The Detroit Lions will finish up their offseason activities this week behind closed doors. On Monday, the team had their final organized team activity available to the media, finalizing a six-practice stretch (three OTAs, three minicamp practices) in which we saw our first looks at the 2022 Lions team.
While the full pads have yet to come on and it would be wise to not jump to any definitive conclusions in June, there were plenty of interesting developments from the three weeks of practice. The offense looks miles ahead of where it was last year, with depth players like Quintez Cephus and Trinity Benson lifting the second-team offense up as well. Defensively, we’ve seen the secondary compete at a pretty high level, along with a couple defensive line depth pieces—namely Jashon Cornell and Demetrius Taylor—making an early impact.
Obviously, most of you all weren’t at these practices, but you’ve likely devoured all of the observations posted over the past few weeks. So today’s Question of the Day is:
What Lions player surprised the most during the team’s offseason activities this year?
My answer: I have to go with Will Harris.
The 2019 third-round pick struggled to make a positive impact at safety for the first three years of his career, yet coaching staffs from this and the previous regime seemed to value his skillset.
It finally appears they may have found the best role for him as an outside cornerback. Harris repped with the first-team defense all month while Jeff Okudah continued to sit out team drills. Harris not only looked comfortable in the role, but he truly thrived. It was rare to see him out of position a single time during all of the practices, and he even got his hands on a few passes.
Obviously, Harris got some time at corner late last year, but now it appears he’s fully accepted the role and thrived at it.
“I was able to get a lot of exposure toward the end of last year, just playing strictly corner, and I feel comfortable doing that,” Harris said last month. “That’s another spot where I think can just continue getting better and continue to learn all the intricacies of playing corner and wearing that hat. Obviously being out in more space and facing some of the guys on the outside. I love it. It’s pure competition out there and that’s what you want to be, to go out and compete.”
While I’m not so sure Harris will start at outside corner—he’ll likely be part of the nickel competition, as well—it’s a pleasant surprise to know that if Okudah isn’t ready to go or the Lions are dealing with injuries midseason, Harris is a guy who is capable of jumping into a starting role.