It's early but rookies look good at Lions training camp so far
Just a little over a week into Lions training camp, here’s a look at the rookies, a few who have been stand-outs.
Some were drafted, others were signed as free agents. Positions like offensive tackle are a little tougher to judge until the preseason games. We’ll get our first look on Friday night at Ford Field against Cleveland.
The creation of a champion begins each April and while it’s early, it looks like Martin Mayhew made some quality choices.
— T Riley Reiff (first round, Iowa): At June’s minicamp offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said this guy will play early and often. He just didn’t say where. Through the start of camp, he’s taken reps at left and right tackle along with Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard. Teammates like him and his approach to the game. He’s got some great veterans like Jeff Backus to learn from. Bring on the preseason.
— WR Ryan Broyles (second round, Oklahoma): He’s making remarkable strides after coming off ACL surgery more than six months ago. As long as he stays healthy, look for him to contribute right away. While three receivers are ahead of him on the depth chart, Linehan likes to mix it up and rotate guys on and off the field. He’s not going to let a talent like Broyles wither away on the bench. Like the other rookies, the preseason games will be huge for Broyles.
— CB Bill Bentley (third round, Louisiana-Lafayette): He’s been one of the standouts of the rookie class so far. It’s not like he has an occasional good day at camp, for Bentley every day is a good day and he continues to improve. Perhaps a secret to his success, is when he gets beat by a receiver on a one-on-one drill, he’ll immediately ask the guy how he beat him. Speedy and athletic, he’s in the running to get the start at right cornerback. If not, he should be first in at nickelback. He’s played both positions with the starters every day in camp.
— DE Ronnell Lewis (fourth round, Oklahoma): The pass-rushing specialist had a slow start to camp with a tight back. Known as “The Hammer” in college, Lewis is best known for his special teams play. That’s probably the only way he’ll make the 53-man roster this year. He has competition in Lawrence Jackson and Willie Young for the backup defensive end roles. Both of them young but are more experienced and continue to improve.
— LB Tahir Whitehead (fifth round, Temple): So teammate Justin Durant said this guy is the “strongest dude he’s ever seen.” That should tell you something. There’s a four-way battle for a projected three backup spots at linebacker and it looks like Whitehead is making a strong case for one of them.
— CB Chris Greenwood (fifth round, Albion): We can only give him an incomplete. Greenwood underwent abdominal surgery after getting injured in Organized Team Activities and he hasn’t been cleared to participate in camp. They like this athlete and I don’t expect they have given up on him. He’s just getting off to a slow start due to the injury.
— CB Jonte Green (sixth round, New Mexico State): This corner hasn’t made an impact quite like Bentley. It is early in the process though.
— LB Travis Lewis (seventh round, Oklahoma) — Another Sooner, another good camp so far. Lewis, who led Oklahoma in tackles for four seasons, has had a solid camp. He’s in the mix for one of the three backup linebacker positions.
— WR Patrick Edwards (undrafted): He’s been one of the biggest surprises in camp, routinely makes quality catches. It’s going to be tough for him to make the 53-man roster because really there’s just one roster opening and several fighting for it including Mo Stovall, Dominique Curry, Lance Long, Nate Hughes and Terrence Tolliver — all who have experience. Edwards qualifies for the practice squad, but he may be too good for it.
— QB Kellen Moore (undrafted, Boise State): He doesn’t have the arm strength, but he’s got football smarts and during camp he seems to make the most of his limited chances, often moving the ball downfield. He’s gained a big fan in offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. He’s a coach’s son which is usually a great line to put on the resume. There’s a chance the Lions won’t keep three quarterbacks (remember Drew Stanton didn’t dress for a game all last year), but if they do it will be Moore. R.J. Archer, who plays arena ball, is strictly a camp quarterback.
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