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Pac-12 Rookies Drawing Rave Reviews at NFL Training Camps

Aug 9, 2021

In 2020, Oregon alum Justin Herbert burst onto the NFL scene to light up defenses and take home the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. With training camps beginning in earnest over the past few weeks, a new crop of NFL rookies from Pac-12 schools are suiting up and attempting to follow in Herbert’s footsteps.

Taken No. 30 overall out of Washington, Joe Tryon is garnering plenty of buzz for the defending champion Tampa Bay Bucs. Most importantly, Tryon has caught the attention of the man in charge, with Bucs head coach Bruce Arians saying that the outside linebacker is “carving out a real, real nice role for himself.”

Similarly, Alijah Vera-Tucker, who went to the New York Jets at No. 14 out of USC has done all he can to impress his to new coaching staff. Jets offensive line coach John Benton has been raving about Vera-Tucker, saying via the Jets' website, “Right now, he’s been able to check every box. He’s willing to learn the scheme. Impressive athletically and he seems to fit right in with the guys….all indications are good.”

Vera-Tucker has also been a welcome presence on the sideline, leading chants and hyping up fans for the upcoming season.

Oregon alum Penei Sewell, who was the Pac-12’s highest draft pick last year when he went No. 7 overall to the Detroit Lions, has relished being back in live practice after sitting out the 2020 season. 

Man, it’s kind of like when you’re out in the desert and you take that first sip of water... to be out there again, to strap it on, to put the helmet back on again,” said Sewell to the Detroit Free Press.

However, Sewell is learning that even being a prized top-10 pick doesn’t get you out of pads duty at the first team practice if you’re still a rookie. 

Fellow Duck Jevon Holland is also learning how to adjust to the NFL on the fly. Summing up his transition to the Miami Dolphins, the safety told Sports Illustrated simply,You got to adapt or die. I'd rather adapt than die.``

Amon-Ra St. Brown, a former Trojan taken in the fourth round by the Lions, has some predicting that he could be the biggest sleeper of Detroit’s training camp. St. Brown has been making his mark by reportedly spending extra time catching passes after camp, and by showing his passion in forceful, albeit nontraditional, ways.

St. Brown got in a kerfuffle with a fellow teammate after practice - usually a cause for discipline. But Lions head coach Dan Campbell loved the intensity that he saw from the young wide receiver, telling“Yeah, I mean, I was fired up. Because they were competing, man. It was good to see both of them, two young bucks, go after it.”

One rookie who wasn’t even drafted has caught the attention of legendary Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Aashari Crosswell, who starred at safety for the Arizona State Sun Devils, was signed as an undrafted free-agent by the Seahawks. His playmaking ability, including two-interceptions in a recents Seattle practice, has piqued Carroll’s interest, who told the Athletic he “can’t help but notice” Crosswell’s production. 

Find out who will follow in Justin Herbert’s footsteps and become the next young star to come out of the Pac-12 when the NFL season gets started on September 9th. And download the Pac-12 Now App today and set alerts for Pac-12 football to make sure you never miss a moment of the action.