The first big roar from the crowd during Monday’s training camp practice came from an unlikely source. During one-on-one red zone drills, Detroit Lions undrafted rookie wide receiver Dylan Drummond had starting safety Tracy Walker so twisted up that it was an easy score for him. Minutes later, the two lined up again and Drummond bested the veteran defensive back for a second time.
Thus began a strong week for Drummond. On Wednesday, he was backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld’s favorite target during seven-on-sevens. Over a stretch of four plays, Sudfeld connected with Drummond on three of them. During full team drills, he beat impressive rookie cornerback Starling Thomas V on an out route and turned it up field for a big gain. On Thursday, he scored a touchdown against Cameron Sutton, the team’s No. 1 corner.
It’s been an impressive start to camp for Drummond, and he’s certainly caught the eye of the coaching staff.
“We see it,” coach Dan Campbell said on Thursday. “He makes plays every day. He really, mentally, can play all the positions. He competes in special teams and I would say he’s hard to ignore. He’s just hard to ignore. He just, he’s continuing to climb the depth chart, so he’s doing exactly what a guy like him has to do. He’s doing everything right. He rarely messes something up and if he does, he learns from it, he grows and it doesn’t happen again, so he’s doing a good job.”
Drummond played for five years with the Eastern Michigan Eagles, starting a total of 36 games across that span. He became the Eagles’ big-play threat, averaging 15.9 yards per reception his senior year, on his way to a 33-catch, 528-yard season. But most draft experts had him as an undrafted prospect.
The Lions saw promise on Drummond’s tape, and since he played about 30 minutes away, they decided to bring him in for the team’s local day. Once he was at the facility, they liked him even more.
“A lot of times you don’t know until you get them in the building and so you like it, but then once you get him here and you see the movement skills with your own eye,” Campbell said. “And then, it sure helps because you can find out—you’re not able to get everything, but we knew pretty quick like this is a pretty sharp guy. Like you just—you had a gut feeling, he’s going to be able to get this pretty quick. And so, hey man, let’s give him a look, bring him into camp, and he is not disappointing.”
After the draft, the Lions gave Drummond an opportunity to win a roster spot during rookie tryouts. Again, he played well enough to make the 90-man roster.
“When we first came out of that tryout, I was like, ‘Chalk him up. Sign him up because he’s got something,’” Lions WR coach Antwaan Randle El said. “And he’s willing to work. He’s a hard worker.”
Now he’ll have a fighting chance at the 53-man roster. While the Lions are likely set with their top four receivers—Amon-Ra St Brown, Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond and Marvin Jones Jr.—the suspension of Jameson Williams opens up a competition for a potential fifth and sixth spot. Drummond will have to fight off the likes of Denzel Mims, rookie seventh-round pick Antoine Green, and veteran Maurice Alexander.
It’s early in camp, but Drummond is already repping either with or ahead of his competition. So don’t sleep on him as Detroit is just a week away from their preseason opener.