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Discussion: Which Lions player has the most to prove once the pads come on?

Once the ramp-up period is done, the pads come on and the football becomes more real. Which Detroit Lions’ player has the most to prove?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Long ago, the beginning of football meant a lot of things. Chief amongst them—summer was coming to an end, and fully-padded two-a-days were on the horizon. And for a long time, it didn’t matter if you were a high school player or on an NFL roster, this was how things were done.

Today, things are completely different. Over the last decade or so, more of an emphasis has been placed on player-safety. Fully-padded practices are now less prevalent, and there are specific protocols in place that outline how teams have to ease their way into contact.

So while we may hear stories across the NFL on how a player is looking during the early stages of camp, we really won’t know what is what until the pads come on. For the Detroit Lions, there are a handful of players who really need to hit the ground running once the bullets become live.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Which Detroit Lions’ player has the most to prove once the pads come on?

My answer: I think the obvious answer is third-year defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike. Originally a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Onwuzurike was selected to be a disruptive force in the middle of the Lions’ defense, but a lingering back injury has derailed the early stages of his career.

Seeing him begin camp on the field is an encouraging sign, and honestly—not something I expected. However, how will he hold up the first time the Lions go live and he’s at the three-technique lined up in front of Pro-Bowl left guard Jonah Jackson? Or when he is asked to hold his spot against All-Pro center Frank Ragnow?

If he can answer some of these questions once the pads come on, then the Lions’ interior defensive line depth might not be that bad after all.

What about you? Which player do you think has the most to prove once the pads come on? Let us know in the comments by scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

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