The majority of the Detroit Lions rookie class, along with a group of tryout players, went to the field Saturday morning to participate in another rookie minicamp practice.
Head coach Dan Campbell explained to reporters before practice began what this weekend was meant to accomplish for the young talent to come and try to acclimate.
“I would say we’re trying to get them acclimated with what we’re doing schematically. So, introduction to our plans – offense, defense and special teams,” Campbell said. “Then, we try to assess their movement skills and their shape. What kind of shape are they? What do they really look like as athletes? We’re around them, so we test them a little bit on the their lateral movement, hips, flexibility, change of direction, everything.Just to keep our eyes on them is really-I can say those two things are the most important things right now. “
After observing the morning training at the rookie minicamp, here are several takeaways from inside Allen Park.
List of tryout players
The list of players invited for a tryout includes four defensive players and five offensive players.
Among the invited players are quarterback Connor Sampson, wide receivers Jalen Martin and Hunter Rison, guard Logan Harris, tackle Evin Ksiezarczyk, linebackers Natrez Patrick and Jaylan Alexander, defensive lineman Jason Strowbridge and defensive back Najee Reems.
The Lions have a minicamp quarterback who throws football
Sampson was the only quarterback to join football this weekend.
The young quarterback played at a college in Western Illinois and was the team’s starting quarterback for his last three seasons.
During his final season, he threw for 3,182 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also completed 65.2% of his passes.
Despite sitting down, wide Jameson Williams participated in the process.
Williams is still recovering from the torn ACL he suffered against Georgia in the College Football Playoff championship game.
Fast wideout is included in the process, even if not a full participant in the minicamp.
He revealed that following practice he chose No. 18 because it “reversed Calvin Johnson” and was also a number worn by Randy Moss.
“He’s engaged. You put him in the grass and that’s his domain,” Campbell said. “He asked, he has the script, he has it.”
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Aidan Hutchinson’s first impression
Hutchinson’s strong potential to be a reliable pass-rusher was demonstrated in all the drills.
His exceptional athletic ability, combined with Josh Paschal’s versatility, should setup the Lions defense for success for many years to come.
The ex-Wolverines rookie appears at first glance as a player with the potential to have an incredible employment rate.
In the drills, he shows speed, power and ability to use his height in the best ways that benefit him.
James Houston was used as the off-the-ball linebacker at minicamp.
Early in his tenure with the Lions, Houston worked as an off-the-ball linebacker, a position he wanted to prove he could play, as he was often used as an edge rusher at Jackson State.
“I feel like I want to do more. I want to play inside, I want to help inside. I want to help outside,” Houston said in a Barstool Sports documentary. “If I can keep up the offense, to help the offense, I’ll play fullback and help you run the ball.”
Houston and Malcolm Rodriquez have been observed working on the basics and recognizing the precise identification of linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard.
The young rookie has earned praise for his ability to get through drills quickly, a trait the Lions coaching staff wants to instill in all linebackers.
Undesigned free agent Kalil Pimpleton stands out
On several routes in the past, the fast wideout has been observed to open up and show speed at the NFL level.
Pimpleton was always a target for Sampson and the duo made little connection later in the day.
Pimpleton finished his last season in Central Michigan with 62 yards for 959 yards and four touchdowns.
He also added an element of ground, as he recorded 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns on offense.
Early in his NFL career, Pimpleton was likely to work in a special team role, as he averaged 20.6 yards per punt return on 14 tries last year.