Bronco draftees pass the first test

Boise State’s NFL Draft picks appear to have applied what they learned in college at their rookie minicamps. Boise State’s 2016 NFL Draft picks appear to have applied what they learned in college at their respective rookie minicamps over the weekend. Darian Thompson is receiving instant raves for on-field leadership with the New York Giants. Thompson had just been handed his Giants’ defensive playbook on Thursday night, and reports say that by Friday morning he was “calling out checks, yelling coverages and directing his new teammates during the first on-field segment of the minicamp.” Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was duly impressed. Thompson merely shrugged when asked about it by reporters. “It’s a lot easier to communicate when you know what’s going on, so first things first I tried to learn the playbook as much as possible before I got out there so the communication comes natural,” he said.

The reasons Baltimore drafted Kamalei Correa were reinforced in the Ravens rookie minicamp. ESPN Ravens reporter Jason Hensley said Correa made a strong first impression. “He showed explosiveness and a high motor,” said Hemsley of the former Boise State defensive end-turned-outside linebacker. “He had a physicality and a burst coming off the edge.” Correa also shrugged when asked about his performance. “They’re paying me—I’d better show up on Sundays.” Speaking of pay, Correa signed a four-year deal Friday at the rookie minimum of $450,000 per year. But one website said the deal could be worth up to $5.75 million.

In Seattle, Rees Odhiambo worked with the No. 1 offensive line both days at the Seahawks rookie minicamp. Odhiambo, a left tackle at Boise State, played left guard as expected. No word on whether Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable, the former Idaho head man, made Odhiambo juggle. Cable saw what he needed to see at Boise State’s Pro Day in March after making Odhiambo juggle two footballs while dropping back into pass protection. “He was just trying to see hand-eye coordination as we were moving,” Odhiambo told the Seattle Times. The Times story said the maneuver is not out of the ordinary. “Cable and the Seahawks like to see how prospects react under pressure, but it seems to be especially true of offensive linemen.”

Info out of the camps on Boise State’s three undrafted free agent signees is hard to come by, not to mention Tyler Horn, who was in Kansas City to try out as a tight end. Donte Deayon was at the Giants camp with Thompson, Marcus Henry got his initiation with New Orleans, and Tyler Gray was in Miami. Gray is an interesting prospect with the Dolphins. He always willed his way into playing time at Boise State with his work ethic. “One day you’re in and one day you’re out it seems like in the NFL,” Gray told the San Luis Obispo Tribune near his hometown of Templeton, CA. “The guys who last are the ones who act and play like that day could be their last day there.” The Dolphins are said to like Gray’s tall and lanky build: 6-3, 232 pounds, with speed to boot.

Mor Spirit, with one-time Les Bois Park jockey Gary Stevens aboard, was a trendy pick to at least show in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. But Mor Spirit was at a disadvantage coming out the No. 17 post, and despite a decent start, did not have the “gears” Stevens had talked about going into the race. Stevens’ fourth Kentucky Derby victory and 10th Triple Crown triumph was not in the cards, as Mor Spirit finished 10th in the 142nd Run For The Roses.

Graham DeLaet’s hopes of making a charge at the Wells Fargo Championship blew up Saturday when he slipped to a four-over 76 in Charlotte. Yesterday’s final round was even worse, a 78 that left the former Boise State star last among those who made the cut. But some perspective here: DeLaet last week pledged $500 for every birdie he made in the tournament to go to the Canadian Red Cross to help victims of the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta. DeLaet finished with 11 birdies total and will donate $5,500 to cause. He wanted more, of course, but he tweeted after the final round, “Frustrating day. 2 birds for the #Mac was all I could manage. Tweaked my neck this morning and couldn’t swing it like normal.”

Diamond notes: the College of Idaho baseball team battled back from a Friday loss to make the championship game yesterday at the NAIA West Grouping Championships in Vancouver, BC. The Coyotes lost 5-0 to Lewis-Clark State in the final, but they still qualify for the NAIA National Championships Opening Round next week. The Yotes will learn their opponent and destination this Friday. C of I had fallen to host British Columbia to open the tournament Friday but won two games Saturday—then outslugged UBC 12-9 earlier yesterday in a rematch to make the title tilt.

The Northwest Nazarene baseball squad swept Concordia Friday 9-8 and 16-6, and Saturday the Crusaders learned that they had won their first Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship. NNU won a tiebreaker with MSU-Billings and will host the GNAC Tournament at Vail Field in Nampa this Thursday and Friday. Also over the weekend, Crusader second baseman Tyler Davis was named a semifinalist for the Tino Martinez Award that goes to the best player in NCAA Division II. Davis, a senior from Orinda, CA, has started all 48 games for NNU this season and is batting .328 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs.

Javier Baez is the latest former Boise Hawk to make a mark on the Chicago Cubs’ epic start this season. Baez socked a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 13th inning yesterday to give the Cubs a 4-3 win over Washington at Wrigley Field. Chicago had trailed 3-1 in the seventh when ex-Hawk Kris Bryant tied the game on a two-run single—then the Cubs waited things out will a solid bullpen effort before Baez’s heroics. The victory completed a three-game sweep of the Nationals on the heels of a sweep of the Pirates, and the Cubs are now an amazing 24-6.

This Day In Sports…May 9, 1918:

A Boston Red Sox pitcher has five hits at the plate but takes the loss in a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Washington Senators. His name was Babe Ruth, and the next season he would give up pitching to become an everyday outfielder and hitter. Ruth clubbed a then-staggering 29 home runs for the Red Sox in 1919—then was traded to the Yankees, and you know what happened from then on. In Boston, the trade became the “Curse of the Bambino”, finally extinguished with the Red Sox World Series title in 2004.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)