Walton: 'The learning process continues'


Signed, sealed, delivered: For L.T. Walton, it's all about football now. Walton, the first of the Steelers two sixth round draft picks, signed a four-year deal on Friday, the first draft pick to sign.

"It's a good feeling to get it out of the way, get it signed and everything taken care of and get out here and be able to work and do what I am supposed to be doing," said Walton. "It's great to be able to just play football."

Walton has been doing that for the last three days, getting instruction and learning the ropes during the team's rookie minicamp. He played inside in a 4-3 defense at Central Michigan, so minicamp is his first opportunity to work in the Steelers' 3-4 defensive scheme.

"Coach (John) Mitchell is teaching me a bunch of different things," said Walton. "I played in a different defense in college, coming out here to this defense it's a lot of different terminology and technique. Technique is very important here. The learning process continues. I am out here having fun."

The learning process is one that moves at a fast pace in minicamp. It's from the classroom to the field without a lot of time to digest new plays.

"It's quick, but being a professional you have to be able to do those things," said Walton. "I feel like I have learned a lot since I have been here and I just want to continue to do that."

Pomp and circumstance: Linebacker Anthony Chickillo had every intention of being at the first two practices of Steelers rookie minicamp on Friday. But when Steelers personnel encouraged him to attend his graduation at the University of Miami that is exactly what he did.

Chickillo graduated on Friday afternoon, and arrived in Pittsburgh Friday night around midnight. He quickly turned from college graduate to NFL player when he took part in the rest of the team's rookie minicamp.

"It was awesome just to end one chapter and start a new one," said Chickillo. "It did mean a lot. You spend all of that time in college and it would be no use if you didn't get that degree. That speaks for what Coach (Mike) Tomlin and this organization is all about. They wanted me to go to graduation and spend that time with my family. I wasn't going to go to graduation, I was going to just be here for rookie minicamp. They wanted me to go.

"It was a good feeling. It was a better feeling knowing I was coming in here right after."

Receiving background an asset: Gerod Holliman, the safety out of Louisville selected in the seventh round, won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2014, presented to the top defensive back in college football. And it was well deserved.

Steelers' rookies take the field for Rookie Minicamp.

Holliman tied an NCAA record for most interceptions in a season with 14, and set a new ACC record. It was those ball-hawking skills that made him so attractive to the Steelers. 

"It's something I take pride in," said Holliman. "I am just coming out here to showcase my talent and be a part of organization.

"I was a receiver growing up, so being able to catch the ball is something I have always been good at. Being a defensive back and bringing that to the team is something new I can bring to the Steelers. It gives me an edge on receivers. A lot of guys run their routes the same and it's something I can pick up on easy."

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