MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 27: Chase Minnifield #13 of the Virginia Cavaliers attempts to tackle Travis Benjamin #3 of the Miami Hurricanes as he runs with the ball on October 27, 2011 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Chase Minnifield entered the 2011 college season as a two-time All-ACC performer and a first round draft pick prospect. His year was derailed his senior year by injury and was forced to have micro-fracture surgery on his knee. He ran a 4.6 forty at UVA's pro-day and the criticism began, as one NFL evaluator said:
"I don't think (Virginia's) Chase Minnifield can play. He's not a very good athlete. I don't like him at all."
Minnifield was certainly expected to drop in the NFL draft due to his injury, but not all the way out of the draft. Minnifield has the pedigree, his dad was a pro bowl corner for the Browns from 1984-1992, and had proven performance on the field. Luckily, the Minnifield decided to stay close to Charlottesville and sign with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent.
Minnifield is already impressing at mini-camp where he picked off Rex Grossman yesterday (insert joke here) and shut down Brandon Banks on a stop-and-go route (insert another joke here). The rookie was even saying the right things to Rich Campbell after practice:
"I think if I just go out there and do what they ask me to do, have no mental mistakes and play the game I always play, I’ll be fine, Not necessarily standing out but just doing the right things."
If the Redskins can somehow find the Chase Minnifield who was a first round prospect this time last year, then a true diamond in the rough may have been found. It will be interesting to see Minnifield compete with guys like Richard Crawford, Morgan Trent, Jordan Bernstine, Brandyn Thompson, and Kevin Barnes this offseason. Perhaps he can even be the answer at nickle?