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Detroit Lions mandatory minicamp: Day 1 observations

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Our observations from the Lions’ minicamp opener.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Minicamp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions took the field on Tuesday afternoon for their sixth offseason practice, but their first mandatory minicamp session. Minicamp is a little different, and not just because it’s mandatory. Practice sessions are a little longer—30 minutes, according to head coach Matt Patricia. Additionally, players have a full slate of activities for the day, upwards of 10 hours of on and off-the-field activities.

With practice taking on a little more intensity, here’s what I noted from Tuesday’s session.

Participation

As expected, Damon Harrison Sr. and Darius Slay were both absent from Allen Park. Every single other Lions player was accounted for on the day. However, not everyone was an active participant.

The group of players working with trainers for the majority of practice includes the following: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Tommylee Lewis, Nick Bawden, Isaac Nauta, David Jones, Steve Longa, Jerome Cunningham, Trey Flowers and Austin Bryant.

Of that group, only Tommylee Lewis looked far away from being near healthy. Lewis was missing from last week’s practice and was walking around with a pretty significant limp on Tuesday. He did practice catching some passes while stationary, but it’s clear he may sit for a while.

Interceptions galore

The Lions may have been missing Darius Slay, but it was raining interception on Tuesday. By my count, there were at least four picks during the session: Quandre Diggs on a deflected pass, Tavon Wilson on a great read-and-jump, Jamal Agnew with a practice-ending pick six, and... yep, Teez Tabor again.

I don’t want to hype up Tabor too much, as I’ve written about him in just about every one of these recaps, but no one is taking advantage of their extra reps more than Tabor right now. He’s consistently been with the first-team defense and he’s been as consistent of a playmaker as you can be right now.

And it’s not just interceptions. Tabor had a great pass breakup on Andy Jones on Tuesday, and nearly made another a few plays later.

Obviously, Tabor isn’t going against the greatest WR competition with Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay out, but he’s doing everything in his power to overcome two rough years to start his NFL career.

Don’t forget Tavon Wilson

The Lions have a slew of young safeties in Tracy Walker and Will Harris, but don’t overlook veteran Tavon Wilson in the picture. Wilson made a great case for himself on Tuesday, not only picking up an interception, but looking fierce as a box safety.

On one play, he closed in so hard on Michael Roberts that he actually knocked him over. About 30 minutes later, he crashed down on Roberts again for a minimal gain, and nearly put him on the ground again.

Sloppy

For the first time this offseason, NFL officials were in attendance, and the flags were flying. At one point, the second-team offense was struggling to simply get a snap off because of snap count and alignment issues. Additionally, during 11-on-11s, the defense had too many men on the field and that caused the entire defensive roster—not just the players on the field—to do a full lap around the field.

No change on the lines

Frank Ragnow remained at center on Tuesday. Kenny Wiggins continues to get reps ahead of Oday Aboushi at left guard.

There was one interesting change with the second team, however. Leo Koloamatangi slid over to left guard while Joe Dahl got a significant look at center. Shortly after I noticed the change, Dahl got the snap count wrong and was forced to do a lap. For someone trying to display his versatility, Dahl can’t afford to lose reps while doing laps.

Nothing new to report on the defensive line.

Random thoughts

  • Brandon Powell made a couple of good plays, including a full-extended grab with a toe-tap. After catching the ball, he looked up to the referee, who confirmed he got his feet in.
  • I haven’t written much about T.J. Hockenson during OTAs, but it’s only because he’s been boringly great. He’s clearly going to be a significant part of this offense, and I’ve only seen one drop all offseason. Interestingly, I keep confusing him with a slot receiver, because of how fluidly and quick he moves. Despite his size and length, he looks small and shifty out there.
  • Andrew Adams had a good day, as well. The Lions’ safety depth chart is looking very impressive early on.
  • Amani Oruwariye remains with the second and third teams. He hasn’t done much, and the one play that sticks out from Tuesday was when rookie Travis Fulgham created a yard or two of separation on a comeback route. Though I haven’t seen Oruwariye get burned yet, he also appears to have some ground to make up before we can start putting him in the CB2 conversation.