Though the first practice session isn’t until next week, the Detroit Lions training camp officially opens Thursday. As I type these words, rookies are beginning to report to the Lions’ training facility in Allen Park to begin the festivities.
This won’t be the first time the Lions’ coaching staff will get an up-close-and-personal look at their brand-new rookie class, but it will be a chance to see how serious these players took their month off after OTAs and minicamp back in early June.
The rookie class is, of course, led by the Lions’ eighth overall pick, tight end T.J. Hockenson. Like any top-10 pick, expectations are high for the rookie. Earlier this week, NFL Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah called Hockenson the best blocking tight end he’s ever scouted. Considering Detroit’s struggles at the tight end position last year and their commitment to running the ball this season, Hockenson will undoubtedly be an integral part of this team’s offensive game planning from Day 1.
The rest of the draft class may not be expected to contribute quite so quickly, but players like second-round linebacker Jahlani Tavai and third-round safety Will Harris will certainly play a role this year. And don’t forget about the Lions’ intriguing undrafted rookie class. Players like guard Beau Benzschawel and defensive end Malik Carney have a chance to impress and perhaps earn a spot on the team’s 53-man roster.
It’s an exciting time for the Detroit Lions and fans alike! Welcome to training camp, rooks!