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Detroit Lions stock report: Jamal Agnew steals the show

There’s always rookies who make the best of camp, but it wasn’t one many expected on Tuesday.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Training Camp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Monday wasn’t the best day of training camp in terms of performance, with several players who struggled to adapt to playing against NFL talent and others who have rust to shake off. Tuesday was far different as we saw improvements from nearly every player at nearly every position. Darren Fells was the star of Monday’s training camp, but it was a surprise rookie who stole the show Tuesday. Jamal Agnew needs to make a strong impression to make the roster at a deep position and he made more than enough plays to turn heads at camp.

Stock Up: Jamal Agnew, CB

There was little movement on special teams Monday, but Tuesday saw Jamal Agnew break the first long punt return of camp. The fifth-round rookie speedster fielded a punt cleanly, quickly assessed his blocks, then proceeded to make people miss. It wasn’t just special teams, as Agnew had some very good snaps at nickel corner. He was often lined up across from the similarly shifty Jace Billingsley, and while he didn’t win every rep, there were more plays that he won than not. Agnew may have an in at returner, but if his play at nickel continues to improve he could challenge for playing time early in 2017.

Stock Down: Undrafted defensive backs

The worst players in camp on Tuesday were the pair of Josh Thornton and Desmond Lawrence as well as second-year UDFA Adairius Barnes. The trio combined to make nearly every receiver they covered look fantastic. It wasn’t just the fact they were giving up catches but how badly they were beaten to allow them. The group wasn’t good on any snaps that I saw, and at a crowded position group to begin with, it’s going to be tough to challenge for a practice squad spot let alone a spot on the active roster.

Stock Up: Darren Fells, TE

Fells continued his stellar play on Tuesday after dominating the previous day. This time he was able to shine as a blocker, handling Kerry Hyder on one rep so soundly that he almost planted the team’s 2016 sack leader in the turf. Fells continues to impress and is making a case to be the team’s best free agent signing, even with T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner in camp.

Stock Down: Quandre Diggs, CB

Another defensive back who played poorly on Tuesday was 2015 sixth-round pick Quandre Diggs. Diggs had a down year in 2016 after playing well as a rookie but his transition back to playing has been pretty rough. Diggs looked better in movement and transition drills than he had the day prior, but isn’t a smooth mover like many of the other defensive backs. In team drills he was beaten routinely regardless of the route or receiver, and he needs to improve quite drastically to cling to a roster spot.

Stock Up: Leo Koloamatangi, OC

Largely unheralded coming out of Hawaii, Leo Koloamatangi became the team’s No. 2 center through both minicamp and OTAs. He’s held onto that spot through training camp so far, and he’s been one of the best surprises on the line. With no hyperbole, I can say that at this point I would keep Koloamatangi over Laken Tomlinson if I had to choose between two, and I would do so with no hesitation. Koloamatangi had the best OL block of the day when he slid out and stonewalled a DE on the move. One of the strongest players in camp, this is going to be a name to watch during the preseason as he could challenge Joe Dahl for backup reps if someone goes down.

Stock Down: Laken Tomlinson, OG

Laken Tomlinson has been a victim of both circumstance and his own play. In training camp so far, it is the former that is playing against him. Graham Glasgow has been the starting left guard while Tomlinson has been starting at right guard. That may seem like a good thing, but Joe Dahl has been backing up left guard with second team. That means the team isn’t even looking at Tomlinson to battle at left guard even as a backup, putting him fourth on the depth chart at guard, at best. That’s not a good sign for the former first rounder.

Quick Hits

Stock Up

Jared Abbrederis, WR - Abbrederis wasn’t very good, but it was an improvement over his terrible Monday.
Don Carey, FS - Carey was back on the field in a non-contact injury, a good sign for his health.
Alex Carter, SS - Carter continues to look like he belongs and even took some first-team reps at safety with Tavon Wilson down.

Dontez Ford, WR - He could have went up and down on Tuesday, with some poor route running, but he continued to make catches when it matters.
Graham Glasgow, OG - Glasgow took some third-team reps at center. That might not seem meaningful, but is a good sign for his long term roster spot.
Kenny Golladay, WR - Golladay had the catch of the day on a toe tapper in the end zone with good coverage.
D.J. Hayden, CB - Hayden saw the field more on Tuesday than he had before as the team continues to bring him in slowly.
Marvin Jones, WR - Jones was fine on Monday, but he looked far better in team drills and 7-on-7s on Tuesday.
T.J. Jones, WR - Deserving of a stock up write up of his own, Jones separated himself from the pack at receiver for that fourth spot.

Brad Kaaya, QB - Kaaya was awful on Monday, serviceable on Tuesday. He threw with much better poise and accuracy and made some great throws over the middle.
Miles Killebrew, SS - No surprise Killebrew is better with the pads on. He still laughs every time he hits someone.
Khari Lee, TE - Lee made a nice block on special teams and continues to work to locking up a fourth TE spot if the team keeps one.
Steve Longa, LB - Longa was bad in coverage on Monday but looked a lot better with pads on. He’s also playing SAM, adding some versatility he didn’t have before.
Rolan Milligan, FS - A relative unknown, Milligan has looked smooth in DB drills and even looked pretty good in team drills.
Storm Norton, OT - With pads on we finally got to look at the line and Norton did well in the reps I saw. A good sign with as many injuries as the Lions are facing.
Pat O’Connor, DE - O’Connor made the best play of the defense on Tuesday blasting by Nick Becton to hit the RB just after the handoff was made.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB - JRM plays much better when he’s cut loose as a blitzer and he toasted Dwayne Washington on one such inside rush.

A’Shawn Robinson, DT - Robinson is a mountain. His battles with Swanson got pretty heated and he looks like he could swallow his blockers whole.
Greg Robinson, OT - Robinson was working with the ones and it seems like the team is easing him in.
Jake Rudock, QB - Rudock looked a lot better on Tuesday than his disastrous Monday. He didn’t open the gap over Kaaya, but he didn’t allow it to close either.
Travis Swanson, OC - Swanson may be the team’s best lineman coming into the season, potentially including Lang and Wagner.
Teez Tabor, CB - It was another up and down day for Tabor, but he looked a lot better in movement and transition drills than he did the day before. He’s coming along.
Zach Zenner, RB - Zenner took some first-team reps today and looked good with what he had to work with.
Anthony Zettel, DE - Zettel got some work with the ones in part due to Cornelius Washington’s injury. The more usage he gets, the better chances he will have.

Stock Down

Thurston Armbrister, LB - The pads came on and Armbrister was the only linebacker who was noticeably worse than the previous day.
Johnson Bademosi, CB - Bademosi got a long look on the defense last year and it wasn’t good. He got another long look on Tuesday and it was the same.
Nick Becton, OT - The poor guy doesn’t even have a nameplate yet. He was the recipient of a Dan O’Connor drubbing that saw the rookie DE disrupt the handoff.
Jace Billingsley, WR - Billingsley muffed a punt after muffing one on Monday. When the team went down to a smaller group to finish returner drills, he wasn’t among them.
Kerry Hyder, DE - Hyder wasn’t bad, but he did have a terrible rep where he was just destroyed by tight end Darren Fells.
Michael Rector, WR - Rector had a strong Monday, but dropped an easy touchdown after beating one of the UDFA corners. He reportedly dropped another earlier.
Kasey Redfern, P - Not a big deal for the Lions, but Redfern doesn’t have much power to his punts and each is as wobbly as the last.
Michael Roberts, TE - Roberts wasn’t very good blocking on Tuesday and was blocked out of his shoes on one special teams rep.
Charles Washington, SS - Washington showed a lot of promise in 2016 but his showing thus far in 2017 has been subpar.
Tahir Whitehead, LB - Whitehead looks more comfortable outside, but his coverage skills don’t look improved.
Cole Wick, TE - What promise Wick showed last season has all but been used up. Another poor day for the second-year UDFA.
Cornelius Washington, DE - Washington was reportedly seen in a boot to start the day and he never saw the field.

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