Detroit Lions Training Camp – Novi Preview


Photo by Kent Lee Platte, Training Camp 2014

It’s that time of year again.  Detroit Lions training camp time.  Today, the Detroit Lions will be training at the Novi High School, where expectations are high and so far the weather looks perfect.  We’re still a few hours away as I write this, but I polled you last night and this morning on who you’d like to see pictures of and who you would like me to keep an eye on.  To that end, here are some quick previews on what I’ll be looking for at Detroit Lions training camp in Novi today.

Zach Zenner!!!!!!!!

I get it, folks.  I was a fan of his college tape, too, and I had already planned on keeping an eye on the former South Dakota State standout.  After rushing for…pretty much all of the yards in college, Zach Zenner put his name on the national map leading to some late hype around the draft.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t drafted, but the Lions snagged him early and I literally jumped out of my desk and scared my coworkers.  Here’s the snag.  It doesn’t really matter how good he is as a runner. I know that seems counter-intuitive to some of you, but he isn’t going to be getting the first team carries that he’d need to push himself into the rushing lineup early.  Instead, he’ll need to win on special teams and show the rushing stuff later.  From what I’ve heard, he’s worked almost exclusively as a teamer, which sounds bad but is actually good for his prospects.

Eric Ebron

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After the (stupid) Eric Ebron Drop Counter was pushed on us during OTAs, fans once again turned on the 2014 10th overall pick.  Since that time, he’s been making

play after play

and getting into fans good graces.  It’s going to be a long road, most fans were against Ebron from the moment his name was announced at the draft, but he’s been doing everything right this offseason and just needs a chance to show what he’s capable of.  Though overblown, his hands are still a concern that I’ll be paying attention to.  More concerning to me is his ability to separate, even in camp, over the middle and to win at the catch point.

Ziggy Ansah’s linemates

I’m not going to name anyone specific, because we don’t even know who’s playing at 3 of the 4 defensive line spots.  Haloti Ngata is sidelined with a minor hamstring injury, Jason Jones is dealing with injuries (Again, surprise I know), and the RDT spot hasn’t been taken over by anyone yet.  LDE, LDT, and RDT could be taken by any combination of Larry Webster, Devin Taylor, Daryl Tapp, Philip Hunt, Caraun Reid, Tyrunn Walker, Gabe Wright, or someone else.  It’s messy at those positions and someone has to separate early.  If the preseason games are stating and nobody has taken the spot as their own, it’s likely going to be a huge problem as the season goes on.

Kyle Van Noy

With as well as Tahir Whitehead played last season, DeAndre Levy winning everywhere, and Stephen Tulloch looking healthier than he has since joining Detroit, Kyle Van Noy seems to be the forgotten man of Detroit Lions training camp. After training up to acquire Ziggy Ansah’s former teammate, the Lions were disappointed to see him on the sidelines for half of the season and then only limited action after his return.  Van Noy has both talent and skill and should be an interesting piece in Teryl Austin’s defense, but I’m interested to see how he looks after recovering this offseason.

The Unknowns

Every year, players are signed that most fans have never heard of.  “Camp Body” they say with a smirk when the player is signed.  Often, that’s right.  Most players that see camp never see a final roster.  That doesn’t mean we ignore them.

That is Jarred Haggins. Looks good, right?  In four years of college, in a high pass offense, Haggins managed only 21 career catches, with a season high of only 11.  Statistically speaking, this is a guy you should probably just ignore.  Then again, a thought came to me.  If you had a tight end who had only 19 catches in his career, would you give them much of a chance to make a roster?  To contribute?  To be a leading target for a heavy pass offense in the NFL?  You know I’m baiting, so you’re probably answering yes, but if you’re being honest, the answer is probably No.  Larry Donnell played for Grambling State in college and was basically a non factor there.  He caught 63 passes in 2014 for the New York Giants.  Crazy, right?

I may joke about the unknown guys and talk about their chances, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be ignored.  Sometimes, a perfect storm happens and guys just blow up.  What do you think?  Who are you excited to see in training camp today?  Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MathBomb and I’ll do my best to check up on them and post my thoughts in real time!

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