Whatever you want to call them, organized team activities, OTAs or minicamps, they start this week. Minicamps aren't quite as pointless as some in the media purport. While it's true no jobs will probably be won in shorts during May, they carry some validity. Coaches won't be there, but they'll be watching videotape replays of the practices.
Matt Bowen of National Football Post has an excellent breakdown of the value of minicamps here. At minicamps, rookies will get their first feel for the speed of the NFL. Players will also get to implement their playbook. Don't forget, this couldn't happen last year during labor talks.
It's true, minicamps will be overblown, but there will be some rookie-based storylines to follow. Chief among them is how this year's first-round quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden) build their timing with their wide receivers. Tannehill and Weeden aren't assured of being starters as rookies, so this part of the offseason could be important to their development. Luck won't be in attendance at the Colts OTAs because of school.
Philadelphia's running back situation will be worth noting. LeSean McCoy, and his new contract, are obviously in place as the starter. Behind him, however, is almost nothing besides the running of Michael Vick. The Eagles have two rookies in seventh rounder Bryce Brown and UDFA Chris Polk who could become factors for their offense.
There will be a few things to watch with the Detroit Lions, the NFL's version of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Will the Lions force Riley Reiff into left tackle as a rookie while Jeff Backus comes back from a torn biceps? How does Mikel Leshoure fit into the offense after missing his rookie season?
In Seattle, we'll get a better indication of just how much Pete Carroll loves rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. In Baltimore, we'll get a feel for how NFL-ready Courtney Upshaw is and if he'll be able to lessen the loss of Terrell Suggs. We'll also get more looks at Peyton Manning in Denver, Tim Tebow in New York and Mario Williams in Buffalo.
Those are some of the storylines I'll be looking at this week. What will you be watching out for? Let us know in the comments.