5 players who must shine at Detroit Lions minicamp

Mandatory minicamp is going this week for the Detroit Lions, and these five players must seize the opportunity to stand out.
Cooper Neill/GettyImages
3 of 3

2. EDGE James Houston

The Lions need someone, or multiple someones, to step up and provide pass rush off the edge opposite Aidan Hutchinson. Houston will not realistically be able to fully replicate the pass rush productivity he had as a rookie in 2022 (eight sacks in seven games), but ankle injury that cost him most of last season robbed him of the chance to have a more full emergence, and show he's more than just a pass rusher.

Houston has some competition for snaps in the non-Hutchinson edge rusher mix, but he arguably has the most raw talent of the bunch. He just needs to show himself as a capable every down player, which can be shown even without pads on in terms knowing where to drop in coverage, etc.

1. QB Hendon Hooker

Hooker is the player who's benefitting most from sheer reps this offseason for the Lions, with the expected ups and downs so far as he shakes rust off and learns the full breadth of the offense. Campbell has noted the importance of that element, as well as the idea Hooker needs to show growth to full take hold of the No. 2 spot behind Jared Goff.

The good thing for Hooker is he is operating with no pressure, as he's not in line to make an impact this year shy of an injury to Goff. He can have the ups and downs he's having right now, without the scrutiny that may fall on someone who's being counted on to do more when the season starts.

Still, it would be a nice to see (read, hear) that Hooker is showing improvement in ball placement, timing, etc. during minicamp this week, which reporters on the ground at OTAs have cited as issues. He has noted the challenge of not overthinking and just playing free, which is an expected residual of having a first NFL offseason and the rust that comes with not having played a game is so long.

If he shows progress in the "paralysis by analysis" element, Hooker's physical tools could really shine this week. In any case, showing consistent improvement is an absolute order during minicamp for the second-year signal caller.

Honorable mentions: OL Giovanni Manu, WR Antoine Green, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, EDGE Mathieu Betts, CB Terrion Arnold, DT Levi Onwuzurike


Next. 5 teams who could trade for Lions quarterback Hendon Hooker. 5 teams who could trade for Lions quarterback Hendon Hooker. dark