It was ONE rookie minicamp practice in May — a practice that didn't include much blocking, any tackling or more than a handful of future NFL players — but even in that single session, Derrius Guice gave off the vibe of a running back who's not going to be fun to bring down.
Wearing a Redskins jersey for the first time between the white lines, the 2018 Draft's 59th overall pick looked thick and strong, standing out on an Ashburn field that was littered with more than 80 other roster hopefuls. Afterward, however, it wasn't Guice's work on offense that impressed Jay Gruden the most.
"He’s just a ball of energy," the head coach said of the ex-LSU RB in his post-minicamp presser. "He’s really excited to be here. He’s willing to learn. He’s first in the meeting, got his playbook open and just soaking in all the knowledge."
That energy and excitement that Gruden mentioned were immediately evident in Guice's chat with the media, too.
"It felt like my dream finally came true," the 20-year-old said when asked how he enjoyed his first real(-ish) taste of pro football.
The self-described angry runner didn't mind that there wasn't any contact in Friday's practice, either. He still found the experience to be quite valuable.
"I feel like this is important, just getting a grasp on the plays," he said. "It's not all about just putting on the pads, going out there and running someone over. It's the mental stuff first."
The physical stuff isn't at all the issue with Guice; his 32 career touchdowns in the SEC can tell you that. What worried organizations, and what ultimately caused him to slide to the bottom of the draft's second round, is that mental stuff — his maturity, his preparedness, his dedication.
Yet Gruden, Doug Williams and others with the 'Skins have had nothing but good things to say about their newest offensive weapon's character since they selected him.
As for Guice, well, let's just say he's pretty thrilled about his current occupation and so far is showing no signs of being a guy who's not passionate about what he does.
"It's just football all day," he said, "and I feel like that's the best part about being a pro."
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