Blogs > Lions Lowdown

One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Detroit Lions softball game to benefit Detroit Public Schools

Stephen Tulloch hates to lose in football and softball.

Since he moved to Detroit, the linebacker has hosted a Detroit Lions charity softball game with the offense playing the defense.

His team has never won.

“I’m not losing this year, I’ll promise you that. It’s a sick feeling walking in the grocery store and people asking you about the softball game,’’ Tulloch said. “I’m tired of losing.’’

Dominic Raiola, who will lead the offense, said it’s going to be tough for Tulloch to break his losing stretch.

The big game is set for June 7 at Ford Woods Park in Dearborn. The home run derby starts at 2 p.m. with the game to follow. 

Tulloch said about 30 Lions have committed to play. Other Detroit sports and media personalities will fill out the teams. 

“Hopefully we can trade some players from offense and get some guys on defense, obviously they have Calvin (Johnson), Golden Tate and Kris Durham so we’ve got to make a trade,’’ Tulloch said.

Raiola showed no indication of trading guys like Johnson and Tate who have both taken batting practice before a Tigers game at Comerica and blasted home runs.

Raiola is taking over for Nate Burleson who previously captained the offense. 

Burleson may show up at the game for old time’s sake, according to Raiola.

“It’s another way to bring the team together and raise money for a good cause, this year we’re raising money for Detroit Public Schools,’’ Tulloch said.

Admission is $10, with kids under 5 free.

More information is available at

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate fits in as he learns new system

Quietly Golden Tate, the free agent wide receiver signed in March, learns to fit with the Detroit Lions.

“He’s doing good. He’s a guy I think on Sundays is going to be a big-time player, he’s a gamer, a guy that is really good after he gets the ball in his hands, a catch-and-run guy,’’ quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “He, like everybody else, is learning the system, it’s new to him as well. ... 

“He’s got to learn and we’re moving him around quite a bit, his plate is full but he’s a guy who loves to practice, loves to play, loves being out here, that’s something you like,’’ Stafford added.

Tate is coming off a Super Bowl win with the Seattle Seahawks.

“It’s great to have that too — we have that swag on the team for him to bring some knowledge even though he hasn’t played long we can still learn from each other,’’ Calvin Johnson said.

Johnson had a message for Tate to take to the White House when he visited with the Seahawks last week.

“I told him to tell Obama I said, ‘What’s up?’’’ Johnson said.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions work on keeping it clean, safe during OTAs

When Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Sean Lee tore his ACL during OTAs this week, it caught the attention of everyone in the NFL.

The Detroit Lions are midway through their OTAs (organized team activities) in which no contact is allowed.

“For sure, we talked about it making sure we’re doing the best we can to take care of each other,’’ quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “This is a time of year where guys are full of energy, trying to make plays, trying to impress coaches and all that kind of stuff. You’ve got to make sure at the same time we’re taking care of each other and learning as we go.’’

Stafford said the coaches talk about it every day.

It’s up to the veteran leaders to make sure the rookies and others trying to make the roster don’t get too fired up and make contact when they shouldn’t.

The simplest way to make sure everyone is safe?

“Stay off the ground,’’ Dominic Raiola said.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell on death of Maya Angelou

ALLEN PARK — Maya Angelou was a professor at Wake Forest when Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell was the head football coach there from 1993-2000. Angelou died on Wednesday at the age of 86.

The Lions released a statement from Caldwell on Angelou:

“She was extremely impactful. You look at just the body of her work and what a difference that made for our society from a cultural standpoint, and from a social standpoint as well. She influenced a number of students and folks, like myself, who worked there at the university, who had the great fortune of coming into contact with her.

 “She invited me to her home and she had a reception for me to get to know people within the community. She was on the faculty there for many years and one of the beloved literary giants in our lifetime.”

Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford impress OC Joe Lombardi

ALLEN PARK — After five days of OTAs, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has a few thoughts on quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Lombardi spoke with the media after Wednesday’s session.

On Johnson: ‘You have to be careful not to be a fan when you’re watching him. It’s really unbelievable when you see him in person just how big and strong and fast he is. It’s even moreso than you thought. It’s impressive.’’

On Stafford: “He’s really remarkably bright. I’ve heard that he’s a smart player, but the speed and ease with which he picks things up has even surprised me and I had pretty high expectations. I think he’s doing really well.

On Stafford and the offense progression: “I think it’s dependent on all the players on offense. We kind of start off with a pretty high volume of information that we gave them —  probably a little too much. We’re drawing back a little bit, but certainly Matt can handle as much as you can give him.’’

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions' offense 'sloppy,' drops an issue in OTAs

ALLEN PARK — Remember it is May.

During the Detroit Lions’ OTAs today (Wednesday), the defense was clearly ahead of the offense. That is not unusual this time of year.

The issue, though, was familiar — drops.

“Today was a little sloppy, I’m not going to lie to you. I was getting a little angry today, mostly the drops and some of the alignments were not what you want,’’ offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said. “It was really a concentration issue more than anything. I’m pretty excited about these players we have and the way this thing is going to develop.’’

He understands this was an issue in the 2013 season for the Lions even though he was the New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach.

Lombardi also can pinpoint a few reasons for so many drops in Wednesday’s practice and sees the situation improving.

“I think it’s always a concern, but I do think there’s good hands here so it’s really a matter of concentration and getting these guys the reps,’’ Lombardi said. “And a lot of it is getting their comfort level down, they’re still learning the offense and so they’re thinking where do I line up? What’s the depth of my route? When they get more comfortable their concentration will come up a little bit and they’ll catch the ball better because they do have good hands.’’

Wednesday was the fifth of 10 organized team activities allowed by the NFL collective bargaining agreement. The Lions will have one Thursday, four next week and then have a mandatory minicamp June 10-12.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Check out transcript of chat discussing Detroit Lions

If you missed today's live chat discussing the Detroit Lions' OTAs, check out the transcript here. Much discussion on the rookies and various competition battles already shaping up. Join me at 3 p.m., next Thursday (June 5) for the next chat. It's always fun

Detroit Lions - Ihedigbo, Tapp, Vaughn could provide boost on defense

OK, several folks have asked me the same question: Will the Detroit Lions sign free agents to fill in the holes on the defense?

My answer: They already have.

With Martin Mayhew no roster is set in stone. At any point in the offseason or during the season if he gets a chance to upgrade a position, he’ll make the move.

He signed three defensive players as free agents this spring who not only have a good shot at making the 53-man roster — at least one of them could be a starter.

If you haven’t been paying attention, here are the Lions three key defensive signings so far:

1. Safety James Ihedigbo (in photo) is penciled in (at least by me) as a starter along with Glover Quin. He’ll replace Louis Delmas who was signed by the Miami Dolphins.  Ihedigbo played for Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin for the Baltimore Ravens the past two seasons. Austin was the secondary coach and obviously knows Ihedigbo well. In fact they both earned Super Bowl rings while there. Ihedigbo, 30, started all 16 games for the Ravens in 2013 with three interceptions, 11 pass defenses, two forced fumbles and 101 tackles. It was the first time in his six-year NFL career that he started 16 games. He’s a natural leader, couldn’t be happier to be reunited with Austin. Watch him.

2. Defensive end Darryl Tapp, 29,  has a history with Austin that goes way back to when they were in Seattle in 2006 — Tapp was a rookie and Austin was the defensive backs coach. Tapp was with the Washington Redskins in 2013, the only season he lined up as a linebacker playing in a 3-4 defensive scheme. He’s happy to be back to the 4-3 and back with Austin. His numbers were down in 2013 because he was playing an unfamiliar position. In three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (2010-2012) he had six interceptions. Look for him to rotate in along the defensive line and play on special teams.

3. Cornerback Cassius Vaughn, 26, doesn’t have an Austin connection but he’s young and durable. He played in all 16 games each of the last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, getting 15 starts in that span with four interceptions and 15 pass defenses. He’ll compete for time at cornerback and   he also has extensive experience on special teams. In the OTA that was open to the media last week, Vaughn was a standout on defense. Oddly enough in November 2012 he was fined for a late hit on then-Dolphins running back Reggie Bush. 

So there you go. The defense, which ranked in the middle of the pack in the NFL in 2013, has been addressed in the draft and free agency.

Perhaps Ihedigbo, Tapp and Vaughn are not flashy NFL names, but they could be contributors this season.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions CB Cassius Vaughn impresses early

No doubt the Detroit Lions are depending on three young cornerbacks — Jonte Green, Bill Bentley and Chris Greenwood — to come through this season. All were drafted in 2012. General manager Martin Mayhew said during draft week that if a corner doesn’t “get it” in three years, he never will.

The Lions also drafted Nevin Lawson in the fourth round.

All fine and good.

Just don’t leave Cassius Vaughn out of the Lions’ cornerback discussion. Vaughn, 26, was signed as a free agent this spring.

He was a standout at the OTAs on Wednesday.

“At this point in time, he’s been here with us for a while,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s a guy that loves to play and he loves to tell you about it once in a while as he’s playing. But nevertheless, he’s a guy that’s working extremely hard trying to win a spot on this team. He does bring some energy.”

Vaughn, who was with the Indianapolis Colts the last two seasons, played in all 16 games each year and had four starts in 2013 and 11 starts in 2012.

Last year he had three interceptions six pass defenses and a forced fumbles with 27 tackles.

Darius Slay and Chris Houston (if he's recovered from toe surgery) are expected to start with Rashean Mathis possibly the first corner off the bench.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions Jim Caldwell says fans not shy about giving advice

It hasn’t taken long for Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell to get to know the diehard, ever-patient Lions’ fans and their passion for the team.

“It’s Intense, it’s honest and it’s straight-forward,’’ Caldwell said. “You find that about all the fans, I think that’s what you find in the MIdwest anyway. They’re good honest people that usually shoot pretty straight with you and they don’t beat around the bush, so that’s been fun.’’

While he wasn’t specific he may have heard a word or two about the fact the Lions have won just one playoff game since 1957. 

The fans may have also mentioned the collapse at the end of last season.

“They’re going to tell you what’s on their mind about any and everything from the draft to what they think from an offensive structure, defensive structure, where you went wrong, the history and what to do and what not to do. You get everything,’’ Caldwell smiled.

He was hired to change history. He knows that and seems to embrace it.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions - Jim Caldwell buys dinner, gets to know his players better

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell has found a way — an expensive way — to discover Detroit’s best restaurants and to get to know his players better at the same time.

Caldwell has begun the pleasant task of taking each of the position groups out to dinner. So far the offensive line and linebackers have dined with the coach.

“For me it’s a chance to know them in a little different sort of atmosphere,’’ Caldwell said. “You find out some interesting things in the conversation and that’s been fun.’’

The group picks the restaurant and Caldwell picks up the tab.

Dollar limit? 

”That would be no fun, that’s not taking someone to dinner, what kind of dinner is that?’’ Caldwell said.

The Lions wrapped up their first three sessions of OTAs on Thursday. They’ll have three more next week starting on Tuesday.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush's take on Ndamukong Suh

ALLEN PARK — Ndamukong Suh returned to the Lions this week for the OTA portion of the offseason workouts. He had not participated since they started on April 7.

The Detroit Lions defensive tackle had been widely criticized for missing the voluntary workouts especially because there was a new coaching staff and a new defense being installed.

Veteran running back Reggie Bush was asked on Wednesday if too much was made of Suh’s absence.

This was his reply: “Obviously he’s a great player, when you’re a good player you’re going to be in the spotlight. When you make the kind of money he does and then the productivity he brings to the game, the spotlight is going to be on you. So the little things are going to be magnified even bigger. So I don’t think anybody is surprised about it, we’re all grown men, we’re all adults, we understand it, we understand the way it works. You have to take it with a grain of salt, you have to understand it. When he’s here, he’s here. There’s nothing we can do about it.’’


(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh said he could have gone elsewhere when he was drafted

ALLEN PARK — Ndamukong Suh had a chance end the noise about his absence for the first several week of offseason workouts on Wednesday.

Instead he opened a new can of worms.

The Detroit Lions defensive tackle, who is signed through 2014, said he wants to return to Detroit. The Lions and his agent are working on an extension.

He said he wouldn’t have had to come to Detroit when he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2010.

“Probably a lot of you guys don’t know, I could have gone elsewhere when I was drafted. Had that decision in my hands. I chose not to take it because that’s just the way I saw it,’’ Suh said after OTAs on Wednesday.

Jaws dropped.

He was asked to clarify.

"There’s many ways to do things. You can drop down in the draft, you can move up,’’ Suh said. “It is my choice. It is for sure, my choice. But like I said, that’s water under the bridge. I’m here in Detroit, I’m happy to be here in Detroit."

A request has been made for a comment by general manager Martin Mayhew.

Suh said he heard the criticism about his absence, but said this has been his timetable every season.

“Consistency I always go back home I’ve been doing it for I don’t know how long since I’ve been in the league,’’ Suh said. “I’ve been in a great program one that’s dialed in for me and what’s best for my body to have longevity which has been proven I haven’t missed many games if any at all.’’

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions move TE Michael Williams to offensive tackle

ALLEN PARK — Michael Williams, the tight end drafted by the Lions in the seventh round out of Alabama in 2013, has made the move to offensive tackle.

This isn’t a surprise. Williams, who is 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, was on injured reserve last season following a broken hand. He will now wear No. 73.

This leaves the Lions with five tight ends — Brandon Pettigrew, rookie Eric Ebron, Joe Fauria, rookie Jacob Maxwell and Jordan Thompson.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Check out transcript of chat on Detroit Lions

If you missed Thursday's chat on the Lions as they start OTAs, then check out the transcript here. Plenty of discussion on the defense and how new guys are fitting in. And, of course, a little bit about Ndamukong Suh. Join me at 3 p.m., Thursday, May 29 for the next chat. Enjoy ...


Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh returns, Nick Fairley has 'procedure'

DETROIT — What is it with Detroit Lions defensive tackles?

On Tuesday, the day that Ndamukong Suh showed up for the first day of OTAs (organized team activities), Nick Fairley was absent.

“He’s got a medical issue to deal with,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said about Fairley at Tuesday night’s Taste of the Lions event at Ford Field.

Caldwell said he wasn’t certain if Fairley would return this week.

He didn’t give any other specifics except saying that “he had a procedure.’’

Suh missed all of the voluntary workouts for the team since they reported on April 7. He was working with his own trainers.

“It was great to have him there,’’ Caldwell said. “As you anticipate he’s in impeccable shape and ready to go.’’

Caldwell said Suh did not address the team on his return.

“I’m not certain why he would do that, I don’t understand why that would come up as an issue,’’ Caldwell said. “He didn’t do anything wrong, it’s all voluntary.’’

Tuesday was the first of 10 OTAs allowed under the current contract. They continue this week on Wednesday and Thursday.

“It’s a great time for us because we finally have an opportunity to get on the field —10 opportunities against one another,’’ Caldwell said. “We had a bit of advantage because we had the voluntary minicamp where we could spar against each other. Now we get to do it more extensively.’’

The Lions were allowed an extra minicamp because they have a new head coach.

Caldwell, his coaching staff and all of the players participated in the Taste of the Lions. Lem Barney, Herman Moore, Luther Ellis, Jason Hanson and Mike Utley were a few of the former Lions on hand.

All the proceeds from the event go to Eastern Market. It was the second year for the Taste event and estimates were that attendance doubled over last year.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions Dominic Raiola expects Ndamukong Suh at OTAs

DETROIT — Lions center Dominic Raiola said he’s been in touch with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh who told him he would be at the OTAs which start on Tuesday.

Raiola was speaking at an event with Bernie Smilovitz at the MGM Grand Detroit on Monday night.

The center said he thought too much had been made of Suh’s absence in voluntary workouts so far this season. Suh missed the voluntary minicamp and the workouts which started on April 7.

He said he knows Suh will show up in shape, saying he’ll look like “Adonis.’’

The voluntary OTAs (organized team activities) start on Tuesday.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions - Five things learned at rookie minicamp

The Detroit Lions wrapped up a three-day rookie minicamp on Sunday. 

Here are five things we learned:

1. Eric Ebron looks to be a good fit. He knows as a first-round pick he’s expected to be a leader and he is all good with that. “You can just tell, it’s a vibe you get that everybody looks for you to say something, to do,’’ Ebron said. “You just have to stay confident in your abilities, if you always do the right things then they’ll follow through too.’’

2. When you see Caraun Reid in person, only one thought crosses your mind — he’s got a body built for defensive tackle. He may be a fifth-round pick from Princeton, but don’t see him so much as a project as a guy who can rotate in. Of course it’s early and they’re not in pads.

3. Kyle Van Noy seems wiser than his year. The outside linebacker will also be a pass-rushing defensive end. Lots to learn, but no sweat. He said one of the hardest things so far is learning to manage his time wisely between studying film and working out. “Just doing the little things right all the time,’’ Van Noy said.

4. Overall the draft class seems impressive. Coach Jim Caldwell said it was an "outstanding" minicamp.They seemed to be leaders on the field and were fine at the podium talking to the media. A few were more comfortable than others, but no one made any major errors.

5. Hidden gems at rookie camp? Among the 23 tryout players, there could have been a dozen of them, but coach Jim Caldwell just opened each day up to the media for 20 minutes. During that time they were working on individual drills so it’s hard to judge. 

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh expected to attend OTAs

ALLEN PARK — Coach Jim Caldwell expects Ndamukong Suh to be in attendance on Tuesday when the Detroit Lions start their OTAs (organized team activities).

“Do I know he’ll be here? I would anticipate he will be here,’’ Caldwell said on Sunday wrapping up the final day of the three-day rookie minicamp.

Suh has not been in attendance at the Detroit Lions practice facility since offseason workouts started on April 7.

While he is working out on his own, he has missed the early installation of the new defense by the new coaching staff.

“Obviously he’s a great player and he’s also got great leadership ability as well,’’ Caldwell said. “To have him back here working amongst the group is going to be a great time for everybody.’’

The other team leaders have been in attendance so far, but Caldwell doesn’t seem to think that’s an issue with Suh.

“I’ve been a few places and I can cite you so many different examples of guys who maybe weren’t here in the time period that did a tremendous job in terms of leadership,’’ Caldwell said. “I don’t expect him to be any different.’’

Other than Suh, attendance at the voluntary sessions have been solid.

“We anticipate much like the rest of our OTAs — we’ve had unbelievable participation and we anticipating it’s going to be the same,’’ Caldwell said. “I think you’ll see we’ll have a great group here ready to work and we’ll find a way to get better.’’

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions kick off rookie minicamp

ALLEN PARK — A few nerves were on display Friday afternoon as the Detroit Lions started their three-day rookie minicamp.

The rookies were still getting used to the drills on the outside field where the temperature hovered around 50 degrees.

Since the media was allowed to watch just 20 minutes it was difficult to draw any conclusions.

Tight end Eric Ebron, first-round pick from North Carolina, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy, second-round pick from BYU, seemed to look comfortable during the drills.

The minicamp continues Saturday afternoon and wraps up on Sunday.

Along with the draft picks and undrafted free agents who signed, there were 23 tryouts including five from Michigan colleges: Shamari Benton from Central Michigan, quarterback Jonathan Jennings from Saginaw Valley State, defensive end Kalonji Kashama from Eastern Michigan, tackle Jake Olson from Central Michigan and Brett Pasche from Hillsdale. 

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions sign Caraun Reid, fifth-round defensive tackle from Princeton

Caraun Reid, the Detroit Lions fifth-round pick, has signed a four-year deal. His agent Mike McCartney announced that a deal was complete on Twitter.

He’s the first of the eight Lions’ draft picks to sign.

Reid, a 301-pound defensive tackle from Princeton, could compete for a job to back up Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley this season.

Reid is expected to participate in the Lions’ three-day rookie minicamp which starts on Friday.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions: Five players to watch at rookie minicamp

The Detroit Lions rookie minicamp starts on Friday with draft picks, undrafted rookie free agents and a few invitees. It’s not open to the public, but the media will be allowed to watch the early portion each day.

Here are five players I’ll be watching:

1. It appears tight end Eric Ebron (North Carolina) can handle the pressure of being a first-round pick. At least he was totally comfortable meeting the media the day after he was drafted. He’ll be catching passes from ...

2. Quarterback James Franklin (Missouri), who was signed as an undrafted free agent, threw for 6,962 yards and rushed for 1,729 yards in his career at Missouri. This is only the start, but he could be in competition for Kellen Moore for the No. 3 quarterback role.

3. Kyle Van Noy, the second-round pick from BYU, has a legitimate shot to the Lions’ rookie of the year. Will be interesting to see how he looks in linebacker drills.

4. Curious to see T.J. Jones, the sixth-round pick from Notre Dame. It’s a bit easier to watch wide receivers at camps like this than say defensive or offensive linemen since they’re not allowed to wear pads. 

5. Cornerback Nevin Lawson, the fourth-round pick from Utah State, will get a chance to show his matchup ability during drills. He was the only defensive back drafted by the Lions and will have a chance to make the 53-man roster.

 Starting on Tuesday the rookies will participate in OTAs (organized team activities) with the veterans. The mandatory minicamp June 10-12 will also mix both rookies and veterans. It will be the last practice until training camp starts in late July.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter for reports from rookie minicamp. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Check out transcript of chat on Detroit Lions' draft

If you missed the live chat today (Thursday) on the Detroit Lions' draft, check out the transcript here. Spent time on the draft picks and who the gems might be from the undrafted rookie free agents. Join in on the next chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 22.


Detroit Lions sign 11 undrafted rookies; release eight

The Lions signed 11 undrafted rookie free agents on Monday including quarterback James Franklin (in photo).

To make room on the roster they released eight players including wide receiver Cody Wilson (Central Michigan, Rochester Adams).

A year ago two of the undrafted rookies signed by the Lions made the 53-man roster — tight end Joe Fauria and right guard LaAdrian Waddle.

The 11 signed Monday:
— QB James Franklin (6-2, 230), Missouri: He threw for 6,962 yards and rushed for 1,729 yards.
— Tackle Cornelius Lucas (6-9,328), Kansas State: He started at left tackle his last two seasons.
— Wide receiver Andrew Peacock (5-10, 190), Appalachian State: He’s App State’s all-time leader with 208 career catches and is fifth in school history with 2,108 receiving yards.
— Cornerback Mohammed Seisay (6-2, 200), Nebraska: Played in nickel and dime packages.
—  Safety Gabe Lynn (6-0, 204), Oklahoma:  Started all 13 games as senior and 10 as a junior.
—  Fullback Chad Abram (6-0, 229), Florida State: Claim to fame an 110-yard touchdown in BCS National Championship game.
— Guard Alex Bullard (6-2, 302), Tennessee: Started 10 games at left guard.
— Guard D.J. Morrell (6-6, 325), Old Dominion: Started 25 games at guard and at tackle.
— Outside linebacker Justin Jackson (6-1, 230), Wake Forest: In career had 196 tackles and 20.5 tackles for loss.
— Tight end Jacob Maxwell (6-4, 240), Louisiana Lafayette:  Had six touchdowns in last two seasons.
— Safety Jerome Couplin (6-2, 215), William and Mary: Three-year starter with 257 total tackles (158 solo).

The cuts included Wilson, cornerback Nate Ness, safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, tight end Matt Veldman, kicker John Potter, wide receiver Carlin Isles, linebacker Jon Morgan and center Sherman Carter.

A three-day rookie camp starts on Friday.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions - How the 8 draft picks will fit in

A quick look at the eight players drafted by the Detroit Lions and how they are expected to fit in:

1. Tight end Eric Ebron is an immediate starter who will complement Brandon Pettigrew and Joe Fauria. 
Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi: “He is going to line up all over the place and you are going to have to find him. That’s kind of one of our goals in not wanting to be predictable for defenses. We don’t want them to say, ‘Calvin (Johnson) is always here, we know how to deal with it.’ You just want to keep mixing it up so the defense can never really hone in on what your plan is.”  

2. Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy will have a limited role as a starter according to Martin Mayhew. That means he’s likely to play the strong outside linebacker spot. 
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin: “When you look at being able to pressure from different parts of your defense and not wanting to be static, you have to have some backers that have to ability to rush. I think that is what he does. He gives us that ability. He can drop in coverage, he can rush. When you put him on the field you can’t just say he is going to rush every time, that’s not going to be him and he gives us flexibility that way.”

3. Offensive lineman Travis Swanson played center at Arkansas but at training camp will learn to play guard. He’s seen as a possible successor to center Dominic Raiola.
Offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn: “We have to get him on campus first to evaluate what he can do for us. That is a positive for him. He played guard at the Senior Bowl ... He was a center for 50 games at Arkansas, but he does profile as a guy that can play guard. I don’t know yet, but that will get narrowed down when he gets on campus.”

4. Cornerback Nevin Lawson will compete to see time at cornerback and is expected to step in on special teams. Chris Houston and Darius Slay can be penciled in as starters, but there’s definitely going to be competition at cornerback.
General manager Martin Mayhew (a former NFL cornerback): “You put the tape on, this kid can run. He’s fast. His play speed is faster than his time speed in the 40 at the combine. He’s very productive, solid in man-to-man coverage, very scrappy. (He is) a very competitive kid. When you watch him, he is the kind of corner that I like.’’

5. Defensive end Larry Webster played at Bloomsburg so will have catching up to do to play at NFL level.
Mayhew: “Just a really, really athletic guy, great combine numbers, great workout numbers. (He is) very raw. He obviously played some tight end. He’s going to be a defensive end for us. ... He’ll be a bigger, more-physical, Jason Jones-type of guy, you know.’’

6. Defensive tackle Caraun Reid could land on the practice squad just because he played at Princeton and needs to bulk up — he’s 6-foot-2, 302 pounds. 
Mayhew: “We felt great about him as a football player. He has some development he can do (from the) Ivy League. He’ll be in an NFL program now, NFL training table. We’re looking forward to having him on our team and developing him.’’

7. Wide receiver T.J. Jones (in photo) could slide into the 53-man roster with a good training camp to beat out the many other wide receiver candidates. He was a playmaker at Notre Dame who converted a lot of third downs and was a go-to guy in the red zone.
Mayhew: “This is a guy, you know, he’s probably going to be, and you can talk to the coaches, I like him as a slot guy running routes, getting separation. I thought he had really good hands and ran really nice routes, really crisp routes.’’

8. Kicker Nate Freese will compete with two young kickers already on the roster. He played four years outdoors at Boston College which should prepare him for Chicago, Green Bay and Minnesota (the next two years).
Mayhew: “He didn’t miss a field goal last year. I think he missed two in 2012 I think, but a very accurate guy. (He is) very consistent, and I visited with him when he came here for his visit. He was not invited to the combine, so we brought him here for a physical. We talked about him in the sixth round and we decided to wait. He was still there in the seventh, so we’re glad that we got him.”

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)