This Detroit Lions rookie is turning heads at training camp

Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

One surprising Detroit Lions’ rookie has been making noise at training camp

From the start of Detroit Lions‘ training camp, a couple of rookies figured to make some positive buzz early. Those prospects being their first-round selection in cornerback Jeff Okudah and second-round running back D’Andre Swift. Instead, it’s been a fifth-rounder stealing the early headlines.

One of the Lions’ strongest positional groups going into this season is at wide receiver. After all, the starting trio of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola figure to give Detroit a consistency edge over other NFL teams scrambling to build team chemistry following a stunted offseason.

Yet, Golladay, Jones, and Amendola all have expiring contracts which each slated to hit the free-agent market in 2021. While the Lions’ front office can surely remedy that in the coming months, the importance of developing receivers beyond the projected starting three is paramount.

Luckily for the Motor City, it appears the Lions have hit on a hidden gem during Day Three of the draft. And that’s with the selection of Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus. Here’s what Logan Lamorandier of wrote recently about the Lions’ fifth-round receiver turning heads early in training camp.

"“If Cephus can accomplish what he has in training camp on gamedays, Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell may have no choice but to find a way to get him on the field. … He has simply caught balls thrown to him from every which way, and has demonstrated the good hands that impressed Detroit’s coaching staff pre-draft.”"

Detroit Lions took advantage of a top-tier receiver draft class

To any draftniks out there, this news may not sound all that surprising. The 2020 NFL Draft was speculated as having one of the top wide receiver classes in history. There was so much talent across the board, very good prospects were expected to fall into the later rounds. And that appears to be the case for Cephus.

The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Cephus was called the best receiver by both Okudah and his Ohio State teammate/fellow first-round cornerback, Damon Arnette, had to cover last season. The Badger wideout racked up 59 receptions for 901 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019.

What seemed to hurt the rookie receiver’s draft stock the most, allowing him to fall all the way down to the 166th overall pick, was his poor forty-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine. Cephus posted the worst time of all the combine participants at his position with a pedestrian 4.73 second forty.

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Still, the Detroit Lions received some good reports about Quintez Cephus from sources at Wisconsin with connections to current Lions’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and took a chance. And the early returns have been promising. So good, in fact, Bevell may be forced to inject Cephus into the starting lineup at some point this season.