With a year under his belt, Stephenson worked very hard in the off-season. He clearly worked on his hand placement and his strength. Stephenson has a better understanding of how to anchor his body. He has a much better punch. He has also improved at his hand placement, to negate the rusher. One day he threw Austen Lane like a rag doll for his finish.
2. Travis Kelce
So far, the game doesn't look to big for the rookie. He has made inaccurate passes thrown to him look routine. Recently in practice, he went out for a one handed grab on a drag route. He then tipped the ball to himself and made the catch with a defender draped over him. Kelce has a unique blend of size and athletic ability. In the run game, Kelce sticks with his blocks. He may not have the best footwork or position in his block yet. The big thing though is that he is relentless in his blocks. And he finishes each play until the whistle blows. Kelce will show flashes this season but when he puts it all together...watch out.
He's had a solid camp. Hemingway has made a couple wow plays, here and there. But the biggest thing is that he hasn't dropped many passes. Hemingway has been very reliable through camp so far. The one thing he needed to improve this season was his route running. Hemingway had a tendency of rounding off his routes. Which caused him to slip on his cuts at times. He has improved in that department. Hemingway is a player to keep your eye on.
He has two plays that have stood out to me at camp. He leaps up for a lofted ball on a screen pass, earlier this week. And today he laid the wood with a good form tackle. Demps has been a steady presence in the secondary with Berry out. He also provides the team versatility with his ability as a returner in special teams.
He had a one handed grab on Tuesday that was a thing of beauty. What makes Richardson so unique is his ability to sell routes. He utilized a double move on Sean Smith. He got Smith to bite on the short route by selling it with his head, shoulders and hands then he took off for the races. I've been impressed with his ability to sell routes. Richardson also has good speed. Another player to keep an eye on.
Good Vet Camps
This looks like the year Houston will explode. He illustrated against multiple starting caliber tackles what his arsenal includes. He can hit a tackle with the dip and rip, sell the outside and then spin underneath. He can swim. He can bull rush. He can use a combo to get to the quarterback. Houston puts pressure on the QB and makes plays. If Hali and Poe can hold up their roles. Houston may have an elite season.
Albert has looked very good in camp. He has lost weight. His kick step seems quicker. And his punch can be lethal if you give him a target. I saw Albert multiple times stun the defender in pass rush when they allowed him to get his punch in. Albert looks healthy and very determined.
3. Dontari Poe
Poe has also lost weight. 15 pounds is what he told the media on Thursday. You see quickness in his first step. He can fight across an offensive lineman's very quickly. Once he gets his dip and rip across an offensive lineman's face, it is over. I'm really impressed with how natural it is coming to Poe this season. He has the moves down. He looks comfortable . He looks quicker. All great combos for a 335 pound nose tackle.
4. Sean Smith
Smith has had a good camp. He is very physical at the line of scrimmage. He can disrupt any receiver's route with his press. He has been able to stay step for step with receivers. His weakness has been biting on the double move from time to time. Smith is a perfect fit for this defense.
When Jeff Allen went down with a shoulder injury. Schwartz was able to showcase his ability. He held his own in that 1st team guard spot. I don't remember him getting overpowered by a bull rush. I didn't see him overextending in his stance. He has a solid anchor. He is a good run blocker. Schwartz understands the angles and hasn't been dominated.