Lions camp observations: Undrafted Bryant turns heads; mixed bag for Stafford

Detroit News

Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from Friday’s Detroit Lions training camp practice.

► Rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah had a roller coaster of a day. He struggled through some early reps against Marvin Jones, including one Matthew Stafford throw that sailed just beyond the young cornerback’s reach into the receiver’s waiting hands. 

Later, Okudah got banged up making a diving attempt at a pass breakup, requiring him to sit out for several minutes. After practice, he described it as an awkward landing. But when the whistle blew for another full-team segment, Okudah grabbed his helmet and returned the field. A couple plays into that portion of practice, he recorded his first interception of training camp, adjusting to an under-thrown deep ball intended for Jones.

The turnover would have been negated by the defensive line jumping early, and Stafford took the shot knowing there was no risk, but it was still a valuable moment for the first-round pick. 

Okudah capped his up-and-down day by being out of position during a special teams segment and getting hollered at by a coach. 

► The Lions expanded the head-to-head receiving work between the running backs and linebackers by having some of the backs line up out wide or slot alignments. Rookie Jason Huntley continues to be a problem when given room to breath, but linebacker Jahlani Tavai found one way to counter the speedy back, aggressively jamming him at the line of scrimmage. 

In full-team drills, Huntley had a huge gain on a wheel route, blowing by linebacker Anthony Pittman’s coverage. 

► Stafford was sharp during the one-on-one segment between the receivers and defensive backs, capping the drill by dropping a perfectly placed deep ball to Jamal Agnew over rangy safety Tracy Walker. 

Stafford is ultra competitive on the practice field, but rarely do you see him taunt his teammates. He broke character after that completion, mockingly waving at the defenders, who had to jog a lap for losing the drill. 

More: Lions RB D’Andre Swift sits out, WR Marvin Hall hurt during practice

► When it came to team drills, Stafford wasn’t as sharp. Beyond the aforementioned interception by Okudah on the free play, the veteran quarterback fired one directly into the breadbasket of Amani Oruwariye on a third-and-long, resulting in another turnover. 

► Undrafted rookie Hunter Bryant continues to offer intriguing potential as a pass-catcher. His speed and athleticism have been an issue for the team’s safeties during individual work and the Washington product hauled in a bomb from third-string quarterback Davis Blough (although the quarterback would have been sacked on the play if he wasn’t wearing a red, no-contact jersey). 

Bryant has a long way to go as a blocker, but he looks like he has the talent to contribute at this level. 

► It’s unclear why, but Will Harris has taken first-team safety reps ahead of Tracy Walker the past two days. There’s no reason to believe this is how the depth chart will shake out once the season starts. 

► Speaking of safeties, Duron Harmon showed off his ability to track a ball from a deep alignment, quickly closing ground and physically breaking up a long throw to wide receiver Marvin Hall. 

► Rookie Jonah Jackson continued to take the majority of the first-team reps at right guard. He had a nice pull block to spring Kerryon Johnson on a carry to the left side. In the negative column, Jackson was slow to pick up a Jarrad Davis blitz up the middle, which would have resulted in a sack or throwaway. 

Overall, Jackson had a good first week and looks like he will be able to hold his own if he gets the call in Week 1. 

► The defense disrupted the pocket quite a bit on Friday with Davis, Julian Okwara, Reggie Ragland and Frank Herron each generating pressure that likely ends in a sack in a game situation. 

► In one-on-one pass rush drills, center Frank Ragnow suffered a rare loss, getting decisively beat by Danny Shelton on one rep. Romeo Okwara also got a clear win against right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, powering under the lineman’s punch. 

► We finally got a look at the punters in a team setting and both offered a mixed bag with their boots. In terms of consistency, Jack Fox had the slight edge. Both he and Arryn Sippos had at least one punt that didn’t make it 40 yards, but also 50-plus-yard efforts that pinned the returner against the sideline. 

In terms of holding, Matt Prater didn’t miss with either punter aligning the ball, although he did push one left of center on ahold from Sippos. All of Prater’s misses in camp have been pushed left on Sippos holds. 

► Huntley struggled in a return man role, muffing two punts. 

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