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Detroit Lions training camp Day 14 roundup: Backups get a chance to shine

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A few veteran starters took rest in team drills, giving some of the players deeper on the roster an opportunity to impress.

NFL: Preseason-Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, rain forced the Detroit Lions back inside for their 14th day of practice in training camp. Tuesday marked their last practice before Thursday’s preseason game, and as training camp nears its end, so do the opportunities of depth players to make an impression with the coaches and general manager Martin Mayhew Bob Quinn. Tuesday presented a unique opportunity for players to outshine those above them on the depth chart. According to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, several starters, especially on defense, were given days of rest when team drills rolled around. Here’s how some of the backups looked on Tuesday.

Training camp observation sources:

Wide receiver

As stock on UDFA Jay Lee continues to fall, Quinshad Davis is a guy that could realistically make a play for the fifth roster spot. Davis is the only depth guy that can match Lee’s size (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) and he is impressing reporters with his skilled hands.

Rothstein:

The ball was a little low, but Davis, in stride, extended his arms down to make the catch and keep going while in traffic. He also showed his hands against air when he had two deep balls thrown at him 30 yards down field. He caught the first one. Then, while holding the ball, he snagged the second with one hand.

Meinke:

I think Davis, and not Jay Lee, is the rookie with the best chance to make the team at receiver right now

Birkett:

He continues to make plays in practice like he did Tuesday when he made a nice grab in the back of the end zone on a bullet of a pass from Dan Orlovsky.

Davis is a guy not a lot of people have been talking about, but he’s probably worth taking a closer look at during Thursday’s preseason game.

Center

It now appears Graham Glasgow is locked into the No. 2 spot at center, ahead of Gabe Ikard, but still behind Travis Swanson. In fact, according to Meinke, he’s still way behind Swanson. “I don't think he's seriously pushing for the starting job,” Meinke said in his camp recap. Jim Caldwell hasn’t been so forthright, but reading between the lines, he seems to be projecting the same message. “I think the big thing that he’s doing right now is he’s competing with himself first to make certain he understands everything that we’re doing,” Caldwell said after Tuesday’s practice. “Now, he’s doing well and he’s getting better, but we’ll see.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement from coach.

Defensive tackle

Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker sat out of team drills, per Meinke, so competition was fierce at the defensive tackle position on Tuesday. A’Shawn Robinson and Khyri Thornton teamed up for first-team reps, as did Thornton and Stefan Charles in a different series.

Thornton is a guy whose stock continues to rise. In our latest bubble predictions, seven of nine Pride Of Detroit staffers believed Thornton will make the final 53-man roster. Given how much the Lions appear to like this guy, it’s hard to argue against that right now. But Gabe Wright continues to neither be seen nor heard.

Defensive end

Tim Twentyman was high on defensive end Kerry Hyder during Tuesday’s practice. Hyder apparently made back-to-back plays that would have resulted in a loss of yards in practice. Still, Hyder has to be considered a longshot to make the team, even with his versatility between end and tackle. But if he can continue to make the most of his opportunities, there is a lot of time left before cut day.

Linebacker

Even though DeAndre Levy and Josh Bynes returned to practice on Tuesday, neither participated in team drills. That left Antwione Williams to man the weakside linebacker spot for the second day in a row. Williams reportedly played the position fairly well (“alright,” according to Twentyman), especially considering he had been getting reps exclusively at strongside linebacker prior to the Lions’ injury situation.

Additionally, Kyle Van Noy got some play in nickel formations alongside Tahir Whitehead. He had an up-and-down day there.

Birkett:

Van Noy got manhandled by Taylor Decker twice in a 9-on-7 run period as Decker was just too big and long. But Van Noy slipped a block by Cole Wick a play later to hold the edge in the run.

Cornerback

Darius Slay took some rest during team drills and it was Darrin Walls who stepped into his place. Walls has to be considered a near-lock to make the team at this point. He has impressed throughout camp and has climbed his way up from the bottom of the depth chart. There were a lot of questions whether the Lions had any depth beyond their starting corners, and Walls seems to have answered that question with a resounding yes.