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17 rookie minicamp takeaways: Cook 'outstanding'

Connor Cook's plummet to the fourth round of the NFL draft might have cost the quarterback a shot at a starting gig in 2016, but the rookie passer is in position to bounce Matt McGloin for the backup gig to Derek Carr in Oakland.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio hummed praises about Cook's play in this weekend's rookie minicamp.

"I think he's been outstanding," Del Rio said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. "He comes in, had a tremendous career and is very humble. Obviously he is intelligent. He asks good questions. He's got arm talent. It's a matter of getting familiar (with) what we do and how we do it ...

Cook wasn't satisfied with his play early in the weekend sessions, pointing to several flubs and the difficulty getting on page with receivers in a new scheme.

McGloin hung onto the clipboard holder role in Oakland last year, but Cook should be given every chance this preseason to wrangle the backup gig.

A solid start in rookie camp is the first step.

Some other nuggets from rookie camps around the NFL:

»Raiders second-round defensive tackle Jihad Ward participated in workouts after a report circled during the draft stating the lineman might need arthroscopic surgery.

"Don't trust all those reports out there," Del Rio said. "We felt pretty good about our reports. He looked terrific. He's very athletic. He's a serious guy and intelligent guy. We're excited about him."

» While Ward was on the field, first-round safety Karl Joseph didn't practice as he continues to rehab from a knee injury. Joseph should be on the field by training camp.

» The Carolina Panthers are content to roll into the summer with youth at corner. The team drafted three rookie defensive backs in the 2016 NFL Draft. Ron Rivera said he doesn't expect the Panthers to sign a veteran corner, at least for now.

"I guess if we did do something it would be later on. But right now we're set," Rivera said Saturday, via the Charlotte Observer. "We're very happy with what we've seen the last two practices with the young guys."

»Bears first-round linebacker Leonard Floyd is tasked with gaining weight this offseason. The rookie said Sunday the Bears made him set an alarm on his phone to remind him to eat every couple hours. (We all should be so lucky.)

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio isn't worried so much about Floyd's weight. Fangio said the rookie -- listed at 244 pounds -- will play between 230 and 235 pounds this season. The DC is more concerned with the speed Floyd adds than the size he lacks.

"We wanted speed," Fangio said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. "Our team speed up front last year was below average. To add somebody with some speed as part of his toolbox is something we were intrigued by."

» The Bears backfield will be an intriguing battle during training camp, with no surefire workhorse on the roster. Jeremy Langford is expected to be the first to get a shot on early downs.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains noted Langford needs to do a "better job" in the passing game (eight drops as a rookie). The OC also called fifth-round runner Jordan Howard a "change-of-pace back," who could see time as a third-down back out of the backfield.

If Langford's blocking and receiving don't improve, Howard could become the Bears passing-down back in a full-fledged committee.

»Kenyan Drake should have a role out of the Dolphins' backfield as the lightning to Jay Ajayi's thunder. The rookie will also get a shot to make an impact on kick and punt returns, via the team's official website. At Alabama, Drake returned 19 kicks for 505 yards last year. He did not return punts.

» The Redskinsare working rookie Su'a Cravens at inside linebacker during camp. If all works out as planned, Cravens will become a new member of the ever-increasing hybrid linebacker/safety gang.

»Browns coach Hue Jackson called out Cleveland rookies, including first-round receiver Corey Colemanfor being out of shape. The rookie admitted he was "gassed" after spending the months leading up to the draft traveling. This shouldn't be an issue as we press forward into the summer.

» Jackson continued his praise of third-round quarterback Cody Kessler.

"He has some growing to do, but he did some outstanding things today as well,'' Jackson said after the first rookie camp practice, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Browns believe Robert Griffin IIIcan be more than just a bridge quarterback and Kessler isn't ready to push for the starting gig out of the gate. If the Browns season spirals early, however, don't be surprised if Jackson takes Kessler for a test drive late in 2016.

»Browns EVP Sashi Brown called third-round defensive end Carl Nassib"nightmare" inside. Brown said Nassib's motor can be as good as Joey Bosa -- the No. 3 overall pick by San Diego. The Browns desperately needed aid against the run after a terrible 2015 in the trenches.

»Titans first-round pick Jack Conklin has worked at both right and left tackle during rookie minicamp. Conklin is expected to start at right tackle with Taylor Lewan sticking on the left side. The rookie is dipping his toe on both sides, just in case.

"It's just about learning both sides, then I can plug in anywhere if something happens - and it just gives me a head start on learning the offense," Conklin said, via the Tennessean. "If I know what the right tackle is doing and what the left tackle is doing, I'll be able to understand the whole scheme better."

»Titans receiver Dorial Green-Beckham is dealing with another hamstring injury. DGB is part of a receiver group coach Mike Mularkey said needs to improve in 2016.

»Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns, who underwent sports hernia surgery in January, was cleared for full activities and joined his teammates for individual drills, per the Florida Times-Union. With Hurns on track to be fully healthy in an ascending offense, the Jags could be one of the most explosive teams in the NFL in 2016.

»Chip Kelly answered many questions about his new roster. None received more attention than his "fantastic" interactions with quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kelly, however, gave no clues as to which quarterback he prefers to win the starting gig.

»San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne announced he will retire from the NFL to chase his Olympic dreams. The Niners will roll with Carlos Hyde, Mike Davis, Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris and rookie Kelvin Taylor in the backfield.

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