This is the third part in a series of four involving training camp awards. Today, I'm taking a look at a player who I'd consider the biggest "surprise" of camp -- one who either wasn't expected to do much of anything, or was suddenly thrust into a starting role, but has come on really strong.
Training Camp "Surprise" - RG Shawn Lauvao
Last year, we were worried about the right side of our offensive line. Compared to the left side of the line and the center positions, the right side of the line lacked youth. Floyd Womack played well, but we couldn't use him as a "temporary" replacement forever.
Shawn Lauvao was a pretty high draft pick last year but never saw significant playing time. I was surprised that he was handed the starting right guard position before training camp even began under new head coach Pat Shurmur. Even when John Greco or Billy Yates (not retired) were brought in, there weren't any rumors about Lauvao losing his spot to them.
Lauvao has responded with a solid camp and a good preseason to this point. It's tough to say where he is on the talent scale when comparing him to the rest of our linemen, but I'm glad that we'll finally have someone on the right side of the line who could be here for many years. He has had the task of going up against first-round pick Phil Taylor in camp. The thing I like about Lauvao is that even on plays where it looks like the defender starts to get the upper hand, Lauvao holds his ground and finishes the play to the end.
- WR Jordan Norwood - After a good camp last year, Norwood has taken full advantage of Mohamed Massaquoi being out by catching everything thrown his way, being very shifty, and looking comfortable at fielding punts.
- CB James Dockery - The undrafted free agent has made quite the impression and has been used for versatility -- at cornerback, safety, special teams, and on kickoff returns. I wouldn't say he has a roster spot locked up, but he has a good chance at making it.