TJ Jones, wide receiver
Jones is often the first player on and the last player off the field, and the hard work is seriously starting to pay off as he enters his fifth year in the league. According to reports in previous days, Jones has been sure-handed and gets open consistently, and we saw more of that today. He will likely be the fourth receiving option for the Lions’ offense as far as receivers go, but I believe he could be a solid No. 3 if he were on almost any other team.
I could see him upping his production ever so slightly this year, after a respectable 30 catches and 399 yards last season.
Tyrell Crosby, offensive tackle/guard
Coach Patricia has the team doing running drills right in front of the bleachers right now.— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) July 29, 2018
"That's a ****ing great block" he yells at Tyrell Crosby.
If you’ve been to camp during the Caldwell era, and made it out to any of the first three practices, then you’d notice a huge difference in the way things are being run so far. Fans are now limited to one side of the field where they sit in the bleachers that stretch nearly the full size of the football field.
The Lions ran some running drills right in front of us, which I was led to believe had to be on purpose, to give the fans a first look at the new running game. This was the most colorful I’ve seen Coach Patricia get, and he had some choice words for linemen and running backs alike, whether it was positive or negative.
Crosby was a big standout today and showed off his raw power, throwing dudes around, but also showed how unpolished he was and why he slid to the fifth round after whiffing on a block and giving up a tackle for a loss. Still, Crosby is a nice young piece that could potentially replace Rick Wagner or T.J. Lang in a year, and is an absolute beast when he gets his hands on someone.
Amari Coleman, cornerback
Coleman may not be a favorite to make the roster, but he improved his stock today playing with the twos and threes. He had a really nice pass breakup on a pass intended for Dontez Ford from Matt Cassel. It was a go-route where he completely laid out for the ball and got his hand on it.
The former Chippewa stood out a couple more times throughout practice as well, enough for me to make note of him and to make sure he made this list. He has a tough shot at making the roster with such a stacked position, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for him as camp progresses.
Kerryon Johnson, running back
It’s much easier to see how the RBs are doing now that pads are on, but it’s still early to see who has the upper-hand. I will say that Kerryon looked very good in the limited amount of time we were able to see him in goal line drills, and he had back-to-back touchdowns, including one where he made a beautiful jump cut and exploded right into the end zone. Of the other running backs, LeGarrette Blount left the field with a trainer to get something looked at, Ameer Abdullah looked decent, Theo Riddick was Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington ran into his own blockers.
Jamal Agnew, cornerback/return specialist
Agnew is masterful when it comes to returning kicks/punts, but it was his skills on defense that stood out the most on Sunday. On a play where Jace Billingsley ran a crosser over the middle, Agnew didn’t give him a single inch of space and proceeded to cut right in front of him to make the play on the ball. Unfortunately, he was unable to pick the ball off despite getting both hands on it, but you love to see that type of progression from him. He could have a real shot at seeing meaningful snaps on defense this year.
DeShawn Shead, cornerback
As you can tell, the cornerback group had a very good day overall, with Shead showing off why he deserves to be in the conversation as the No. 2 CB and why I’d say he has a pretty sizable lead so far.
DeShawn Shead the defacto number two corner again.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) July 29, 2018
Shead looked very comfortable as the No. 2 and was sticky in coverage across from Tate. Teez Tabor didn’t have the greatest of days, though he’s reportedly had a strong camp so far. While it’s a bummer that Teez hasn’t progressed into the leading this competition, I think this is obviously a great problem to have with both players doing well early in camp.