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Rookies Prepare For The Unexpected

Wide receiver Marvin McNutt knows the first day of the NFL is not going to be like his first day of college at Iowa.

"This is the big time. This is the NFL," the sixth-round draft pick said after arriving at the NovaCare Complex on Friday.

On Saturday morning, the 44 players scheduled to take part in the rookie mini-camp will go through a team meeting, a special teams meeting and a position group meeting before their first practice. Following lunch, the players will go through another position meeting and another practice. They will repeat the same schedule on Sunday before one final mini-camp practice on Monday morning.

These players on the practice field this weekend were stars at the highest levels of college football. Now, they start from the bottom of the totem pole in an effort to get noticed by coaches just to make the team. However, the players will be mentally just trying to keep up with everything thrown at them - an unfamiliar environment, new coaches, new teammates, different playbook and much improved competition.

"I think it's more mental than physical, definitely, and I think it's going to be more mental, period," second-round linebacker Mychal Kendricks said. "You have a lot more things to remember, a lot more install to handle. The physical part is going to go up, of course, but the mental part is what's most important in this game, period. That's what I'm going to be more focused on."

Defensive end Vinny Curry and the rest of the rookies spent nearly four months on a job interview process just to get selected by an NFL team. While that was hard work in itself, the real test is just beginning. Curry, a lifelong Eagles fan, sported a throwback Mitchell & Ness Eagles hat that he already owned when he got to the NovaCare Complex. The second-round pick out of Marshall is thrilled to be with the Eagles, but he's not taking anything for granted.

"I just want to prove to them that I'm a good football player," Curry said. "Thanks for picking me. You got a good pick in me and go out here and just prove myself this weekend and try to make this football team."

First-round draft pick, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, is embracing the notion that he will be tested this weekend.

"I'm expecting a lot from (defensive line) Coach (Jim) Washburn. I know he's going to get after me and I told him that I'm looking forward to it," Cox said. "I'll be ready to learn. I think I'll do a real good job at learning the playbook. All you have to do it look through it, walk through it and run it a couple of times and I kind of got it down pat then. I know they're expecting me to come in and learn and I'm coming to learn and see Coach Washburn, how he really is."

Kendricks said that he's spent the past few weeks since the draft calling NFL players from his alma mater, California, to try and get an idea of what the transition will be like. Or, in other words, try and prepare for the unexpected.

"It's a man's game. You have to really strap up. It's war in those trenches," Kendricks said of the message from the fellow Golden Bears in the NFL. "This mini-camp is just to get us acclimated to how they run things and just get us going. I think where people will really be able to separate themselves is (training) camp."

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