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Rigors of minicamp are tough on rookies

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Rigors of minicamp are tough on rookies

Stories are already coming out from around the league about how rookies are getting broken in by their respective team's mission statement. Stories range from coaches screaming at young draft picks to some rookies having to be removed from practice. This was the case on Friday at the Bears minicamp when second round draft pick wide receiver Alshon Jefferys work day was shortened due to leg cramps.

Jeffery is not the only wide receiver dealing with the rigors of how to practice like a pro. On Friday, former scout, coach, and general manager Pat Kirwin and I talked to 49ers first round wide receiver A.J. Jenkins on SiriusXM NFL Radio who explained, I have ice bags on both my hamstrings right now.

Many have questioned Jefferys conditioning because he played close to 240 pounds last season at South Carolina. The real crux of the matter is young players coming out of college just arent used to the volume of routes performed during an NFL practice.

Yes, part of it is conditioning and getting acclimated to the tempo and intensity of how NFL practices are conducted, but the sheer volume of routes run during a rookie minicamp is enough to tire the most conditioned athlete.

A.J. Jenkins added, There were only four wide receivers in minicamp.

Only four wide receivers for practice which normally includes Pat & Go drills, individual period, 1 on 1s, 7 on 7, and then finishes with a lengthy team period. No wonder Jeffery and Jenkins were struggling, especially with the added special teams work. Plus, both Jeffery and Jenkins are the top picks at wide receiver by their respective clubs. They will be forced to receive more snaps than anyone else during practice.

It is a good eye opener for any rookie, but not uncommon.

White Sox' Luis Robert not feeling pressure of Rookie of the Year hype

White Sox' Luis Robert not feeling pressure of Rookie of the Year hype

Of all the White Sox players this season, the spotlight has shined brightest on Luis Robert, but he says that’s not the reason for his recent five-game slump. In fact, Robert doesn’t even see himself as a new face of the franchise, despite all the hype surrounding his MLB debut and hot start to the season.

“I honestly don’t feel that way,” Robert said via team interpreter Billy Russo. “I just think that I’m the new guy.”

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It’s clear the pressure didn’t affect Robert earlier in the year as he notched at least one hit in his first six games, and racked up 14 hits through 10 games. As the impressive performances at the plate mounted, so did the buzz around the young centerfielder. But Robert insists he doesn’t think about it, even though he’s slashing a lowly .158/.200/.211 over his last five games, and out of the lineup for the first time in his career on Monday.

“I know everyone’s trying to talk about me, about my option for Rookie of the Year and that kind of stuff,” Robert said via Russo. “But for me I just feel like another guy for this team. I don’t feel that pressure, that attention. I know that it’s there, but I don’t think about that.”

So is this mini-slump due to an adjustment in the way pitchers are approaching Robert at the plate? Again, Robert says no.

“Pitchers have been attacking me the same way since the season started. I didn’t have good results the last few days, but I just have to keep working. There’s nothing different that they have done against me. It’s just a matter of results.”

Robert has shown a remarkable ability to adjust to a pitcher’s approach mid-game. Now it’s time to see how he adjusts to a little major league adversity.


RELATED: White Sox at quarter pole: Injuries, starting-pitching woes cloud rest of 2020

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2020 NHL Draft: Winner of No. 1 pick revealed at Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery

2020 NHL Draft: Winner of No. 1 pick revealed at Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery

After the No. 1 pick went to a placeholder team — that would be eliminated in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in the NHL's 24-team postseason under the Return to Play program — in Phase 1 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery in June, the top pick for the 2020 NHL Draft was awarded to an actual team in Phase 2 of the lottery on Monday. 

The New York Rangers won the No. 1 overall pick for the 2020 NHL Draft on Monday during Phase 2 of the lottery.

The Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets were also in the running and all had a 12.5% chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick along with the Rangers in Phase 2 of the Draft Lottery.

The No. 1 pick of this year's draft is expected to be forward Alexis Lafrenière, who registered 35 goals and 77 assists for a league-leading 112 points in 52 games this season with the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL, where he also served as the team captain. 

No team has held the No. 1 pick finishing better than 26th in the standings since the 1995 NHL Draft, and no team made the top pick after playing in a postseason series since the Minnesota North Stars in the 1983 NHL Draft.

The 2020 NHL Draft is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. It was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which paused the NHL on March 12.

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