It is now a yearly tradition for Detroit Lions fans to build up anticipation for rookie minicamp in the hopes of confirming their optimism about the team’s draft choices. That eagerness is always met with disappointment as the team does not allow any true reporting on the three-day event. Reporters only had access to one day of the minicamp and it was just a 10 minute look during individual drills:
If you consider 10 minutes of individual drills for one day access, then yes, we get access. https://t.co/z6ixPuD6vd— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) May 13, 2017
But we here at Pride Of Detroit aren’t satisfied with that. Though we didn’t get any additional access that other sources couldn’t get their hands on, we did do some digging with what the Detroit Lions provided through their website and social media. So here’s a recap of everything we found over the weekend.
The Detroit Lions’ full rookie draft class participated in minicamp, despite the fact that third-round rookie Kenny Golladay did not sign his rookie deal before the beginning of the event. In addition to those nine players, 14 signed undrafted free agents and several rookies with tryout offers practiced at Allen Park.
Most interesting, however, was the amount of first-year players that got the invitation. According to NFL rules, first-year players that didn’t spend a significant time on the roster last year can participate in rookie minicamp the following year. For the Lions, that list included WR Jace Billingsley, S Rolan Milligan, LB Brandon Chubb, LB Steve Longa and OT Pierce Burton.
Here’s a full list of draft picks, UDFAs and first-year players that attended minicamp:
Here's your full Lions uniform number list. pic.twitter.com/p6vHtkqj3m— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) May 12, 2017
What about Matt Asiata?
Despite not being on the roster listed above, Asiata was at minicamp, as initially reported earlier last week:
On Friday, Caldwell would not discuss how the tryout went, but provided a little insight into what he would bring to the team, if signed. “I think anybody knows who has seen him work, he’s a good special teamer,” Caldwell said. “He’s tough. He’s a very good pass protector and he carries the ball. He runs behind his pads.”
The Detroit Lions provided a 90-second video recap of Friday’s minicamp session on their official website. There isn’t a whole lot there, but here’s what we can gather from the video:
- Fifth-round pick Jamal Agnew was receiving punts (0:28 mark), confirming, as many suggested, that he could win a roster spot using his blazing speed as a return specialist.
- Agnew also nearly made an impressive interception (0:37 mark), but his deflection ended up landing in the wide receiver’s (No. 11—unlisted) hands.
- Kenny Golladay caught a lot of passes. In the 90 second highlight package, Golladay hauled in four passes, including a nice snag at around the 26-second mark.
The Lions shared a few pictures on social media, but also provided a few galleries on their website. Here’s a quick recap:
- Happy coaches:
When you see the rookies on the field for the first time pic.twitter.com/HLf8yh1MGV— Detroit Lions (@Lions) May 13, 2017
So, what do we know?
Not much, really. Given their very limited access, no Lions beat writers provided a true recap of the three-day event. However, DetroitLions.com’s own Mike O’Hara had more detail than anyone else after the first day of rookie minicamp. His observations are all very vague, and understandably so, but his full recap is worth a read.
Overall, we can only draw a few conclusions based on the media given to us. The best resource was actually the photo galleries provided by the team. Here’s what we know based on those:
- In addition to Agnew, Jace Billingsley was also receiving punts.
- Seventh-round pick Pat O’Connor has a wicked hair and beard combination.
- Teez Tabor knows where the camera is.
- Fourth-round pick Michael Roberts made a lot of catches, too.
But easily the biggest revelation from the photo gallery was that Detroit Lions first-round pick Jarrad Davis made his first interception in a Lions jersey during Saturday’s session and it was an impressive one, too: