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Detroit Lions training camp observations: Quarterbacks, running backs and receivers recap

Recapping our observations from training camp, starting with the QBs, RBs and WRs.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Now that open practices have concluded, it's time to recap what we've seen during training camp thus far. Keep in mind, preseason is right around the corner, meaning players still have plenty of time to make their case for the final roster, so feel free to take everything with a grain of salt. Players will be listed from top to bottom by position and how much they've impressed during training camp.


Matthew Stafford: Stafford has had a great camp so far and only threw one interception during open practices (a pick by Glover Quin). He had another pass intercepted during the mock game on Saturday by Darrin Walls which came in an all-around average performance by Stafford's standards, but I expect him to shake it off and possibly have a breakout year in 2016.

Dan Orlovsky: Sorry, Jake Rudock fans, Dan Orlovsky is your backup quarterback, plain and simple. Unless Rudock suddenly gets an arm transplant in the next few days before the Lions' first preseason game, he's a longshot to take Orlovsky's spot. Orlovsky never changes. You know what you're getting with him, and that's a below-average backup that knows the ins and outs of the Lions' playbook. If Stafford goes down, the Lions are probably screwed no matter what.

Jake Rudock: The rookie has had made some fantastic throws during camp, but it's been outweighed by the number of balls thrown into the dirt or five feet above his intended target's noggin. Rudock may not make the final roster, should the Lions decide to keep just two QBs, but at the very least he'll be a practice squad signing (don't expect any other teams to make a claim for him).

Running backs

Ameer Abdullah: As most of y'all know by now, Abdullah has been wearing a red "no contact" jersey throughout camp, but that hasn't stopped him from impressing the masses. He is still by far the shiftiest back on the team and the best pure runner on the roster. Don't forget the fact that he offers a ton on special teams and he was second in the NFL with a kick return average of 29.1 yards per return in 2015. If the offensive line can show any improvement this year, Abdullah is primed to be a breakout candidate.

Stevan Ridley: The Ridley signing might be one of the most underrated offseason pickups for the Lions. He's a lot faster and quicker than I anticipated and gives the Lions some much needed power in the run game. All of that showed during training camp, as well as in the mock game on Saturday morning. Ridley will get plenty of looks in the backfield as the Lions split most of their carries between him and Abdullah.

Theo Riddick: I'm not convinced that Riddick will play a big part in the run game, but he remains one of the hugest receiving threats out of the backfield in the entire NFL. 100+ targets in the passing game isn't out of the realm of possibilities.

Zach Zenner: The golden boy, Zach Zenner, has had a fairly quiet, but efficient camp. He's looked good in blocking drills, his footwork appears to have improved and he's even gotten some reps returning kicks. He will be the Lions' fourth RB when it's all said and done.

George Winn: Winn's chances of making the roster are slim-to-none, but he did have a pretty decent showing during the Lions mock game.

With the NFL's new rule change, Winn still has practice squad eligibility, so the Lions may want to keep him around for depth and his special teams ability.

Dwayne Washington: Washington has shown some flashes during camp, but he's a long way away from contributing in the NFL. His running style is like Rickon Stark running away from a bow and arrow. He's most often running in a straight line.

Wide receivers

Golden Tate: Here is your Golden Tate update:

He's still really good.

Marvin Jones: Bob Quinn hit a home run with the signing of Marvin Jones, who immediately fits in as the best deep threat the Lions currently have on their roster, and he's proven it during camp.

Anquan Boldin: Boldin's one-year, $2.75 million contract means the Lions are serious about implementing him into their gameplan on Sundays, and he's been lined up as their No. 3 WR since the start of camp. He'll provide the Lions with reliable hands and make his living out of the slot.

TJ Jones: Behind the top-three guys, TJ Jones has separated himself from the competition and is all but a lock to make the final roster. He's made big plays during just about every open practice. This may be the most depth the Lions have ever had at the WR position.

Jay Lee: If you ask me, the favorite to win the No. 5 receiver spot right now is Jay Lee, who has been absolutely phenomenal through training camp. Lee has shown the ability to stretch the field, burning almost every DB that lines up in front of him and probably would have received the game ball after Saturday's mock game if they did that sort of thing. I'm still worried about his tendency of catching so many balls with his body rather than his hands, but he hasn't dropped many passes that I'm aware of and has shown the ability to snag the ball in traffic.

Andre Roberts: Roberts had arguably the best practice of all the receivers during last Thursday's practice and took a kick return to the house during Family Day. He's had a solid camp overall and is going to force Quinn to make a tough decision once they start considering who the final receiver(s) are going to be.

Quinshad Davis: If Davis wasn't so dang slow, he'd be up there competing with Jay Lee for that final receiver spot, but he just doesn't offer much other than being a backup possession receiver. He won't make the team, but he can hope that the Lions add him to their practice squad.

Jeremy Kerley: Remember when Kerley was hyped up to be the Lions' No. 3 guy back during OTAs? Well that ship has long sailed, and unless he has a mind-blowing preseason performance, you can kiss his chances at making the final roster goodbye.

Damian Copeland: Copeland has a history of injuries and was signed to the Lions' squad in early June, giving him a tough shot to stick around, but he has been quite impressive in the short amount of time that he's been here. Working with the third-team offense, Copeland has shown off his elite athleticism and quicks. Should the Lions ever get thin at the slot position during the regular season, don't be surprised to see them give Copeland a call.

Jace Billingsley: Billingsley will always have a place in our hearts for overcoming all odds and winning the Annual Detroit Lions Name Tournament, but unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and his odds at making the team are getting lower by the day.

Andre Caldwell: After an impressive showing during last Thursday's practice, Caldwell did not practice on Friday or Saturday. He's a longshot at this point.

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