So now that we know there are no real answers coming out of O.T.A’s to all the burning questions we have, we simply have to do the next best thing; speculate like everyone else.
Let’s be honest, there is no way we can watch practice or see footage of what’s happening at Allen Park and not formulate some kind of opinion.
That’s sort of the great American way to give us some instant gratification coupled with a healthy dose of uneasiness since it’s very difficult to find answers when players are only in shorts and there is no contact allowed.
Yet as O.T.A’s rolled along last week, the biggest news would have to be how quickly and almost easily that top pick T.J. Hockenson made his presence felt. With Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay both on the sidelines, this was almost the perfect scenario to force Matthew Stafford to pay more attention to the passing game’s latest prize addition.
It has also been a reminder of how solidly fundamental Hockenson is. He uses his size well and displays an innate knack to adjust to the ball. As a matter of fact, the ball never gets to his body because he uses his hands as good receivers should to pluck it out of the air.
Will Hockenson be a star? Only time will tell, but his effort on every play coupled with never compromising his fundamentals is a very good start combined with the fact that he hasn’t been wide-eyed. The game is clearly not too big for him as he hasn’t been in awe of the stage he’s now on.
Another observation is that second-round pick, Jahlani Tavai, is a good athlete with the right mindset to succeed.
While fans like to be heard, the very fact that Tavai isn’t concerned about their opinion on his draft position is a great start. It’s his job to be the best player he can be regardless of when he was selected. Quite frankly having missed the time he did to injury last season at Hawaii, it was not really his fault he was selected where he was.
But he is exactly what Matt Patricia is looking for in his linebackers. His size combined with very good athleticism and versatility makes him a candidate to contribute sooner rather than later. He is another player that hasn’t looked out of place and has tremendous focus.
He will be a valuable day one contributor on special teams, but I won’t be surprised if he starts getting occasional opportunities on defense most likely towards the second half of the season or so.
He may not be the next Chuck Schmidt or Chris Spielman, but the combination of his ability and effort gives him every chance to eventually make a name for himself in Matt Patricia’s defense.
Beyond that, without pads and contact, it’s hard to tell anything about the offensive or defensive lines and due to players not being present or on the sidelines, it leaves many questions about the secondary and wideouts. All of which means nothing at this point.
So while O.T.A’s don’t provide any concrete answers, they always provide plenty of speculation. By the start of next season, the questions and answers may all have radically changed, but until then, since we are speculating, what do you believe you have learned from O.T.A’s?