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Training Camp Notes (Friday, 7/26)

-Kalen Ballage ran with the first team on the first snap in both of Miami's two practices, implying that there's a real chance that Kenyan Drake plays off the bench this year. That makes Drake a questionable pick at his prior 4th/5th-round ADP, and Ballage an easy sale in any double-digit round until further notice. Barring profound improvement as a runner out of the backfield, though, it's difficult to see how Ballage would match the threat posed by Drake – Ballage averaged 4.3 yards per carry or less in three of his four seasons at Arizona State – so it's easy to imagine this arrangement dissolving if Ballage struggles as a runner. But Ballage poses an interesting pass-catching threat in H-back functions, so he could pay off at his current price even if Drake overtakes him as the lead runner.

-Marquez Valdes-Scantling continues to run ahead of Equanimeous St. Brown and Jake Kumerow as the second-leading outside receiver opposite Davante Adams, with Geronimo Allison still the lead slot presence. Aaron Rodgers even ceased praising Kumerow long enough to point out Valdes-Scantling as one of the offense's standout performers to this point, making the second-year wideout appear a candidate to push for 800 or so snaps in the Matt LaFleuer offense. He's gone as high as the eighth round lately in best ball drafts, and the continued positive coverage figures to solidify his place there.

-Jerick McKinnon (ACL) opened camp on the PUP list, reportedly after recently dealing with some sort of irritation to his surgically-repaired knee. Matt Breida, meanwhile, avoided the PUP list despite his offseason pectoral muscle tear. If Breida faces any further limitation it might make it somewhat easier for Tevin Coleman to take an early lead in the backfield.

-In addition to Sterling Shepard dealing with a broken thumb, presumed Giants WR3 Corey Coleman suffered a torn ACL on Thursday. Shepard looks likely to be ready for Week 1, but his absence in the meantime at the very least allows Golden Tate to more quickly acclimate to his new offense. Tate looked like he was headed for a big workload even before any of this, so he might hit the ground running despite the change of scenery. The team is expected to work out Kelvin Benjamin, if you were wondering how dire the situation is.

-T.J. Hockenson earned great praise for his early work in training camp, which could stoke his hype further after the Lions selected him eighth overall in the most recent draft. Hockenson isn't a rare size/speed case (4.7-second 40 at 6-foot-5, 251 pounds), but he's uncommonly quick (11.2 agility score) and explosive (37.5-inch vertical, 123-inch broad jump), and he was highly productive player at Iowa. In two years he turned 101 targets into 73 catches for 1,080 yards and nine touchdowns (72.3 percent catch rate, 10.7 YPT), so there's reason to think he'll produce on a per-target basis. The question is how many snaps are up for grabs between himself and Jesse James, as well as what percentage of those Hockenson can claim.

-Robert Foster was monstrously explosive for Buffalo last year, turning 44 targets into 27 receptions for 541 yards and three touchdowns on 446 snaps, but the Bills opened camp with a starting three wide of John Brown and Zay Jones outside with Cole Beasley in the slot. I'm personally skeptical that Josh Allen's placement tendencies make a great fit with a 5-foot-8 receiver like Beasley, but he's been productive in the past and the Buffalo staff clearly likes him.

Jones is an interesting candidate as well despite a brutally inefficient start to his NFL career. That he's caught only 83 of 176 targets for 968 yards (47.2 percent catch rate, 5.5 YPT) is offset somewhat by the six touchdowns he scored in his last seven games, and he was a strong prospect out of East Carolina with 399 career receptions and a dominant combine showing (4.45-second 40, 133-inch broad jump, 10.8 agility score). Davante Adams had an only slightly better start to his NFL career, catching 88 of 160 targets for 929 yards (55 percent catch rate, 5.8 YPT) in his first two seasons, so it's probably too early to completely write off Jones at this point.

-Antonio Brown began camp on the NFI list for an undisclosed reason, but it's not believed to be an issue of any importance.

-While the injury was initially declared minor, Calvin Ridley (hamstring) will undergo an MRI, hopefully for precautionary reasons. The team hasn't indicated any substantial concern over the ailment so far.

-Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel described both Derrick Henry (undisclosed) and A.J. Brown (leg) as day-to-day without offering specific diagnoses. At least Delanie Walker (ankle) appears to be all clear to open camp.