NFL minicamp updates: Giants' Malik Nabers impresses; Pats' Drake Maye ends on high note


It’s the second week of mandatory minicamps in the NFL, with 22 teams taking another critical step toward the starting line of the 2024 season. Ten teams got the mandatory ball rolling last week.

ESPN’s NFL reporters will be found at each of the locations this week, providing information on position battles, notable appearances from new faces, compelling quotes from coaches and players and updates on injuries and holdout situations.

Jump to:
Patriots | Giants | Browns | Packers | Saints
Broncos | Bengals | Chiefs | Raiders | Jets
Panthers | Commanders | Steelers | Jaguars | Ravens
Bills | Bucs

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Top NFL news of the day

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Jets’ Robert Saleh on ‘exact same page’ with absent Aaron Rodgers

One day after Aaron Rodgers’ unexcused absence from minicamp sparked a media firestorm, New York Jets coach Robert Saleh downplayed the matter, insisting it hasn’t caused a distraction or unrest within the organization. “Aaron and I are on the exact same page,” Saleh said Wednesday. “There’s no issue between Aaron or his teammates, for that matter. We addressed it yesterday. It’s more of an issue for everyone outside the building than it is inside. That’s about it.”


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O’Connell confirms Sam Darnold will start at Vikings training camp

Sam Darnold will continue as the Minnesota Vikings’ lead quarterback when training camp opens next month, coach Kevin O’Connell said Wednesday as the team wrapped up its final OTA of the spring. O’Connell stopped short of projecting anything beyond that, saying he plans for a “competitive” training camp at many positions. The Vikings have three other quarterbacks on their roster, including rookie J.J. McCarthy as well as veterans Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall.


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Commanders’ Jayden Daniels: ‘I ain’t a star quarterback yet’

Quarterback Jayden Daniels’ new Washington Commanders teammates and coaches have shared, quite often, how impressed they are after his first offseason. The one person who isn’t buying into the hype: Daniels himself.

“I ain’t a star quarterback yet,” he said, responding to a question about getting some perks of a franchise quarterback. “I got long way to go. I’m a rookie.”


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Unlike Kelce, Chiefs’ Jones not thinking about retirement

Chris Jones heard his Kansas City Chiefs teammate Travis Kelce recently talk about the end of his playing career being in sight and he cringed. Jones said there are no thoughts of retirement for him.

“Once you begin to think about things like that, you’re getting to feed the mind those types of thoughts,” Jones said. “I don’t even want my mind to even go that far to the R word.”

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What our NFL Nation reporters saw today

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With Mike Evans not participating and Trey Palmer dealing with an undisclosed injury, rookie wide receiver Jalen McMillan, a third-round draft pick, got a lot of attention from quarterback Baker Mayfield, catching three passes on three targets. In fact, he was Mayfield’s first target during the team period and caught a touchdown away from Mayfield during red-zone drills Tuesday.

“He’s really friendly at the top of his routes, attacks the ball, catches with his hands. Just explosive, a smooth route runner,” Mayfield said. “So just now, having him put it all together in the offense … I think for him, really the next step is mastering the offense so he can use that physical talent that he has.” — Jenna Laine


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One second on the clock. Last play of mandatory minicamp. Ball on the 5-yard line. Who gets the bragging rights — offense or defense — until the team returns for the start of training camp in late July?

That was the situation facing rookie QB Drake Maye on the final day of mandatory minicamp.

Maye delivered a beautiful back-shoulder fade to rookie WR Ja’Lynn Polk — with undrafted CB Mikey Victor in coverage — and Polk crashed to the ground near the back right-hand corner of the end zone. Officials from Adrian Hill’s crew, who were on hand for practice, huddled to determine whether Polk had two feet in bounds, and they ultimately thrust their arms into the air to signal touchdown.

Offensive players celebrated. Defensive players, some shouting expletives, hit the deck for pushups.

“That’s something to go home with,” Maye later said, crediting Polk for making the play. “First OTAs, first minicamp, end on a catch like that from a fellow rookie — first- and second-rounder. It’s pretty cool.” — Mike Reiss


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It was a big wide receiver day for the Jets. In their final minicamp practice, Garrett Wilson put on a show, catching two deep passes from Tyrod Taylor. Wilson, coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, has improved in all areas, according to cornerback D.J. Reed. “Just a great football player,” Reed said.

Mike Williams didn’t participate in minicamp — he’s still rehabbing from ACL surgery last fall — but confirmed that he expects to be ready for Week 1. A healthy Williams should be a nice complement to Wilson. “I can be that big, physical receiver who can make plays downfield, catch slants or do whatever it takes,” the former Chargers star said.

Somewhere, Aaron Rodgers is smiling. — Rich Cimini


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The first play of the last practice of the spring for the Giants was a slip-screen pass to rookie wide receiver Malik Nabers.

It goes to show just how much of an impression the first-round pick has made heading into training camp that the team has plays designed just for him. It’s because Nabers, the No. 6 selection earlier this year out of LSU, has showed out this spring. It has caught the attention of his coaches and teammates.

“I mean, he can do everything,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “There is not much that he can’t do from a route-running standpoint. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands and strong, fast, explosive, catches the ball well. Yeah, he does a lot well.”

That has been evident all spring, including in the final on-field workout of the offseason when he had a pair of grabs during a light practice at minicamp. — Jordan Raanan


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Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, still has Cleveland’s season-ending loss to the Houston Texans on his mind as he prepares for the 2024 season. Cleveland lost to Houston 45-14 in the wild-card round and the Browns’ defense had its worst performance of the year in the defeat.

“It’s definitely at the forefront of my mind always,” Garrett said. “That’s the last taste of football that we all had. I’m trying to make that apparent to everyone and continue to keep it as motivation for myself.”

After winning his first Defensive Player of the Year award, Garrett said a Lombardi Trophy is the only thing he’s thinking about for an encore performance.

“God willing, I can build on the success that we had last year, have everyone be healthy and win a Super Bowl,” he said. “That’s where my eyes are only.” — Daniel Oyefusi


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The Packers may not have an established No. 1 receiver — and they may not need one with all the young talent at that spot — but if there’s a most reliable among that group, it might be third-year pro Romeo Doubs. If anyone had one foot out the door Wednesday before the final practice of the offseason, Doubs wasn’t one of them. The highlight of his day came when he snagged a deep stop route over the middle, made a quick cut and turned up the field.

“We challenged him on a couple things we thought he could really do a better job of with, and just continuing to stress the importance of opening up his stride and he’s embraced that,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “And I think you’ve seen that and I think he’s had a lot of great moments. Matter of fact, I can’t think of a bad day that he’s had out there. He just, he is definitely improving.” — Rob Demovsky


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The Saints had quarterback Jake Haener working with the third team for the first time, allowing rookie Spencer Rattler to take second-team reps. Rattler was picked off in 11-on-11 drills by starting cornerback Marshon Lattimore while targeting rookie Bub Means.

Haener also threw his first interception of practices open to the media this summer when he was picked off by rookie safety Millard Bradford. Saints coach Dennis Allen said not to read too much into that.

“That thing is going to battle out all throughout training camp,” Allen said. “And I don’t think that position is unique. There’s going to be several positions where you’ll see a few lineup changes along the way.” — Katherine Terrell


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In the rather large shadow thrown by the team’s three-man quarterback competition is one of the Broncos’ other significant position battles — the starting cornerback job opposite of all-everything cornerback Pat Surtain II. A job that will require not only the talent to do the job, but the mental toughness to survive the attention as quarterbacks avoid Surtain. “It’s healthy,” said defensive coordinator Vance Joseph of the competition.

” … If you’re playing opposite of Patrick you’re going to get most of the targets. That’s part of it, so having a guy who’s resilient and who can work through adversity in games and kind of invite being attacked.”

As the Broncos wrapped up their offseason program Wednesday, Riley Moss, Damarri Mathis, rookie Kris Abrams-Draine and Levi Wallace were all poised to push for the job once training camp starts, with Moss likely having made the most of the snaps in OTAs and two days of minicamp. — Jeff Legwold


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Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt had another nice day in 7-on-7 drills. For the second time in two days, he registered a pass deflection off QB Joe Burrow in drills.

Cornerback DJ Turner and Dax Hill, who are fighting for the outside cornerback position, each had a good day Wednesday. Turner and Hill each had a couple of pass deflections during 7-on-7 drills. Turner broke up a pass off back-up quarterback Jake Browning that popped up into the air and was intercepted. Hill also had a deflection on an in-breaking route that prompted Burrow to throw his towel as if it were a flag.

Hill got a good laugh out of the bit but also believed he made the play cleanly. — Ben Baby


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Zay Flowers is looking like a No. 1 wide receiver in mandatory minicamp. He is only 5-foot-9, but he made the play of the day when he elevated over cornerback Trayvon Mullen for a touchdown grab.

“I can’t really describe our chemistry — I believe it’s great; I can say that,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said. “It’s better than last year. Just being around him down in Florida, running every route on the route tree and just trying to build. It’s working out for us.”

Flowers’ touchdown catch came after a scary moment. Flowers collided with safety Marcus Williams while trying to pull in a pass over the middle of the field. After getting up gingerly, Flowers lined up a few plays later and made that leaping reception in the end zone. Last season, Flowers set Ravens rookie records with 77 catches and 858 receiving yards. — Jamison Hensley


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The idea behind bringing in speed at wide receiver in the persons of Marquise Brown and Xavier Worthy was for the Chiefs to be able to get more big pass plays. They got one toward the end of practice when Patrick Mahomes beat the blitz and threw a long touchdown pass to Brown. Worthy hasn’t practiced much since being drafted in the first round because of a sore hamstring. He didn’t work in Wednesday’s practice, instead watching from the side. But it doesn’t take much from the Chiefs to imagine what the possibilities are when Brown and Worthy are in the lineup. “Those guys are blazers,” wide receiver Justin Watson said. “They’re at a different level of speed and defenses are going to have to back up.” — Adam Teicher


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While it’s natural that the Raiders defense, playing in the same scheme for the third straight year with 10 starters returning, would be ahead of the offense, there is a growing concern over how much the defense is dominating and how shaky the offense looks. Especially with a new scheme being installed by new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and a quarterback battle underway between Aidan O’Connell, who threw two interceptions Wednesday, and Gardner Minshew, who threw one of his own to end practice. In short, the offense needs training camp to sort itself out while the defense fine tunes itself.

“I mean, what is it called that we just did out there?” asked receiver Davante Adams, after a long post-practice talk with new GM Tom Telesco. When told, “Practice,” Adams smiled. “That’s it, right?” he said. “The opportunity to get all of that stuff ironed out. It’s going to be a lot of mistakes … But this time of the year gives us the opportunity to get ahead of it and learn the system.” — Paul Gutierrez


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Kickers don’t typically get mentions during mandatory camps, but Eddy Pineiro is noteworthy. After missing all of voluntary OTAs because, according to a league source, he wants a new contract, and not kicking on the first day of the mandatory camp, Pineiro kicked Wednesday. He was only 2-of-4.

But when asked why he hasn’t been at camp, Pineiro called it a “private matter.” Asked if it was related to his contract, he declined to comment. When he was told Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker makes $6 million a year, Pineiro responded,”Oh, wow! That’s awesome … Hopefully, I can get there one day.”

Pineiro makes $2 million a year, but ranks third on the NFL’s all-time field goal percentage list at 89%, behind Tucker (90.18%) and Harrison Butker (89.14%) of the Kansas City Chiefs. Pineiro wouldn’t describe his “private matter” as confrontational, adding he would report to training camp on time “ready to kick.” — David Newton


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Second-year safety Quan Martin made the play of the day, showing why he could be a big help in the secondary this season. Quarterback Marcus Mariota lofted a pass down the left side to running back Chris Rodriguez. But Martin tipped the ball in the air and caught it behind his back as he ran down the sidelines. Washington’s secondary faces numerous questions after a subpar 2023 season, but Martin, a second-round pick last season, has been working a lot alongside veteran Jeremy Chinn with the first group.

One criticism the defensive backs faced last season was poor communication, stemming in part from a defense that too often left them confused. Their chatter so far this spring has been a stark difference. Martin is considered a heady, versatile player who communicates well and who can play safety or in the slot in various packages. He could become a mainstay.— John Keim


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George Pickens is getting back to his roots. The third-year receiver, who spent most of his first two seasons playing on the outside, said Wednesday he’s been mixing in work from the slot, something he hasn’t done since he played in college.

“It is great,” Pickens said. “I’m a total receiver, so I like working in the slot just as much as I like working at outside receiver.”

Moving Pickens to the slot is another wrinkle in Arthur Smith’s versatile offense and matches Pickens up more with safeties and linebackers, a challenge the physical wide receiver likes tackling.

“Well, linebackers, it’s just being smarter than them,” Pickens said. “They got a few keys, they kind of crash dummies, so it’s just being smarter than them, catching the ball, get down when you’re supposed to, catching the ball, scoring when you’re supposed to.”

The secret weapon to making big plays from the slot, he said, is simple.

“Speed,” he said. “Split defenders, that’s a biggest thing. Slot, if you got super, super good speed you can split defenders. Just kind of [makes it] easy to score.” — Brooke Pryor


Head coach Doug Pederson said on the last day of minicamp that the team plans to workout receiver Hakeem Butler, who was the United Football League’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2024 after leading the league with 652 yards receiving and 14.5 yards per catch. The 28-year-old Butler is also scheduled to workout with the Carolina Panthers.

He spent four months of the 2023 offseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers before being released in late August and also has spent time on the Panthers’ practice squad and the Philadelphia Eagles’ active roster and practice squad. That came in 2020 when Pederson was the Eagles’ head coach. Arizona drafted him in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft out of Iowa State. If Butler signs, he’ll join a group of six other receivers fighting for the No. 6 receiver spot behind Gabe Davis, Christian Kirk, Brian Thomas Jr., Devin Duvernay and Parker Washington. — Michael DiRocco


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Bills rookie wide receiver Keon Coleman has gotten in the mix throughout the team’s offseason program, and that extended to Wednesday. The receiver was matched up against cornerback Rasul Douglas often, and his highlight catch of the practice was a jumping grab on a pass from quarterback Josh Allen with Douglas in coverage.

It was also a big day for Coleman — taken 33rd overall this spring — as he became the final member of the team’s rookie class to sign his contract.

“I haven’t seen too much of [Coleman]. He made some plays,” Douglas said. “He’s young. He’s still trying to learn. I think that’s the thing that helps him the best is just be a learner. And he’s a cool guy off the field. He’s a joker. He’s funny. He’s chill.”

Douglas did not attend the team’s voluntary part of the offseason program, something that he said he always does. He noted how athletes are also human beings and the importance for himself to be able to take a step away and “just take a deep breath and to be thankful for what God blessed you with, the family that you with, and just to spend time with them.” — Alaina Getzenberg





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