It happens every year. A player that was presumed to be just a camp body or practice squad fodder works his butt off in training camp and finds his way onto the final 53-man roster. Sometimes it’s a youngster who has all the odds stacked against him. Sometimes it’s a low-key free agent signing that thrives in his new environment. Either way, there’s always seems to be at least one player who emerges from the shadows during Detroit Lions training camp.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who will be the biggest surprise at Lions training camp?
My answer: Most of the time, I try not to get swept up in the hype of undrafted free agent rookies. Every year at least one of these players gets hyped up as a potential star. Not only do people ignore the long-shot odds to make the roster, but some believe they’re bound to be solid contributors before their career is over.
Even some of the success stories, like Jace Billingsley or Zach Zenner, result in careers that are mostly spent on the bench.
But—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—I’m already starting to buy into the hype of UDFA wide receiver Teo Redding. The man has already received a bunch of hype prior to training camp, but I’m surprised at how quickly he has already won me over.
Friday was the first time I had seen the guy play, and he looked like a men among boys with the second and third string offense. He is the big-bodied receiver that the Lions have been lacking in their reserves. Not only that, but he looked more than capable as a punt returner with some serious speed.
It’s one thing to see his RAS score:
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 another to see that athleticism in person.
I’m not saying Redding is a lock to make the 53-man roster or that he’ll eventually be the Lions’ starting X or Z receiver, but he has already made a serious impression on me, and I didn’t think that could happen so quickly for a UDFA.