Saturday, April 27, 2013

Opportunity could be knocking for former Huskies

On the surface it appears that all three of the former UConn players drafted on Friday night are walking into pretty good situations.

Dwayne Gratz was the first of the trio to go when Jacksonville selected him with the 64th pick. Jacksonville's first-year head coach is former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley who built an outstanding defense around the play of a pair of physical cornerbacks.

Gratz was known as a willing and capable hitter during his tenure with the Huskies and without established stars at cornerback ahead of him, he has a chance to compete for a significant role as a rookie.

“He has to compete to do it,” Jacksonville general manager David Caldwell said in an interview posted on the team's official site. “He has the skill set to do it and we hope that he comes in and does it. Obviously that’s going to go around through the OTAs, mini-camp and through training camp.

“The best guy’s going to start, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a third round, first round, second round, or college free agent. I think the best guy’s going to start.”

Moore, who went to Oakland with the 66th overall pick, is walking into a team which lost two of its best linebackers. Philip Wheeler, who led the Raiders with 109 tackles during the 2012 season, signed as a free agent with Miami while former first-round pick Rolando McClain was released after some off the field issues. He was signed by Baltimore but recently made the news for the wrong reasons with another off the field incident.

Wreh-Wilson may have the toughest competition if he wants to earn a starting job as a rookie as the Titans return starting corners Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner but assistant secondary coach Steve Brown believes Wreh-Wilson has the potential to make an impact as a rookie.

"He is a very athletic, talented player," Brown said in a video interview on the Titans' official site. "They did a real fine job of coaching him at UConn both the corners, both him and Gratz are very similar. The nice thing about him is he is athletic, he can play the ball in the air, he can play press, he can play off. He has really good reaction skills and he can run so it is going to be great working with him plus he is a very right young man, a very personable guy and he has never missed class so I don't have to worry about him missing a meeting."

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home