Four former Blue Devils spent their first days with new NFL teams this past weekend as organized team activities began with the teams’ rookie camps.
Wide receiver Conner Vernon made a splash at camp with the Oakland Raiders. Donning No. 16 for the silver and black, Vernon drew praise from a number of Raiders columnists and bloggers from his play this weekend.
— Chris McClain (@SB_ChrisMcClain) May 11, 2013
Levi Damien, a lead writer at Silver and Black Pride, an Oakland Raiders blog powered by SB Nation, called the former Blue Devil receiver one of the standout performers at the camp.
“While [Brice] Butler was stretching the field, Vernon was having his way underneath. He was masterful as the slot receiver in this offense. He looked smooth and polished in individual drills and didn’t miss a beat in the team drills. He looks to be everything Raiders fans hoped he would be coming in as the ACC all-time career receiving leader and is officially on watch to be the next UDFA gem for the Raiders.”
Jeff Fagen, a writer for Raidersblog.com, had this to say about Vernon:
#RaidersCampNotes Conner Vernon is as advertised. Very fluid routes. Very consistent hands. Didn’t drop any passes that anyone saw.
— Jeff Fagen (@RaidaPlaya) May 11, 2013
Vernon made this impressive catch in the corner of the end zone, captured by Asher Matthews, head writer for TFDS Sports.
— Asher Mathews (@AsherMathews) May 13, 2013
The Raiders’ front office must have agreed. Oakland cut five undrafted free agents following the conclusion of its rookie camp, but Vernon was not among them.
Sean Renfree also participated in rookie camp with the Atlanta Falcons, which kicked off last Wednesday. Renfree is still not back to full strength after having surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle last December, but did appear to be throwing. You’ll also see that the seventh-round draft pick has ditched the No. 19 he wore at Duke for No. 12.
— Matt Guerrieri (@MattGuerrieri) May 8, 2013
In addition to Renfree and Vernon, two other former Blue Devils participated in NFL camps over the weekend. Cornerback Tony Foster got a chance with the Kansas City Chiefs and long snapper Jackson Anderson went to rookie camp with the Houston Texans.
Duke NFL Free Agent Signees (3): Jackson AndersonLS, Texans; Tony Foster DB, Chiefs; Conner Vernon WR, Oakland Raiders
— ACC Football News (@accfootballnews) May 9, 2013