Friday was an active day for Detroit Lions training camp. Not only was it the first day of full pads, but it was also our first taste of true one-on-one action. Offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen, receivers vs. defensive backs. As a result, there were plenty of highlights throughout practice, and the Lions' social media accounts did a great job posting as many as they could over the course of Friday evening.
Let’s take a look at all of them, shall we?
Lions second-round rookie Brian Branch has been one of the most impressive first-year players on the field. He’s tallied at least one pass breakup in every practice he’s participated in, and on Friday he notched two.
More impressively, he stuck with Kalif Raymond—one of the most slippery route runners on the team—on two of his three reps and recorded a pass breakup on one. Below, you can see the pass deflection, as well as him doing it against Josh Reynolds. That’s a rookie locking up two projected starters on this team right now.
It’s been a bit of a quiet offseason for Malcolm Rodriguez, who has seen his hype die down a bit since his impressive rookie season. Rookie Jack Campbell and third-year linebacker Derrick Barnes have stolen the headlines from Rodriguez and jumped him in the depth chart.
But Rodriguez had a solid Friday practice, showing up on special teams, and tallying the practice’s only interception during team play, stepping in front of James Mitchell for this perfectly played pick.
That said, it seems inevitable that Campbell will eventually take over the starting MIKE linebacker position. On the play before, Campbell comes flying into frame, applying a perfect punchout on running back Craig Reynolds, and hustling to recover his own forced fumble.
The Lions haven’t taken a ton of deep shots this training camp, but one-on-ones provide an opportunity to test the quarterback’s accuracy and defensive back’s ability to hang with vertical routes. In the play below, Josh Reynolds shows a great ability to use his height to his advantage, elevating over undrafted rookie Starling Thomas V—who has had an impressive start to camp—for a nice gain.
The Lions also provided a nice little highlight package from Friday here:
To close things out, here’s an adorable clip highlighting Alex Anzalone’s son, Cooper. On Friday, the Lions welcomed friends and family of Lions staff. Given the grind of training camp, it’s a nice opportunity to share an afternoon with their loved ones to keep morale high.