Every year in training camp is different. While it seems we tend to make an annual spectacle of the event and overhype both the practices and some of the individuals, the results change every year. Sometimes, an underdog story of a player battling the odds amounts to nothing. Other times, you get a player like Zach Zenner or Kerry Hyder, who go from nothing to significant contributor.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be an undrafted, unheralded player to be a breakout star in training camp. Sometimes, a player that hadn’t made much of an NFL impact has everything click in an offseason a puts it all together.
So with that in mind, today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player will be the next breakout star in training camp this year?
My answer: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Michael Roberts.
The Lions will be looking for some kind of answer at tight end, considering their current set doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. There doesn’t appear to be a No. 1 tight end among the bunch.
However, if there’s a player with extreme upside, it’s last year’s fourth-round pick Michael Roberts. His rookie year was an unequivocal disappointment, having played in just 221 snaps and caching only four receptions.
But there are some rumblings that Roberts is due for a breakout year in 2018. The opportunity is obviously there for the taking. The Lions parted ways with their two top tight ends from last year, Eric Ebron and Darren Fells. Though Detroit added Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo to soften the blow, only Roberts has true No. 1 TE potential.
In order to do that, he’s going to need to take a significant step this offseason, but he’s been taking it in strides.
“It’s been fun,” Roberts told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s completely different for me than last year. I’m just embracing it all.”
While it may be a leap of faith to call Roberts a breakout start candidate, remember he’s just a year removed from his senior year at Toledo where he caught 45 passes for 533 yards and a whopping 16 touchdowns. Obviously the college game is a lot different than the pros, but Roberts still has the potential.