INDIANAPOLIS – For the second straight weekend, it was a time of activity around the Colts as the draft from last week gave way to rookie camp today.
Forty-four players went through two-plus hours of practice that augmented classroom work. The pace was crisp and presented at a speed commensurate with a typical NFL practice.
"You're trying to find out who can take (instruction) from the classroom to the walk-through to the practice, who can retain the information," said Chuck Pagano. "We're not going to hold back because it's a group of young guys. We're going to throw a lot at them."
Rookies have more direct tutelage in this environment than they will later during spring OTAs and summer camp.
They must keep pace for a team that has won 23-of-34 games under Pagano's command, and one that is much more veteran than his two previous squads.
Still, contributors are being sought and evaluations are being made. History has shown participants in this camp before have made footprints as Colts.
"Every year it happens," said Pagano. "We have guys on our coaching staff who were undrafted. There's somebody. It's up to you. It's about sacrifice, commitment and putting the time in. Anything's possible."
MEWHORT IN NEW SURROUNDINGS – While Jack Mewhort signed his contract Friday, he had been in the Colts' locker room earlier in the week.
The Ohio State rookie scanned the room and found his locker in the high-rent district – next to Andrew Luck and a couple of spots away from Reggie Wayne.
"I showed up the first day and looked at my locker neighbors and I think (this) one is a good one to have, really cool," said Mewhort. "It's a guy (Luck) I know I can learn a lot from and the way he works. I'm excited to be seated next to one of the great ones."
Mewhort said he is here to play whatever position is decided for him, "I want to learn them all." He said he will be ready where needed.
"There's a winning culture here. I'm glad to be a part of it. It's going to be a challenge (to learn different positions). It's something I embrace. I can absorb and learn fast. I don't know specifically where I'll be playing. I'll be an offensive lineman for the Colts. That's all that matters to me."
NEW TARGET – Donte Moncrief now stands at the Colts' biggest receiver at 6-2, 221 pounds, and he is located in the corner of the locker room where T.Y. Hilton has built a solid career.
Hilton, smaller in status (5-9, 178) than Moncrief, has put up big numbers, and Moncrief, selected 90th overall from Ole Miss, is excited to be a Colt.
"This was a dream as a little boy. I'm taking things in from the older guys," said Moncrief, who with an 11-foot vertical jump and near 78-inch wingspan hopes to snare passes like Hilton and two other 1,000-yard Colts receivers, Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks.
"This is something I always wanted. I bring speed, size. I'm not scared to block, to put my body out there for my teammates."
Andrew Luck was a draft class partner of Hilton. Luck's locker is located at the far end of the locker room in relation to the stalls of Hilton and Moncrief.
The rookie has seen Luck up close and knows the duty when a ball is thrown his way.
"I didn't know he was that big, honestly. When I first saw him, (it was), 'Wow, this guy's big,' " said Moncrief. "He can really spin it. It's something to get used to. (Dropped passes) won't be on him, it'll be on me."
Moncrief said he came out early in the draft. His father, Spencer, is doing well in fighting a bone disease, but Moncrief wanted to help ease family financial burdens.
PURIFOY PARTICIPATES – Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy was one of the Colts' post-draft free agent signings.
Purifoy started 19-of-37 games and was second-team All-SEC last year to cap off a career that had 102 tackles, five forced fumbles, two interceptions and sacks and a fumble recovery.
Touted in his career as a high draft pick, off-field indiscretions cost him in the process. He re-lived it again first-hand last weekend.
"I know it did (cost me). I have to look past it," said Purifoy. "It was tough because my mom's birthday was on Saturday. I didn't get drafted. I was watching, hoping my name would get called. It was hard knowing I should have gotten drafted.
"That's my past. I'm trying to give people a different perception, show them I'm a good kid. I know I messed. That's behind me now."
He is grateful for the opportunity provided and the performer who "takes pride" in his special teams play also aims to help on defense.
"Everybody's got a clean slate," said Pagano. "It's what you do from this day forward that matters to us. Each one of them is in an NFL building. They have a horseshoe on the side of their helmet. They have the opportunity of a lifetime. We're going to teach them, coach them and try to exhaust all resources to help (them)."
ALSO FRIDAY – All five of the club's draft picks were on hand and the only camp participants who are not rookies are wide receiver Josh Lenz (Iowa State) and cornerback Marcus Burley (Delaware).
Sixteen of the 44 were tryouts and other than Jonathan Newsome (Ball State) none of the first-day camp participants has connections with Indiana colleges. The position breakdown of the non-tryouts is: QB-1; WR-5; OL-6; TE-1; RB-2; DL-4; LB-2; DB-6; K/P-1. The by position breakdown by tryouts is: QB-1; WR-1; OL-0; TE-2; RB-4; DL-1; LB-4; DB-2; K/P-1.
The camp quarterbacks are Seth Lobato (6-6, 223, Northern Colorado) and Caleb Herring (a tryout player; 6-3, 200, UNLV). Lobato is a former basketball player at Colorado, who then transferred. He averaged 7.9 yards per completion last year, while throwing for 2,725 yards and 16 TDs.