Rookie defensive lineman Josh Paschal made his practice debut Wednesday, but the Detroit Lions are “still looking at a while” before they get Paschal’s draft classmate, wide receiver Jameson Williams, on the field.
Lions coach Dan Campbell indicated Wednesday that Williams is several weeks from being cleared to practice, though Campbell said Williams is “really improving” as he returns from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
“I know Jamo is really, over the last three weeks, it’s really picking up in a good way,” Campbell said. “So it’s hard to put a deadline as to when (he and Romeo Okwara will) be out there, but I think you’re still looking at a while. I mean, certainly, a good time after the bye before we even think about it.”
The Lions traded up to take Williams with the No. 12 pick of April’s draft knowing Williams would be out until at least the midpoint of the season.
Williams tore his left ACL on Jan. 10 in Alabama’s national championship game loss to Georgia. He underwent reconstructive surgery less than a week later, a procedure that involved taking a piece of tissue from his patella tendon to build a new ACL, and is on the non-football injury list.
Once he returns to practice, the Lions will have 21 days to promote Williams to their 53-man roster.
On Wednesday, the Lions started the three-week practice window for Paschal, their second-round pick who underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason, and cornerback Jerry Jacobs.
Jacobs tore his ACL in a Dec. 12 loss to the Denver Broncos last year, about a month before Williams’ injury. He told the Free Press last week he expects to return to game action Oct. 23, after the Lions’ Week 6 bye.
Campbell said he is anxious to get both Jacobs and Paschal back in the lineup. Jacobs started nine games at cornerback last season, while Paschal should add depth to the Lions’ sputtering pass rush.
“We like both of those players, that’s the reason why Jerry was a starter for us at one point last year and the reason why we drafted Paschal,” Campbell said. “It’ll be good to get them back and let them begin to work into practice, see where they’re at.”