Ducasse Making Strides

Ducasse is raw but improving at guard.

UMass product Vald Ducasse is showing hints of the potential that made him a second round pick in this past April's NFL Draft.

Florham Park , NJ – Getting the skinny on a player as big as Vladimir Ducasse is a bit of an oxymoron, but the soft-spoken Jets' second round pick is making a big impression. Ducasse, a product of UMass and originally a native of Haiti , is running out with the first team during OTA drills, a positive sign for a player many thought might have a steep learning curve.

"He's doing well, he obviously has a lot of talent," guard Brandon Moore told GreenAndWhiteReport.com. "Obviously there is a learning curve for a rookie or for anyone on a new team, but he's adjusted well."

Ducasse has struggled at times in OTA sessions with his hands, frequently holding the defensive linemen in drills. His technique will need work, something that even his teammates quietly concede. Yet, he's showing an ability to use his size and frame well to leverage protection.

He also moves and pulls down the field very well, showing nimble feet. His athleticism was second to none with many insiders before April's NFL Draft saying that he might be the most athletic big man on anyone's board.

"I'm still improving, there is a lot of things for me to work on, little things," Ducasse said. "But the more reps I get, the more comfortable I feel and the more confident I get."

In terms of where he'd like to improve, Ducasse said that he mainly wants to work on his technique. The learning curve can be steep for a player coming from college to the NFL, let alone a player from 1-AA making the jump to Sundays. But Ducasse said that it is mainly adjusting to the speed and physicality of the players and not necessarily any scheme or playbook wrinkles.

"As long as I'm picking up my assignments and we're moving the ball, then I'm doing okay," Ducasse said.

While Moore was very complimentary of the progression and development Ducasse has shown over the past few weeks, another member of the Jets did have some advice for the player. Center Nick Mangold, who in OTA drills on Thursday had Ducasse to his left side, offered this tidbit to the rookie.

"Yeah, stop stepping on my toes," Mangold said with a laugh.

Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comments at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012 Kristian R. Dyer

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