Detroit Lions organized team activities (OTAs) are underway this week at Allen Park. While players still don’t have full pads on, this—along with mandatory minicamp in a couple weeks—represents the final stage of offseason workouts before training camp in late July. Veterans and rookie are together, doing football-like stuff, and preparing their minds and bodies for the grueling season ahead.
Amidst all the excitement surrounding this team, there are still so many unanswered questions facing the Lions for the 2022 season. Media will be present for one OTA practice per week, so we may get some answers to those questions, but much will remain a mystery until training camp or the regular season.
Still, there are a lot of things to look forward to as the Lions take the field this week. There are new faces, rookies, returning faces, and players hoping to improve from last year.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is the most exciting Detroit Lions player to follow during OTAs?
My answer: First, it’s important to note exactly what we’re going to be seeing. With no pads on, it’s not going to be particularly exciting to watch line play—so that rules out second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson and second rounder James Paschal for me. Running backs are also not too fun to watch when there is no full contact during drills.
Jeff Okudah is a tempting answer, but it’s unclear what level of participation he’ll have, if any. He showed up in a photo gallery of offseason workouts earlier this month, but it seems unlike Okudah will be much of a participant this “early” in his recovery from a torn Achilles suffered last September.
Instead, I’ll go to the offensive side of the ball and go with a duo who could be drastically important, especially at the beginning of the season: quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver DJ Chark.
Last year, it was painfully obvious that the offense was going to struggle out of the gate when watching them during the offseason. Goff was hesitant to push the ball down the field, and there wasn’t a single wide receiver who was separating himself from the pack. Goff improved as the season went on and gained some confidence, and Chark has a good chance of entering the season as WR1 with Jameson Williams likely on the shelf until at least training camp.
If these two can develop some early chemistry—along with Josh Reynolds and Amon-Ra St. Brown providing significant production elsewhere—there may be legitimate hope this offense can do something special in 2022. Personally, I’m buying the Ben Johnson hype at offensive coordinator, but it’s ultimately on the players to play out his vision. Goff and Chark will be two of the bigger pieces to that puzzle, so a quick start in OTAs would go a long ways in bringing me confidence in the offense.