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A Most Impressive Rookie Minicamp Ends on a High Note

Derwin James walked off the field at Hoag Performance Center Sunday after the final huddle broke on the team's three-day rookie minicamp.

He couldn't help but smile.

Not because he realized a life-long dream of being in the NFL, nor the fact that he punctuated an impressive performance with a highlight reel interception on Sunday.

No, he was smiling because he was so impressed by his fellow rookies.

"It was a good rookie camp, and I feel like I progressed in just three days a lot, but really everybody impressed me," he said.  "Not just the six other guys we drafted, but everyone.  We built some great relationships even in these three days.  Coach was very big on just building the team in three days, and I feel like we did that.  I'm impressed by all the guys."

That sentiment was shared universally among all the rookies, but was best embodied by Uchenna Nwosu and Kyzir White. The pair of linebackers spent nearly the entire minicamp around one another, coming away impressed by the other's abilities.

"Uchenna is real versatile," said White.  "He can play defensive end or linebacker and do great no matter where he is.  You can put him all over the field. This whole weekend was a great experience for us.  Everything was moving along real fast.  It was a dream come true to be out there with all of the guys.  We're all working together to complete our goal."

 "Kyzir did great," Nwosu responded.  "His explosiveness, and the way he's transferred from safety and play this well, it's impressive.  We all learned a lot, and now we're ready for the older guys to come in.  We have to learn more because we have to be up on their level.  So we have to learn as much as we can as quickly as we can."

As Nwosu noted, it's imperative the rookies get up to speed as quickly as possible.  They'll now join the veterans on the field, and the vets won't slow down just to make it easier on the first-year players.

The rookies don't expect it to be easy, but this weekend's crash course went a long way toward making it a smooth transition.

"I'm just trying to learn as much as possible," said quarterback Nic Shimonek.  "There's a lot going on and there's going to be a lot more going on moving forward.  But you have to take as many notes as you can and study them all at night to get ready and come back the next day and do the same thing."

James for one is looking forward to the challenge.

"I feel like I had a really good minicamp," he said.  "I came out and got better, trusting in what my coaches were telling me.  Now I'm looking to come in, play my role and do whatever it is they need me to do.  I'm going to work hard and be an accountable teammate."

A look at the Bolts in action on the second day of rookie mincamp.

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