OTAs came and went rather quickly with little fanfare. We all know the main glut of the coverage and excitement was going to come from the start of training camp. With training camp kicked off and entering day two it’s fair to mention again two rookies who caught the eye of people.
The first player to step up and show a lot of promise much to the delight of everyone is wide receiver Johnny Knox. Knox had arguably some of the best workouts (and rookie mini-camp) of any of the receivers on the roster. Showing off not only his exceptional speed that everyone has heard about up to this point, but also some great hands.
Based on Knox’s production alone it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone. Oh but it is because he played at a lower level of competition coming from Abilene Christian. This automatically is a knock on him even though it wasn’t a knock on Steve McNair or Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie coming out of Tennessee State.
But Knox has been better than predicted out playing Juaquin Iglesias who has struggled in his route running and ability to get open.
Knox is definitely a player that could come in and surprise a lot of people during camp. He will definitely be a player we’ll be keeping an eye on during pre-season games. Even if he doesn’t line up with Cutler and the starters, Caleb Hanie has a strong enough arm to get Knox the ball down the field.
Speed is great at any level, but it’s how you use your speed that is the best way to be productive. A player is a lot more likely to be wide open if he runs a precise route that is combined with speed. Then it’s about making the catch and with Knox early on it hasn’t been a problem.
Another player who caught an eye briefly and by briefly it was because he wasn’t around for a lot of OTAs because school commitments. Safety Al Afalava showed that he has the speed size and aggressiveness to be a successful safety.
Afalava is a gap filler hole plugger who can come up and make a tackle. This is the primary priority the Bears require out of their safeties with the style of defense they run.
Afalava didn’t play a lot of free safety at Oregon State due to his ability to come up and play in the box. However he has the speed and athleticism to get the job done as a free safety. He won’t need to be the ideal center fielder that so many of the Bears fans have been desiring because that is not what the Bears require.
Afalava has the ability to come up and hit and he has the measurables you desire out of a safety. How he performs once the pads are on is going to be something we keep an eye on moving forward
Tags: 2009, 2009 Chicago Bears training camp, 2009 NFL, 2009 NFL Draft, 2009 NFL training camp coverage, Al Afalava, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Training Camp coverage, Chicago Sports, football, Johnny Knox, Monsters of the Midway, NFL, Sports