work. That is the attitude I am bringing – ready to work.”
Overall, he’s just thankful for the position he’s in.
“By the grace of God, I got the phone call and was excited about it. I am just happy to be a Brown, happy to be a part of this organization and happy to be in the NFL.”
The Oakland Raiders also began rookie minicamp this week, though there has been no talk of former Wildcat Darius West participating. There were reports that he initially signed with the Giants as an UDFA, and then with the Kansas City Chiefs before finally settling down and picking the Raiders.
The Pittsburgh Steelers also began camp today, though we haven’t heard about Benny Snell participating, either.
The Jaguars (Josh Allen), Texans (Lonnie Johnson, Derrick Baity), Buccaneers (Mike Edwards), and Cowboys (Chris Westry) have not begun camp yet.