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Takeaways from Rookie Minicamp: Day 1

Posted May 11, 2018

Check out some notable observations from the first day of rookie minicamp at One Buc Place.

Receiving was a big focus for Ronald Jones II and the running backs.

The Bucs’ second pick of the draft this year was running back Ronald Jones II out of USC who got his first taste of the NFL on Friday. More than likely he will be expected to be an immediate contributor come the fall, but for now he’s focused on developing his receiving game in order to better fit in at the NFL level.

“Just being a complete back, catching out of the backfield,” Jones said of his goals now that he’s at the next level. [I'm] just working on that, progressing, making my game overall better."

He’s no stranger to shouldering a workload, averaging 6.1 yards a carry and 90.5 yards per game across his three-year collegiate career. He’d find a lot of those yards in his ability to burst up the middle, making plenty of cuts and showing off his shiftiness along the way.

“As a running back you're not always going to be in space,” Jones said. “If you're out there on the perimeter you get a lot more opportunities to take it to the house. [It's] just being an all-around back."

It’s something about him now-teammate defensive tackle Vita Vea remembers clearly from his days going up against Jones when Washington would play USC.

“He brings it all,” Vea said of Jones. “He’s a great running back. He brings speed and he can also run through you, so I feel like he has the whole package.”

Each running back went through quarterback drills at one point during the day, making sure to practice those perimeter passes that hold that take-it-to-the-house potential.

LB Jack Cichy looks ready to go.

Linebacker Jack Cichy said in his post-draft conference call with the Tampa Bay media that he would be ready to go for minicamp and he made good on his promise. Friday marked the first time Cichy took a football snap since his 2017 injury and he looked every bit ready to go.

Cichy missed his entire 2017 season with the Wisconsin Badgers after tearing his ACL in preseason camp. Instead of applying for a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, he instead opted to declare for the NFL draft and was taken in the sixth round by the Bucs at No. 202 overall.

Play of the day – an FCS linebacker pops up on the radar.

Tryout linebacker Shaheed Salmon out of Samford University may have had the play of the day with a leaping interception in team drills. As the pocket collapsed, quarterback Austin Allen decided to force a throw over the middle that was immediately halted by Salmon as he popped up in the air, like, well, a salmon swimming upstream, and secured the ball. Salmon added another interception of quarterback Riley Ferguson as well, tallying two for the day. Not bad for an FCS linebacker on an NFL tryout.

Fourth-round pick Justin Watson looks the part of an NFL receiver.

Despite his own FCS background, the former Penn wide receiver looks more than ready to take his game to the next level. His routes were crisp, his hands were sure and when he did drop a pass – he dropped down to the ground and did pushups in reconciliation.

Watson looked comfortable as he hauled in ball after ball from each of the two quarterbacks, both in positional drills and team drills, beating out opposing corners each time in the latter.