Day 2 of Detroit Lions minicamp had its ups and downs. The Lions may have already lost one of their draft picks for the season, as fullback Nick Bawden appears to have suffered a serious leg injury that the team is fearing could be a torn ACL (head coach Matt Patricia would not confirm nor deny this report on Thursday). But on the other end of the spectrum, Teez Tabor appears to really be taking the Year 1-to-Year 2 jump seriously.
But there was a lot of other interesting details from Wednesday’s practice. Here are the biggest storylines.
The rise of Teo Redding
If you’re looking for the undrafted free agent darling of the offseason, it may come from the former Bowling Green receiver. Redding has now stood out in a few practices already, and he certainly has the physical tools:
Teo Redding may have the best shot of making the #Lions roster despite a deep WR group. Though the first three spots are locked, and the 4th likely is as well, Lions are likely to carry 5 and that spot is very much up for grabs. #RAS pic.twitter.com/if1XUtHYZ9— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 10, 2018
It’s very early on, but Redding has turned those athletic traits into solid production thus far.
“The 6-foot-1 receiver out of Bowling Green is showing off his explosive leaping ability (38.5-inch vertical) and good hands, making a couple of full-extension grabs on deep passes from backup quarterback Matt Cassel,” wrote Justin Rogers of The Detroit News.
“Redding had the highlight of Wednesday’s practice when he made a diving catch along the sideline from quarterback Matt Cassel,” said Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
There is a long history of overhyping undrafted free agent receivers in the offseason here in Detroit (Demario Ballard, Jay Lee, Jace Billingsley, etc), so it’s too early to get really hyped about this guy, but he’s definitely a name to keep an eye on.
Kenny Golladay 1, Teez Tabor 0
While we’ve been hyping Tabor a lot for his promotion to the first-team defense and his pair of picks against Matthew Stafford, it wasn’t all rosy for the young cornerback. He was reportedly lined up opposite Kenny Golladay for a lot of Wednesday’s practice, and the imposing receiver appeared to win the day.
“Kenny Golladay continues to just manhandle the defense in the red zone, this time beating Teez Tabor twice for touchdowns,” wrote MLive’s Kyle Meinke.
Another young cornerback joins the first team defense
Jamal Agnew has already carved out an All-Pro performance as the Lions’ punt returner in his rookie year, but the 2017 fifth-round pick could make a significant impact on defense this season. For the second straight practice, Agnew was working with the first-team defense as the nickel cornerback.
It’s going to be a stiff competition at that position, with the likes of Nevin Lawson, DeShawn Shead, Quandre Diggs and possibly even rookie Tracy Walker all capable of filling that role.
And just to keep the Agnew return man hype going, he also scored a touchdown on a punt return on Wednesday, per Birkett.
The deep ball is still alive and well in Detroit
Last year, the Lions were one of the best teams at connecting downfield on passes. They led the league in 40+ yard passing plays (16) and were third in 20+ yard passing plays (61).
If Wednesday’s practice was any indication, they’ll likely top that list again in 2018.
“Stafford’s deep ball, which was an important part of his arsenal in 2017, continues to be highly accurate,” wrote Rogers.
Marvin Jones Jr. got behind Darius Slay in a 7-on-7 drill for a touchdown from quarterback Matthew Stafford. Golden Tate also got loose down the right sideline behind Agnew, who was playing the nickel cornerback spot at the time.
If there was any concern that Detroit’s focus on the running game this offseason would take away from their big play ability through the air, those worries appear to be unfounded at this point in the offseason.
- Frank Ragnow remains at left guard
- The same players were limited at practice (Ezekiel Ansah, TJ Jones, Joe Dahl, Tavon Wilson)
- Jake Rudock took reps ahead of Matt Cassel on Wednesday. On Tuesday, it was the other way around.