Detroit Lions bootcamp notes: 5 ascendants, 2 riders after first 2 practices

It’s still too early to say whether any fights will be won or lost at the Detroit Lions camp. Not only have the pads not yet appeared, but with practices still barely over 90 minutes long — and most of that time spent on touring rounds or special teams — any sort of blanket conclusions about the 2022 Detroit Lions would be very premature.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t glean some early notes from which players seem to be on an upward trend and which players have their work cut out for after two mediocre practices.

So let’s check out some of the players who made an impression – either way – after the team’s first two sessions at Allen Park.

Heading Up: Aidan Hutchinson

In the spring, Hutchinson was mostly working with the second and third teams, but the Lions aren’t messing around now that he’s started training camp. On Wednesday, he was essentially splitting time with Julian Okwara on the edge, and on Thursday, Hutchinson was almost exclusively with the first team.

And look at the part. During Wednesday’s training, he had at least two potential sacks, and in another rep, he had a full defensive slate calling for Taylor Decker to be caught after a clean win.

Heading Down: Julian Okwara

It was only a matter of time before Hutchinson passed him on the depth chart, and his placement here doesn’t mean his roster site might be in jeopardy. It’s still a one-of-a-kind piece that can dash passers-by and fall in coverage very well. But when coach Dan Campbell had the opportunity to praise Okwara ahead of Thursday’s training, it looked more like a public challenge.

“He’s a good athlete, but that’s where we really feel it starts for him. That’s where he has to really excel and then in the meantime, we’re at the base, he should be able to improve in line-back Sam, taking In mind blocks and attacking the ocean, surely rushing off when we ask him to go.”

Adding later:

“Look, he took steps last year. He made strides, and he has to do it again this year. He knows it and if he can take another step, another step like he did last year, we’ll be on the right track. He’ll be on the right track and help us.” “.

Campbell clearly expects more from Okwara, and he has a month to prove he’s taken that extra step.

Heading Up: Will Harris

Compare what Campbell said about Okwara to what he said about Harris.

“Because he’s big, he’s strong, he’s physical, he can run, he has a chance. And you tell him to go out there and compete, hit a guy and play technical, he’s so good. And so, we just — sometimes when you take a little bit of a guy’s plate, he can The guy is really growing. In the meantime, now that he’s playing with the nickel, he’s playing it safe, and now if he can take the corner and get better. Oh man, you have a versatile guy. He’s a jack of all trades and can now play in multiple positions at the helm of special teams when Entering the game, that’s an asset.”

Harris’ move to Cornerback is no longer an experience, it’s set in stone. He’s improved as last season has gone on, and he appears to be playing a full part in the camp. He was able to take over and keep the majority of first-team representatives from Jeff Okuda. Harris’ love of the competitive nature of the center back is evident in his aggressive style of play.

“Being on the island, man, there’s nothing else like it,” Harris said after Thursday’s practice. “There’s nothing else like it. Just the adrenaline you get… I don’t know, I’m a competitor, man, so I just get upset just being there.”

Heading Up: JoJo Hughes

With high school getting mixed up, Hughes was playing with the second team’s defense. Granted, the Lions are taking it slow with the likes of Ifeatu Melifonwu and rookie Kerby Joseph, alongside CJ Moore currently on the Non-Football Injury roster, but Hughes seems comfortable in his role as Tracy Walker’s primary backup.

It’s easy to forget that not only is this Houzz’s third year, but he caught the attention of Brad Holmes in Los Angeles as an untrained freelancer when Holmes headed the scouting department at Rams College.

Hughes even got some first-team reps in the spring, so this wasn’t a fluke for a couple of days. He’s someone to watch when pads pop up.

Heading Down: Offensive Rhythm

I know people are probably going to freak out about this, so let me explain myself.

One of the goals of this casual attack was to get into the line faster and use a lot of movement before the snap to keep the defense on its toes. Obviously those are goals they keep emphasizing, but on Thursday they had to scale back that a little bit. On at least three different occasions after breaking the offense, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson blew his whistle before the snap to make the team rally again due to a foul.

This is not all that is out of the ordinary early in the camp for a new offense and a new philosophy. But it serves as an important reminder that much of this is new. The Lions have more talent on the offensive side of the ball, but if you think they’re going to come out in the first week like a well-oiled machine, it’s worth remembering that new systems rarely look quite so perfect. can.

Heading Up: Craig Reynolds

Reynolds has consistently acted as the third comeback on the depth chart, and as Eric Schlett noted in his second day notes, he was also first in the all-important rebounding role on special teams.

Given that Reynolds seemed to be the strongest backup runner behind D’Andre Swift and Jamal Williams, that’s not exactly a surprise. But with Godwin Eguibweike struggling to get back on the job with Trinity Benson, Germar Jefferson taking over the belated delegates, and Greg Bell suffering from what appeared to be a very serious injury, Reynolds looks like a RB3 player.

Heading up: Austin Bryant

In my bootcamp preview podcast, I noted that Austin Bryant would need a quick start to camp. With Romeo Okwara, Josh Paschal, and Natriz Patrick sidelined, Bryant is going to have a lot of early casting with the second team, and that’s exactly what has happened so far. He hit at least one “sack” in both the team’s first and second practice and was always a source of background turmoil.

He still had a long way to go for a spot in Detroit’s suddenly crowded defender room, but this was as good a start as he had hoped.

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