With the start of training camp on Friday, the Detroit Lions are looking for big contributions from several of their draft picks. They expect more out of this draft class.
“We’ve miss some opportunities to have contributions from rookies, with injuries and things like that. We’ve drafted some good players that could’ve contributed more,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said Thursday morning.
“I would say this year is just as talented as a class and we will need contributions from those guys. They weren’t drafted to find their way or redshirt or things like that. They were drafted with very specific purpose in mind,’’ he added.
Look for Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, the first-round pick, to start at defensive end. Second-round pick cornerback Darius Slay has a chance to start at corner or nickel. Third-round pick guard Larry Warford will have some tough veteran competition at right guard. Punter Sam Martin, the fifth-round pick, has a good chance to beat out Blake Clingan. Wide receiver Corey Fuller is a bit of a wild card. Devin Taylor, fourth-round pick, could make it into the rotation at defensive end.
Undrafted rookie Joe Fauria, a tight end, certainly has a shot at the 53-man roster too.
“How well they do that will depend on where they are in training camp. I like where all those guys were at the end of OTAs and end of our minicamp. They all showed the reasons they were drafted and they’ve all shown they can help us,’’ Schwartz said.
“Training camp is about consistency, not flashing ability, it’s about being reliable, and it’s about being dependable,’’ the coach said. “They are something to the long grind of the training camp that will determine whether a guy is dependable and reliable. It is a lot easier to judge the guys who have been around for five or six years. They have a track record. Those guys have talent but they don’t have a track record and they need to establish that over the course of training camp.”