Mandatory three-day minicamp kicks off for 17 teams this week after 12 others held theirs last week. The Miami Dolphins had their session two weeks ago, and the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals aren’t holding one this year.
Many players have taken part in voluntary organized team activities, but the mandatory element of these minicamps means some veterans will be making their first appearances this offseason.
And for teams that added key players during the offseason, like the Denver Broncos after acquiring quarterback Russell Wilson and the Washington Commanders after trading for quarterback Carson Wentz, minicamp will be a chance for them to sync up with new teammates.
What do you need to know about this week’s activities? We asked our NFL Nation reporters to preview this week’s minicamps and tell us the biggest thing they are watching.
The first thing to watch is whether Kyler Murray, who would like a new contract, shows up. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said he expects his quarterback to be there. The next thing is how well Murray connects with his receivers, most of whom he either played with last season or has a history with, like former Oklahoma teammate Marquise Brown. — Josh Weinfuss
The Falcons will get their first extended look at potential starting quarterbacks, veteran Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder. It’s the first time since before Matt Ryan was drafted in 2008 that there is a true competition for the spot in Atlanta, as the franchise starts to navigate its post-Ryan future. Mariota should be the expected starter going in, but Ridder is going to have a real chance to win the job. — Michael Rothstein
All eyes will be on Lamar Jackson after the quarterback missed voluntary workouts for the first time in his five-year career. He returns to an offense with a new No. 1 wide receiver in Rashod Bateman (after Baltimore traded Marquise “Hollywood” Brown), a new No. 1 running back in Mike Davis (J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards are recovering from torn ACLs) and two new starters on the offensive line (first-rounder Tyler Linderbaum and free-agent addition Morgan Moses). Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said the team has added 20% to its scheme this offseason, which means Jackson has some catching up to do. — Jamison Hensley
Will safety Jordan Poyer attend mandatory minicamp, and if he does, how much will he participate? General manager Brandon Beane said during OTAs that he does not have any reason to believe that Poyer won’t be in attendance, while defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said, “Hopefully we’ll see him soon.” Poyer is entering the final year of his contract and has requested an extension from the team. The 31-year-old All-Pro has not taken part in any of the team’s voluntary OTAs. — Alaina Getzenberg
All eyes will be on quarterback Sam Darnold to see if he has improved what he called “chaotic” footwork in 2021 and shows signs of taking his game to the next level. If not, will third-round pick Matt Corral grasp enough of the offense to challenge Darnold for the starting job once the team gets to training camp? Tied to that is the initial chemistry of the rebuilt offensive line and how left tackle Ikem Ekwonu, the No. 6 overall pick, handles the speed of NFL pass-rushers, like Brian Burns. — David Newton
We’ve heard the praise heaped on quarterback Justin Fields by teammates and coaches regarding the progress he has made this offseason on the field and in the meeting room. With one final look at the Bears’ offense before late July, can Fields prove he has built continuity with the playmakers around him and that his talents can elevate Chicago’s offense in moments when things break down? Year 2 is all about how much Fields can grow within an offense that’s expected to play to his strengths. We’ll be looking for tangible signs of that beginning Tuesday. — Courtney Cronin
What will be the first impressions of this new-look offense with quarterback Deshaun Watson? The Browns, who had been largely a power-running offense the past two seasons, could be more wide open with Watson, who hasn’t played since the 2020 season — when he led the NFL in passing with 4,823 yards. The Browns traded for Watson, who missed last season after he requested a trade from the Texans in January, 2021, and since that request, 24 civil lawsuits have been filed against him amid accusations of inappropriate conduct and sexual assault during massage sessions. — Jake Trotter
The Cowboys’ offensive line will likely be the key to their success, but let’s not get bogged down in that stuff in pad-less practices. Let’s wonder about Dak Prescott’s connections with his receivers. Amari Cooper is gone. Michael Gallup is rehabbing from a knee injury. CeeDee Lamb is the new No. 1. But Prescott has not gotten much on-field work with free-agent pickup James Washington or third-round pick Jalen Tolbert just yet because of minor injuries to both receivers. Prescott will need both to be factors, especially early in the season in Gallup’s absence, so any work in the minicamp will be good. — Todd Archer
Look, you have a first-time head coach, a first-time offensive coordinator and a first-time defensive coordinator at the top of the coaching flow chart, all installing new schemes with a new quarterback — you might have heard the Broncos traded for Russell Wilson in March. Through their on-field work so far, the Broncos have flashed immense potential and a little choppiness. Minicamp will provide a good look at the status of some of the personnel groupings, especially the offensive line, where the team is still churning through combinations. — Jeff Legwold
Has quarterback Davis Mills improved? Mills enters minicamp as the Texans’ expected starter, which is different from a year ago when Tyrod Taylor and Watson were still on the roster. Coach Lovie Smith said Mills is continuing to get “on the same page” with coordinator Pep Hamilton’s offense but that the 2021 third-rounder “picks things up fairly quick.” — Sarah Barshop
The Jaguars have put No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker at outside linebacker, but there is still some tinkering to be done: fitting in two other rookie linebackers (27th overall pick Devin Lloyd and third-rounder Chad Muma) and free-agent signee Foyesade Oluokun (who led the NFL in tackles last season with the Atlanta Falcons). Also keep an eye on running back Travis Etienne Jr., a former first-round pick who missed his rookie season because of a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, as he works as the No. 1 back while James Robinson recovers from a left Achilles injury. How much will he be used in the pass game? — Mike DiRocco
Who is catching Patrick Mahomes’ passes? Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman return, but otherwise, the Chiefs rebuilt their receiving group, signing JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and drafting Skyy Moore in the second round. Jobs are available deeper down the wide receiver depth chart, with players such as Josh Gordon, Justyn Ross and Corey Coleman competing for roster spots. — Adam Teicher
Will free-agent additions Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson make a difference on the defensive line? While the trade for Khalil Mack and signing of J.C. Jackson received more attention, the Chargers need Joseph-Day and Johnson to play big and help a defense that allowed 139 yards per game last season. — Adam Teicher
Unfortunately, we won’t see this offense at full strength yet while quarterback Jameis Winston, wide receiver Michael Thomas and tight end Taysom Hill remain in various stages of injury rehabs, though Winston is expected to take part in minicamp. However, we should get a glimpse of how high-powered the Saints can be again with running back Alvin Kamara expected to join Winston and new receivers Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave on the practice field. Once healthy, this offense is poised to make as big a leap as any unit in the NFL this season. — Mike Triplett
The Jets will get their first look at offensive tackle Mekhi Becton since he sprained the MCL in his right knee Week 1 last season. The 2020 first-round pick, who spent the past two months training in Texas, has been the talk of the offseason because of his durability and conditioning issues. How’s his surgically repaired knee? How much does he weigh? Is he switching to right tackle? Can they count on him? They might get some, but not all, of the answers in minicamp. — Rich Cimini
Who plays left guard and right tackle? The biggest hole in the Titans’ roster remains along the offensive line. It’s still a mystery where 2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz will line up. But he’s expected to fill one of the starting voids created when the Titans released left guard Rodger Saffold III and didn’t re-sign right tackle David Quessenberry. Tennessee added former Seattle Seahawks lineman Jamarco Jones in free agency and selected Nicholas Petit-Frere in the third round of the draft. Veteran Aaron Brewer will be in the mix as well, but there are no clear-cut favorites to win the jobs. — Turron Davenport
Quarterback Carson Wentz’s connection with his receivers will be the biggest thing to watch. Wentz clicked with first-round pick Jahan Dotson in early-spring workouts, but he’ll have to show he can connect with other targets, too, on a consistent basis. Along these lines, receiver Terry McLaurin did not attend the voluntary sessions because he wants a contract extension. Will he return, and what sort of connection will he establish with Wentz? — John Keim