Don’t look now but that 2014 Detroit Lions draft class is starting to look quite impressive. It could produce three starters this season — tight end Eric Ebron, center Travis Swanson and possibly defensive tackle Caraun Reid.
When coach Jim Caldwell was asked on Thursday about the impressive physical development of Reid, he talked him up big-time, but he also mentioned a few others.
“Kyle Van Noy’s healthy, a young that’s coming along. If you look at what kind of jump that Larry Webster has made physically from the time that he came in as a rookie until now, you’d be amazed. I mean, he’s packed on a lot of muscle, he improved in terms of his speed and power,’’ Caldwell said. “So, there’s a lot of guys I think that fit within that category. I can probably go up and down our roster and point out different individuals that fall under that category.’’
Van Noy, a pass-rushing specialist, was a second-round pick who was injured during the preseason. He played mostly special teams when he came back for the final eight games.
Webster was considered a bit of a project when drafted in the fourth round out of Bloomsburg. He was a basketball player who had played only two years of college football.
He made the 53-man roster, but was only activated for two games and then didn’t see playing time. Still he impressed coaches during practices last season and now even more. It's likely Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones will start at defensive end, but Webster has a good shot at being in the rotation.
Also from the 2014 draft class, wide receiver TJ Jones, a sixth-round pick, had a solid week of minicamp and could be in a battle for a wide receiver position.
Cornerback Nevin Lawson, a fourth-round pick, is coming off a severe foot injury and hasn’t been able to do much yet. He was impressive as a rookie briefly before his injury in the second regular season game.
If seven of the eight picks from the 2014 draft make the 53-man roster, general manager Martin Mayhew deserves much credit.
The only member of that draft class no longer with the team is kicker Nate Freese who was the seventh-round pick. He was cut early last season.
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