The Buccaneers rookies were in the building as they got their first taste of organized football for this weekend's minicamp. It was an abbreviated version of what minicamps normally are, with the team fielding just 26 players, including its seven draft picks.
Here are some takeaways from practice:
-First-round pick Joe Tryon didn't participate in on-field drills. Head Coach Bruce Arians clarified on Friday that Tryon had a small knee procedure and therefore didn't pass his physical to participate in camp. Tryon was still on the sidelines though with his teammates and stuck with his position group during individual drills.
-The limited nature of the practices was evident in the pace. It was much slower than a normal Bucs practice in order to give recovery time for players with no one to rotate with. There were also guys like running back Troymaine Pope, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Jackson State, that was the only player in his position group. He got a lot of one-on-one time with running backs coach Todd McNair, as a result.
-Quarterback Kyle Trask was in the same boat as the only signal caller at camp. It meant he got all of the reps as the team moved throughout practice. But he threw the ball well, according to Arians, sticking mostly with shorter and intermediate throws as he worked through installs, seven on seven drills and team drills.
-The player snapping him the ball was getting used to a new position, as well. Third-round pick Robert Hainsey was working on his snapping technique, his hands and his footwork. Hainsey made over 30 starts for Notre Dame at right tackle but tried his hand at center at the Senior Bowl. He realized he liked it and the Bucs are now trying to continue that development with him. Hainsey worked a lot with new Bucs offensive assistant A.Q. Shipley, who retired after the 2020 season after an eight-year NFL career at center. He officially joined Tampa Bay's staff just a week ago and it seems his expertise is already invaluable for the young rookie.
-Another Bucs draft pick got to learn from some NFL veterans and legends as wide receiver Jaelon Darden was getting coached up by new assistant receivers coach Thad Lewis, along with long-time NFL coach Tom Moore. He was taking coaching points in between routes he ran in individual drills, catching passes from Trask.
-The defense worked on formations and installs, with coaches encouraging the rookies to be vocal. They had the benefit of having second-year players like safety Javon Hagan and defensive tackle Kobe Smith to lead the way, though. You could hear the players yelling out checks and positions as the defense went through installs.
-Though they were limited, the defense was also effective in generating 'pressure,' though no actual contact was made. It was enough to force the ball out of Trask's hands quickly and in one instance, in the case of cornerback Cameron Kinley, it was intercepted. Kinley jumped a route and got his hands on the ball, taking it all the way back into the end zone for what would have been a pick-six on Friday.