The progression of many young players stood out early in camp as well as against the San Francisco 49ers. Now rookie players look to build on that experience as they prepare for getting to against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tanoh Kpassagnon led the group by playing a whopping 59 percent of the defensive snaps against the 49ers. Kpassagnon played three different positions in the contest. He recorded snaps as an interior defensive lineman, defensive end and even outside linebacker.
Kpassagnon’s athletic ability, work ethic and coachability stands out to defensive line coach Britt Reid. Reid said Monday of Kpassagnon:
“He’s doing a lot of things well. He has a lot of good natural instincts. He has a lot of pass rush ability and he’s a big guy who can move. Physically he stands out, but his play on the field also stands out. Especially going from nose to end all the way to outside backer coverage is very rare.”
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton also commented on what the rookie from Villanova offers this team defense:
“I think he has done a really good job. We are playing him at multiple positions, which we are going to have to do throughout this year. I think he has adapted really well and I think he has demonstrated that he is not uncomfortable standing up as an outside linebacker.”
These facts appear to have earned Kpassagnon more investment from the coaching staff. “I think we are trying to find a good role for him,” Sutton added.
Kpassagnon stands in line to see another sizable volume of snaps in week two against the Cincinnati Bengals. It may be difficult for him to match 59% of defensive snaps, however. Bennie Logan, Chris Jones and Roy Miller have all returned to the practice field and look to earn at least some snaps in week two. Kpassagnon likely needs to make more plays in a lower volume of snaps.
Rookie in a deep Secondary
Another defensive rookie has made an impression on his position coach as well. Oklahoma State rookie Ashton Lampkin impressed defensive backs coach Al Harris with athleticism and toughness. Harris illustrated what he’s seen from Lampkin:
“A lot, man. From the time he has gotten here till now, it is night and day. The confidence is there, the movement is there. He is still young and he is still growing, but the ceiling is high… he does everything you ask him to do.”
Lampkin did sustain an injury on Sunday and has missed practice time. Whether he will rebound in time to play against the Bengals remains to be seen.