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'Boys DB Byron Jones: Praise 'shows I'm on right path'

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BEREA, OHIO -- The NFL Rookie Symposium is set to wrap up this weekend. The event marks the end of offseason work for rookies. Now they head into the down time before the real battle for jobs begins next month in training camp.

The entire conference had the feel of a professional version of "Scared Straight." Not with belittling or yelling, but with former players, coaches and mentors trying to hammer home the point that these young men are in a serious business with many, many potential pitfalls.

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One of the few lighthearted moments of the Symposium is a Play 60 event, during which players goof around and teach youngsters a little bit about football.

On Friday, NFC rookies were at the Cleveland Browns facility for the community. Here are some nuggets from Around The NFL's discussions with a few of the rooks on hand:

1. Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones said he's been playing "both DB spots, nickel corner, safety" during workouts. When asked about the high praise he's received from coaches and Jerry Jones, the rookie lit up.

"It shows that I'm on the right path, but at the end of the day there is a lot of work to be done before I can contribute to this team, so I'm looking forward to the challenge," he said.

2. Vikings corner Trae Waynes on veteran teammates helping him on the field:

"A lot, it's almost like I've been getting coached by six different people during every play because those guys are so willing to help me out with any questions I have. They are being really helpful and helping me adjust," he said adding he's not worried about whether he starts or not as a rookie.

3. Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor on what spot he's been playing during practices:

"I play right side outside, right now, but I'm continuing to learn conceptually the whole deal, because that is how we work here. It's by formation and different people will be in different formations. And that's how we sugar coat what we do...That's just the game of football nowadays. It's about window dressing some of your staple concepts and that's what we'll do."

4. Jameis Winston is trying to "get back skinny" before training camp.

5. Detroit Lions rookie running back Ameer Abdullah -- who we think could end up eventually being a starter this season -- said he could be a three-down player if asked.

"Most definitely," he said. "I came into this league hoping to get the opportunity to play running back on every down. I full-heartedly believe that is what my calling is. That is what I'm supposed to do. So I'm looking forward to it...

"That's what I've done my whole life," Abdullah added when asked why he's so confident. "I haven't done anything else, so I don't see why I wouldn't be confident in my game. I know my teammates trust me in such a short time to do so. I trust myself."

6. Giants safety Landon Collins said, "Defensive rookie of the year, that's my expectations."

7. New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Andrus Peat said he has worked mostly behind Zach Strief at right tackle this offseason and hasn't kicked inside to guard at all. Peat said he wants to start, but will do whatever coaches require.

"As a competitor your always want to start," he said. "I'm going to do whatever my coach asks me to do, so whatever role he sees me playing I'm going to do that."

8. Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson said the shift to full-time linebacker has been "good" so far and he's excited to learn from Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

Thompson said he's only played SAM and WILL linebacker at the moment, but has discussed with coaches the possibility of playing a hybrid role in nickel packages (given his experience at safety).

"We talked about it, but not yet," he said.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes back Colleen Wolfe to discuss non-Super Bowl contenders, and an all-new 'Orr You Kidding Me.' Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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