As training camp begins to wind down, the rookies are heating up.
The Bolts' rookie class has shown flashes of their potential throughout camp, but now that they've learned the speed of the game and the playbook, they are beginning to pick up the pace. On Wednesday afternoon, Head Coach Anthony Lynn noted how exciting it is to see the progress of the young players.
"It's night-and-day from day one," Lynn said. "All those guys have gotten better, and they continue to get better every week. Come Sept. 9, we'll see where they're at. Some of those guys you might find in the starting lineup"
And while all of those rookies are excelling, a specific standout is second-round draft pick Uchenna Nwosu. A linebacker out of USC, Nwosu has been learning outside linebacker as well as rush end, picking up both quickly. In the first two preseason games, Nwosu made some standout plays that caught Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley's eye.
"He shows flashes (at practice), but then when he got in the game, those flashes appeared more often, like he picked it up more in the games," Bradley said. "Hopefully that carries over to practice to where his level just keeps improving, but he's done really well for us in games."
"He's strong," Lynn added. "He's a fast, big, strong man, and the more comfortable he gets with Gus' scheme, the faster and (more) physical he plays."
Also on the radar is safety turned linebacker Kyzir White. Though the 6-2, 218-pound player was recently nursing a small injury, he returned to practice this week and nabbed an interception during Wednesday's practice with the New Orleans Saints.
"He's a guy who has really good speed…he's got good length, he's heavy handed, some of the traits we're looking for as a linebacker," Bradley remarked. "And then today, he made a play, so I think he's a guy that we're trying to speed up his learning curve a little bit. He also is playing multiple positions so we're seeing how much he can handle strain-wise."
Now that the rookies have become acclimated with a higher level of play, they're beginning to see reps with the ones, which Bradley says is continuing to impress him.
"We always try to take those younger guys and put them with the first group just to see how they respond," Bradley said. "Today was one of those days where we put them all together to see how they would respond, so they've really done a good job. They've got a lot on their plate, but I think, somewhat, it's slowing down for them to where we can see their actual game speed. I know they would probably say they've got a long ways to go, as they do, but the progress that they're making at this point, we just need to keep pushing them because they do some really good things."
Check out the best photos from today's joint Training Camp practice with the New Orleans Saints.