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Detroit Lions camp observations: Ebron sits out with an injury

Friday's practice is officially in the books. Take a look at which players stood out, what an injured Eric Ebron was up to and much more with our live practice report.

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With another day in the books, the QB race remains the same. Jake Rudock is still behind Dan Orlovsky, receiving all of the third-team reps and appears to have by far the least velocity on his throws. You could tell during individual drills when the QBs were asked to roll out of the pocket and throw on the run that Rudock's throws were arriving later than his peers. I felt that Rudock also had another up and down practice from a performance standpoint. He had two near interceptions during 11-on-11 drills. One by Kyle Van Noy who got his fingertips on the ball, and another by Alex Carter after Rudock threw behind his receiver. Of course, Rudock is a rookie and this isn't exactly shocking news. You'd expect a sixth round rookie QB to have his fair share of struggles in his first training camp.

Since there isn't much of a competition here, not much has been said about Dan Orlovsky. I suppose the coaching staff likes to hang onto him because they know exactly what they're going to get out of every practice. He seems to perform no better and no worse than what we're accustomed to seeing.

Running backs

Once again, Ameer Abdullah was wearing a red "no contact" jersey, but looked like his normal, shifty self during run and pass drills. There's not much to report when you're not allowed to get hit or touched, so you'll just have to wait and see how he performs in the preseason to get any real answers.

Michael Burton; where to start? This man is an absolute beast. Any time I'm able to catch 1-on-1 drills where the RBs are involved, Burton is always the player that stands out most from this group. When defending the bag, he's consistently holding his blocks well, and when he's attacking the bag, he's constantly plowing throw his teammates.

Another day, another practice where Stevan Ridley impresses. He didn't fair too well as a blocker, but I continue to be surprised with how quick and fast he is. He even caught a few balls in team drills to showcase his skill set in the passing game.

Dwayne Washington did pretty well in blocking drills during Friday's practice. We know he can catch the ball, but if he can improve on his technique as a runner and continue to block well, then that will definitely increase his chances to at least make the practice squad this year.

George Winn is probably not going to make the team.

Wide receivers

I'm going to skip the top three guys today because there just isn't enough Kool-Aid to go around. The fourth and fifth WR spots are still completely up in the air, despite TJ Jones being the odds-on favorite to capture the No. 4 slot for now. We still have absolutely no idea who is going to fill out the final receiver slot. If I had to make a guess after attending three practices, my gut instinct is to pick Jay Lee, due to the fact that he fits what the Lions need most: a deep threat.

With that being said, Jay Lee had an okay practice with some good and bad moments. I've really been impressed with how much he's improved on his route running since college, but I also saw plenty of body catches, which is not a good habit considering he had drop issues coming out of Baylor.

Jace Billingsley is still a long shot to make the team, but he had his best play in camp so far, catching a contested throw from Rudock while beating DB Ian Wells on an out route that he turned up field for a big gain.

Damian Copeland is a fairly recent addition to the team, and is one of the quickest dudes you'll ever see on the field. In fact, he may even be too quick for his own good. I caught him running a corner route where he stumbled twice, albeit securing the ball in bounds. If the Lions become thin in the slot, he could be a guy that they keep on their watch list, but I don't expect him to make the team.

Training camp is all about making plays to show off your value. If you've ever watched Hard Knocks, you've probably heard coaches and/or players talking about making one big play a day. Jeremy Kerley is someone who I haven't seen make a single big play in three practices. He was hyped up quite a bit leading up to camp, but I'm not confident in his chances anymore. I'll be keeping an eye on him during preseason action to see if he can begin to step it up.

After an impressive showing during Thursday's practice, Andre Roberts got plenty of looks from Dan Orlovsky for the second practice in a row. I wasn't as impressed with him during Friday's practice, however. He ran a couple of sloppy routes during individual drills, but made up for it with a couple of nice catches during team drills. Not a particularly great showing, but not a bad practice for Roberts either.

Tight ends

Eric Ebron did not practice on Friday, but was spotted with a Honolulu Blue beach hat and still made a one-handed grab when a ball came his way. No word on what's bothering him yet, but I assume it's nothing to be overly concerned about.

Through three open practices, I don't think I've seen Cole Wick drop a ball yet. His most impressive play came during 11-on-11 drills where he absolutely torched Josh Bynes on either a go-route or a wheel route. That's a pretty bad sign for Bynes, considering Wick runs a 40-yard dash at about 4.9 flat.

None of the other TEs have really stood out in a positive light. Adam Fuehne is a monster of a man at 6-foot-7, but hasn't been given many reps, and when he does get some, he hasn't done a whole lot with them. Orson Charles is undersized, but seems quick with his routes. My guess is that the Lions will keep Ebron and Wick on the roster, and if Pettigrew is still hurt, then Matthew Mulligan may make the team for his blocking skills.

Offensive line

Riley Reiff had a particularly poor showing during Friday's practice. On back-to-back plays during 11-on-11s, he got beat by Devin Taylor for a speed rush -- probably for a sack -- and was pushed back into the QB after being overpowered by Tyrunn Walker on another play.

Working with the second-team offense for a second consecutive practice was Graham Glasgow. Joe Dahl (RG), Chase Farris (LG), Michael Ola (RT) and Cornelius Lucas (LT) made up the rest of the twos. Dahl went up against Stefan Charles during a few different reps, and both players got the best of each other at least once. Dahl was not as fortunate when going up against Gabe Wright, who beat him fairly easily with a quick swim move.

The two worst performances on the O-line go to Chase Farris and Luke Marquardt. With the third-team out there, Kerry Hyder put Marquardt on his back with a bull-rush, and that was only one of many plays where Marquardt took a bad rep. Farris is another long shot to make the roster and is noticeably the smallest guard on the Lions' roster.

I've been quite impressed with Taylor Decker so far, considering he's been thrown in as the starting left tackle as a rookie. I haven't seem him take that many bad reps and that is a huge plus moving forward. I was also impressed with Larry Warford's aggression, while Swanson held up okay on his assignments.

Defensive line

Tyrunn Walker has strength for days. I already mentioned how he was able to overpower a strong lineman like Riley Reiff, but that was just one of several plays where he displayed tremendous power. If he can develop another go-to move -- and stay healthy most of all -- he could turn into one of the better DTs in the NFL.

Wallace Gilberry has reportedly gotten plenty of looks with the first-team defense and today was the first day I actually saw him out there. With the lack of depth at DE, he's a near-lock to make the team and is getting a lot of action as a nickel pass rusher.

A'Shawn Robinson has been garnering a lot of attention from O-linemen with the twos and threes and has had some struggles when attempting to free himself from double-teams. I'm not too worried about that just yet because at the very least he'll pose as a facilitator and free his teammates to do the work for him.

Someone who really needed a solid performance is Gabe Wright, who is right on the cusp of the bubble as we speak. I thought he looked pretty good when working with the second-team defense. I'd say his stock could be on the rise if he keeps this up.

Rookie defensive end/tackle Anthony Zettel has been a ghost during open practices and I'm beginning to lean toward the notion that he will be a practice squad candidate come late-August. He doesn't appear to get any push in the passing game and has been getting swallowed up in the run game.

Deonte Gibson hasn't stood out a whole lot, but I did catch him getting his knee iced by a trainer right in front of me. It's a real bummer to see these guys fighting for a roster spot and having their practice end due to injury.


Nobody out there wants to get straight to hitting more than Tahir Whitehead and Antwione Williams. I've caught both of these guys laying down some soft hits as if they almost forgot that it wasn't allowed. Just wait until next Friday's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Whitehead is going to finally let all of that built up rage out and demolish someone.

Josh Bynes replaced Jon Bostic with the ones on Friday and had a few bad reps, but Bostic looked great with the twos. He had one play where he read the run perfectly and would have stuffed the ball carrier for no gain if it were a real game. With Levy out, this linebacker unit isn't exactly threatening, but it's an intriguing battle.

Defensive backs

Rafael Bush versus Golden Tate. That is not a matchup that Bush will ever want to see again, after tripping over his own feet and giving Tate an easy catch up the seam. Bush is going to struggle in coverage as a strong safety, but I'd like to think that he can't be much worse than James Ihedigbo.

One player that has gotten a ton of attention so far -- and for all the wrong reasons -- is cornerback Alex Carter. The second-year corner has mostly struggled during camp, but I actually thought he moved much better on Friday. He still gave up a few catches during team drills, but he was right with his assignment on almost every play. Maybe that'll give him a boost of confidence moving forward.

For the second straight practice, I was really impressed with Johnson Bademosi. With all of his guaranteed money, I'd be surprised if he doesn't make the roster and I failed to mention that during my last observations piece because the contract had slipped my mind. He will likely stay because of his ability on special teams, but I was very impressed with him in coverage as well. He did a spectacular job of sticking with Andre Roberts and broke up the pass, along with a couple of other positive reps.

Darius Slay had at least three or four deflections and is such a treat to watch. Despite earning a massive contract, there is no pause button with him. He is constantly harassing receivers and making plays. Slay has been all over Marvin Jones during open practices and managed to cut in front of him for an uncontested interception early into practice.

Special teams

Nothing new to report on everyone's favorite camp battle. Jimmy Landes had a little more velocity on his snaps, but Don Muhlbach is still better at his job for now.

I haven't even seen Devon Bell kick a ball yet.

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