Football is almost upon us. You can see it just beyond the horizon. If you stick your tongue out, you can taste it. Or you will look like an idiot with his tongue sticking out in public. Forget I told you to do that part.
Anyways, we are less than a week away from the Lions reporting to training camp. They will report on July 30, to be exact. Camp is always fun because it’s that time of year when you can play 20 questions in your mind, and actually get a chance to answer some of them.
Everyone wants to know which player is going to breakout? Or which position battles will be the most exciting to watch? Those hot topics will undoubtedly hold the majority of fans attention, as they should.
But what the smaller stories? The ones that don’t immediately occur to you, but you find yourself wondering about once they do. That’s what we’re here to talk about today. We have five under-the-radar players that we here at Pride Of Detroit think you should be looking at once training camp gets into full swing.
After we learned that Taylor Decker would be missing exorbitant amount of time this season, the Lions suddenly found themselves in need of a left tackle that could slide in Decker’s place if he winds up missing more time than coaches and fans hope.
Enter Kouandjio. The former second-round pick out of Alabama could be just what the doctor ordered. But this 24-year-old tackle comes with questions, none more asked than, “What happened in Buffalo?” The first answer is injuries. Cyrus has missed time in each of his three seasons in Buffalo.
But it wasn’t all bad, especially in 2016. Pro Football Focus had Cyrus ranked 34th among all tackles, and he graded out as the best backup tackle in the NFL.
Cyrus Kouandjio visited the Lions today. He impressed as a reserve in 2016. pic.twitter.com/kQ68HIclAq— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 7, 2017
Some Lions fans may be assuming that Kouandjio won’t make the team, but I believe he will be the Lions starting left tackle on Day 1. Either way, he should be a fun player to follow during camp.
Here’s my question: Will TJ finally break down a wall? Here’s what I mean: Imagine TJ Jones is trapped in between two walls right now. One of these walls leads to a spot on the team and the meaningful role that he’s been searching for and fans hoped he would find. On the other side is a world where the Lions stop waiting for him to break down the other wall, and cut him.
I personally would like to see the former of the two, but my heart tells me it’s the latter. Of every story on this list, this is the one that I will be paying the most attention to.
This one is interesting, because it may just be a shot in the dark. The Lions look to be entering camp with all of their running backs healthy. We all know that Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and probably Zach Zenner are safe, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess.
Are the Lions even planning on carrying more than three or four backs in 2017? History says they should, and that’s where Tion Green comes in. The Lions picked this kid up as an undrafted free agent after this April’s draft. The tape shows that this kid can knock some guys over.
His highlight reel immediately made me believe this kid has to make the team, at least as a red-zone threat. The Lions have lacked a guy that can bust through the line on short-yardage plays, and I believe Green can be that guy. But can he beat out Matt Asiata and Dwayne Washington? It may be an uphill battle, but I look forward to finding out.
Alex Carter hasn’t been the most popular name on the field in Detroit. In fact, the only time he’s really brought up is when fans are asking “when is he actually gonna play?” There has to be something extraordinary about this guy. How else can you explain the Lions drafting him in third round and sitting on him three years later? After he hasn’t played a single defensive snap in the NFL?
Well it would appear that we’ll finally get to see Alex Carter go to work, and he’ll even be playing a new position.
What is this going to mean for Carter? A lot is riding here. If this works, Carter can completely change his story and become a part of the team. If it doesn’t, it’s yet another reminder of why former general manager Martin Mayhew no longer works for the Lions.
I love this guy. He reminds me a lot of the old Mr. Perfect vignettes that used to run before his debut.
Zettel can do it all. He can throw a 94 MPH fastball. He can tackle a tree, and he can dance the Thriller almost as well as MJ himself. But I’m betting the one thing he can do better than all that stuff is play defensive end in the National Football League.
We got to see a little bit of what he could do in 2016, especially against New York and Los Angeles. He notched six tackles and a sack in those games. With Devin Taylor now playing for the Giants, it’s Zettel’s time to step up and assume Taylor’s old role. I look forward to seeing if the Mr. Perfect of Detroit can tackle Aaron Rodgers like a tree.