The only defensive backs that have really shined in camp have been the regulars of Darius Slay, Glover Quin and Nevin Lawson. They were joined by Jamal Agnew Tuesday, but the rest of the depth at DB was struggling to make any positive impression. That changed on Wednesday when several of the depth players showed that they’re not going to go quietly without a fight and serious roster consideration.
Stock Up: Teez Tabor, CB
Tabor has had ups and downs in camp thus far. On Sunday, he was beaten deep by a couple of undrafted players, while he’s been hit or miss on Monday and Tuesday. It was more of the same early on Wednesday, but once the team moved to the red zone and began running drills, the gloves came off. Tabor was phenomenal in red zone drills, showing physicality and aggressiveness that led the team to spend a second-round pick on him. On one play in particular, he was covering Kenny Golladay on a fade and forced him off his route and positioned himself perfectly to defend it. This forced the quarterback to throw too far and inside, which would have required an incredible catch by Golladay. He was unable to secure it, incomplete.
Stock Down: Dwayne Washington, RB
Dwayne Washington in KR drills— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) August 2, 2017
3 muffed kicks
1 good return
1 time running into an unblocked defender
No player had an individually worse day than Dwayne Washington. The second-year running back found himself with the return specialists when he muffed the first kick to him. That would have been a bad start on his own, but Washington then muffed another kick in individual drills (where catching is literally all you have to do) then later a third on team drills. After the third muff, he had a nifty little return that could have made it to the 30 or so before any contact—meaning a decent return, at least, and a home run, at best—so it looked like he might turn it around. On his final kick return rep, however, he ran face first into an unblocked defender. We privately mused if the ‘vision issues’ we keep mentioning with Washington may be literal, like he actually has trouble seeing things and that’s why he’s struggling. It was that bad.
Stock Up: Anthony Zettel, DE
Zettel had a good day on Tuesday but a fantastic one on Wednesday. The second-year pass rushing specialist made short work of both Cyrus Kouandjio and Greg Robinson, both players vying for the starting gig at left tackle. Granted, these are guys cast off from their own teams for poor play, but that’s also a second-year, sixth rounder beating a former second rounder and a former No. 2 overall pick. Zettel also got some work on different parts of the line including, oddly, the wide-9 position. That’s not a position I’d think he’d do well in, but it’s interesting to see the team doing different things with him.
Stock Down: Michael Rector, WR
Michael Rector needs a lot of work on his routes.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) August 2, 2017
Undrafted free agent rookie Michael Rector had practice squad written all over him when he came to camp. He made a few plays and he looked like a possible dark horse for fifth receiver if the team opted to keep one and a few other chips fell his way. Wednesday was not a day he’ll look back on fondly. The team ran a more diverse set of routes than they had previously, and the reason Rector probably won’t make the active roster became immediately clear. Route running is very much not a strength. When asked to do more than run in a straight line or perhaps a post, Rector’s route running limitations reared their head. I like the athletic upside of a player like him, but the chances he makes the regular roster with routes that rough are slim to none.
Stock Up: Jamal Agnew, CB/Quandre Diggs, CB
Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs had some difficult days in drills obviously skewed in favor of receivers. Diggs made up a bit with an INT.— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) August 2, 2017
I had initially thought about leaving Diggs off of here due to some shoddy work earlier in the day, but landing the first notable interception of training camp is worthy of attention, especially when it comes from a player who has yet to notch their first pick in the NFL. Diggs has had a hard camp so far and hopefully that red zone pick is the start of him turning a corner. Jamal Agnew, on the other hand, has had a brilliant camp and continues to make the type of plays that have gained him so much attention lately. He had a beauty of a pass deflection on a pass to Michael Rector that showed off both his athleticism and ball awareness.
Stock Down: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT
I only caught a few reps from Kouandjio and they weren’t particularly impressive. Worse for him, it becomes clearer in each practice that the team prefers Greg Robinson win the job ,and I get the feeling it’s only a matter of time before that is a full-time thing. Kouandjio needs to start proving he should have that job by planting some players in camp.
Jared Abbrederis, WR - Abbrederis hasn’t had a great start to camp, but he’s been coming along and looks much better.
Ameer Abdullah, RB - Abdullah looks as quick and shifty as ever, with a long run and another long catch and run to his credit on Wednesday.
Adairius Barnes, CB - Barnes is another guy who has been struggling but seemed to find his place a bit on Wednesday. Gave up some catches, but was playing much tighter.
Nick Bellore, LB - Bellore didn’t do anything of note, but he did show up in pads after being injured in previous practices.
Jarrad Davis, LB - The Lions first-round pick has been fairly quiet, but that changed a bit on Wednesday. Davis did a fine job keeping his shoulders square and stacking his blockers.
Jordan Hill, DT - The Lions need a pass-rushing DT and Hill made one of the first big plays in the passing game by an interior lineman.
T.J. Lang, OG- Lang got some time in team drills and looked pretty close to his old self.
Desmond Lawrence, CB - The undrafted rookie looked poor in early team drills but was the best player on the field during red zone drills. Huge bounce back.
Keshawn Martin, WR - Word is Martin had a good day. I saw very little of him, but heard so from multiple folks after.
Noel Thomas, WR - Thomas has been up and down, but was a bit more up on Wednesday including one great rep where he had Barnes draped on him and caught the pass anyway.
Josh Thornton, CB - Thornton, like Lawrence, was rough early in the day but excelled in red zone drills later.
Cole Wick, TE - Wick had a bit of a bounce back day himself, taking advantage of extra snaps with Ebron still out.
Tavon Wilson, SS - With some concern his injury may have been more serious, Wilson practiced with the red no-contact jersey on Wednesday.
Brandon Barnes, TE - The top four tight ends have pretty much solidified themselves with Cole Wick coming in at five. The team won’t keep five and Barnes probably isn’t the sixth.
Alex Barrett, DE - Like Barnes, Barrett is in a situation where others are shining and he’s not making enough noise to keep any serious consideration in place.
Jace Billingsley, WR - Billingsley made a couple of nice plays on the day, drawing a PI on Agnew and catching a touchdown, but he dropped another easy pass and those are adding up.
Ego Ferguson, DT - Three days at camp actively looking for Ego Ferguson, and I’m beginning to think it’s an elaborate prank. He doesn’t exist. Name gave it away.
Graham Glasgow, OG- Glasgow got smoked by Jordan Hill near the end of practice. He hasn’t been very impressive when I’ve watched him.
Brad Kaaya, QB - Kaaya didn’t do anything to move him down here. He’s here to level set. The team used Jake Rudock and Matthew Stafford in red zone drills, Kaaya only threw a few passes late in the drills. There’s your 1-2-3 with no question marks so far.
Storm Norton, OT - Norton was fine, but with Robinson and Kouandjio healthy, he’s back to limited snaps.
Ryan Spadola, WR - I’m not sure when it happened, but Spadola was injured and spent the day on the sideline with his knee wrapped.