Lions minicamp observations: Trio of young defensive backs stand out

Detroit News

Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday’s Detroit Lions practice, the second of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp.

► The starting secondary more or less feels settled, although it’s fair to say DeShon Elliott and A.J. Parker still have some work to do to lock up the second safety and nickel corner spots.

Still, there’s plenty of good competition brewing for some of the backup jobs, and with Elliott continuing to sit because of an undisclosed injury, Brady Breeze and JuJu Hughes got extended looks with the top defensive grouping.

Breeze, a sixth-round draft pick for the Titans last season, was scooped off waivers by the Lions in December and appeared in four games down the stretch, logging nearly 100 snaps, mostly on special teams.

A fluid mover in the back end of the defense, he found himself in good position on a handful of plays, even netting a pass breakup in the end zone.

► Another young defensive back who has been standing out in recent practices is seventh-round draft pick Chase Lucas. As he’s seemed to do every practice open to the media, Lucas got his hands on a throw, breaking up a pass intended for fellow rookie Corey Sutton.

Lucas has quick feet, something he demonstrated mirroring shifty slot receiver Kalil Pimpleton on an escape route in the red zone, and the first-year corner also does a nice job communicating with his teammates in the secondary, resulting in a well-executed switch and stop on a pick play near the goal line.

► Another cornerback to keep an eye on as the offseason transitions into training camp next month is Saivion Smith. A former starter at Alabama, he’s bounced around the league a bit his first couple seasons, joining the Lions around the same time as Breeze last December.

Standing 6-foot-1 with good length, Smith plays physical at the line of scrimmage, but is showing he can flip his hips and stay with his assignment down the field, causing a couple deep shots to fall incomplete.

► In addition to Elliott, many of the same names continued to be sidelined by injury, including defensive lineman Josh Paschal, cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu (leg) and the collective coming back from either an ACL or Achilles tendon tear: Romeo Okwara, Jerry Jacobs, Jameson Williams and James Mitchell.

The lone new addition to the injury list is wide receiver DJ Chark, who had been a full participant a day earlier. His reps with the first-team offense were replaced by Kalif Raymond.

► Backup quarterback Tim Boyle, who worked with the third-team offense and struggled a day earlier, had a much better practice on Thursday. He delivered a handful of well-placed passes, showing touch between the layers of the defense.

► Working on another end-of-game scenario, the offense was given the ball at the 25-yard line with just 10 seconds on the clock and one timeout, needing a touchdown. Despite the stiff test, both the first- and second-string groups managed to successfully find the end zone.

Quarterback Jared Goff got things started with a 12-yard pass to receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who got down quickly, stopping the clock with four ticks remaining. Goff then found running back D’Andre Swift, who outran linebacker Julian Okwara to the front pylon for six.

For the second group, it was all Tom Kennedy. Boyle connected with the receiver for a quick, 11-yard pickup before dropping a corner pattern into the back of the end zone for the winner. Veteran cornerback Mike Hughes gave up that scoring strike.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

Articles You May Like

Will This First-Round Pick Be 2023’s Fantasy Football League Winner?
Steelers Making Multiple PS Moves Including Signing WR Denzel Mims
Open thread: Which Lions player has impressed you the most through Week 4?
Lions Worked Out Eight Players
Lions final injury report for Week 4: 3 players ruled out, 5 starters listed as questionable

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *