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Ten things we learned from NFL rookie minicamps

Minutes into his first NFL minicamp practice in May 2015, Jacksonville Jaguars first-round pass rusher Dante Fowler's rookie season ended after he tore his ACL.

Jacksonville's 2016 draft class avoided that scare this time around, as the Jaguars joined the Miami Dolphins as two organizations concentrating on classroom work at the expense of practice time.

Following the approach set forth by Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher in recent years, Jacksonville and Miami opted to tone down intense on-field drills in favor of a one-on-one teaching approach.

The idea is that top NFL prospects now spend four months ramping up their physical fitness regimes in preparation for the draft. By the time they reach rookie minicamps, their bodies could use a break.

It will be interesting to see if the Dallas Cowboys adjust their routine after watching prized No. 4 overall pick Ezekiel Elliott take a fall in his first practice.

"We don't need that," running backs coach Gary Brown said of Elliott's slip. "That's why I told him to slow down a little bit."

Here's what else we learned in the weekend's rookie minicamps:

  1. Ever since Cam Newton's spectacular NFL debut a half-decade ago, the NFL has trended toward starting first-round quarterbacks early in their rookie seasons. While Paxton Lynch was viewed by many draft analysts as a talented developmental project who would have to sit and learn in his first season, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway insists the former Memphis star is going to be ready "quicker than a lot of people think."
  1. Rams' No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff is already the favorite to start at quarterback after an impressive showing over the weekend.

"He's doing a great job picking up our offense," Fisher said. "We've given him a lot more information than we did at the private workout and then that we did here at our meeting, and he's handled it without any problem. And that's the impressive thing."

  1. Although Myles Jack is expected to play outside linebacker in Jacksonville, he was stationed in the middle to better learn the defense in rookie minicamp.

"It makes it easier for me because I can figure out what the line is doing," Jack explained, "what everyone behind me is doing and even the other linebacker positions."

  1. The Seattle Seahawks are already in love with third-round running back C.J. Prosise, who also took snaps with the wide receivers in practice.

"Prosise is really unique. I have never had a guy that went from receiver to running back that can do both," coach Pete Carroll said. "You usually commit one way or the other. We put him with the receivers today and ran one-on-one routes with the receivers today and looked as normal, comfortable as any of the receivers. He does have great speed too, and he's tall, his hands are totally adequate, so it's a real prize for us."

  1. Elsewhere in the NFC West, Robert Nkemdiche has been so aggressive that Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has had to tell the first-round defensive tackle to stop "killing people" in walkthroughs.
  1. The Washington Redskins are listing second-round selection Su'a Cravensas a safety, but the former USC star also will be used as a linebacker in nickel and dime packages -- similar to Cardinals "moneybacker" Deone Bucannon. Cravens is the latest in the NFL's nascent trend toward hybrid safety-linebackers.
  1. For all of the attention lavished on Elliott and Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have big plans for No. 67 overall pick Maliek Collins -- a defensive tackle they were targeting when they refused to surrender a third-round pick to move back into the first round for Lynch.

"He's going to be a cornerstone player," owner Jerry Jones said.

  1. It's natural to wonder if Jones' public lamentations about Lynch as the one that got away might mess with the confidence of fallback option Dak Prescott, the Cowboys' fourth-round pick. The Mississippi State QB seems to be taking it all in stride.
  1. The Detroit Lions have yet to decide whether Taylor Decker will vie for Riley Reiff's left tackle job or slide in at right tackle. For now, though, he's lining up on the left side. The team's pursuit of free agent Russell Okung suggests a desire to shift Reiff away from Matthew Stafford's blind side.
  1. In other Lions news, hard-hitting fourth-round pick Miles Killebrew is expected to pushRafael Bush and Tavon Wilson for playing time at strong safety opposite 2014 Pro Bowler Glover Quin.
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