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Wilkins brings 'good energy' to first day of rookie minicamp

Flores impressed by first-round pick, but he's not ready to label rookie yet

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins participates on the first day of the team's rookie minicamp, May 10, 2019, in Davie, Florida.

DAVIE, Fla. – First-year Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said he's impressed by the team's first-round draft pick after the first day of rookie minicamp.

Flores told reporters Friday that former Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins "brings a lot of energy into the building."

"He brings energy -- good energy in a good way," Flores said of the 13th overall pick in last month's NFL draft.

Flores said Wilkins is working hard and asking questions, but the two-time national champion still has a lot to learn.

"Right now he has to earn the respect of his teammates," Flores said. "He has to learn the playbook. He has to understand how we practice (because) all of this is new for all of these guys. We're not going to throw a bunch of expectations on them, but we're excited to work with Christian."

Wilkins admitted the intensity of his first NFL practice was different from that of his time at Clemson.

"You can definitely tell the difference," he said. "It's still the best guys out here, better than your typical college level. So you can tell the difference just the way the coaches are pushing you."

Wilkins showed off some of his personality on draft day, a trait that Flores believes will serve him well in the NFL. But he's not ready to call him a leader yet.

"Does he have the potential? Yeah, a lot of our guys have that type of potential," Flores said. "I'm not going to put that on this kid. I think he has a great personality. I think he's shown leadership in the past. Is it there? Yes. Do we expect him to be captain of this team this year? No."

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins douses himself with water from a Gatorade bottle during a break on the first day of the team's rookie minicamp, May 10, 2019, in Davie, Florida.

Wilkins said he plans to let his personality shine through, but only when appropriate.

"I'm definitely going to continue to be myself, but in the realms of when it's respectful," he said. "There's a time and a place for everything. I love to have a good time, I love to have fun with everything, but, also there's a time and a place. When it comes to this football stuff, you've got to be locked in. You've got to be focused."

For now, Flores said, learning the fundamental techniques is the most important takeaway from rookie camp.

"Right now he needs to learn the playbook, earn the respect of his teammates, go out here and set foot on the field, first and foremost, and we'll take it from there," Flores said.


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