Carroll Running With the First Team
According to the team’s website, Nolan Carroll has been taking reps with the first team opposite Byron Maxwell this week to kick off OTAs.
“I’m not putting stock in it at this point, because we’re all getting the same amount of reps,” Carroll said. “Every time I’m out there I’m focusing on my technique no matter where I’m lining up. It’s not about going against the guy across from me, it’s about what I can do every single time and how much I can focus on my technique on every snap.
“We’re out there now and things are going so fast that you’re going to get tired after three or four reps and the next guy is up.”
Carroll, who played the role of dime specialist last season, will be competing with the likes of Eric Rowe and Walter Thurmond for one of the starting corner spots this summer. Both Rowe and Thurmond are new to the scene, so it would makes sense if Chip Kelly leaned towards Carroll in the early going given his familiarity with Billy Davis‘ defense.
We know that this head coach makes his players earn their place in the pecking order, and that especially applies to rookies. Rowe will have to climb his way up the depth chart like Lane Johnson and Jordan Matthews before him. There’s no guarantee that it will be a quick ascent. Rowe has little experience at the corner position, and it’s certainly conceivable that he won’t be ready for prime time early on given the learning curve he faces. Thurmond — a five-year NFL vet with the Seahawks and Giants — is more seasoned, but the Oregon product has to prove that he can stay healthy.
Carroll, then, seems to have a real shot at landing the job for opening day. But the competition is just underway, and Kelly is a long ways off from declaring a victor.