Sneaky training camp battle for the Detroit Lions now has an interesting addition

A sneaky training camp battle for the Detroit Lions gained an interesting addition on Day 1.
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

As position battles go at Detroit Lions training camp this year, it may not be a headliner. In some way, it may be begging for an addition to the mix. Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire recently named it the top position battle to watch at Lions' camp.

"One spot on the defensive interior is certain, and that’s Alim McNeill starting as the upfield attack tackle. McNeill has reshaped his body to permanently move away from being a nose tackle. The move means the NT spot is up for grabs, as is the depth roles around McNeill."

Jeff Risdon, Lions Wire

The Lions look a little thin on the interior defensive line, if we're being honest. Isaiah Buggs and third-round rookie Brodric Martin seem pretty much locked into roster spots at nose tackle, and veteran free agent signing Chris Covington seems to have a good chance to stick too. But that Risdon mentioned undrafted rookies Corey Durden and Chris Smith as having an opportunity to prove themselves, and possibly earn noticeable roles, says a lot about the overall situation.

Sneaky position battle at Lions training camp got an interesting addition on Day 1

When giving injury updates during his press conference to open training camp on Sunday, Lions' head coach Dan Campbell dropped an interesting nugget.

Onwuzurike, a second-round pick by the Lions in 2021, missed all of last season after suffering a back injury during the first practice of training camp. Updates from Campbell about his health this offseason were as vague as they were not very optimistic-sounding. But roughly a year after apparently making a lingering back issue worse, Onwuzurike was on the field for the first 2023 training camp practice on Sunday.

After practice, via, Onwuzurike talked about managing his injury as he ideally will be able to ramp up his activity level.

"I think you 100% have to manage it," said Onwuzurike. "Any injury you get in football, you're going to have to manage for the rest of your life, for the most part. But, I think it'll be at the point where I'm not thinking about it. And as long as I do my preventative work, do some abs, I'll be good. "Preventative stuff -- just coming out early, stretching. You know, doing some core work, the same thing everybody does.""

Levi Onwuzurike

Despite opting out of his final college season due to COVID, Onwuzurike landed late-first round in some 2021 mock drafts. The Lions could use the injection of upside at defensive tackle, and a move toward the realization of a vision where McNeill and Onwuzurike would grow together as future stalwarts. Simply being healthy enough to practice as training camp starts is a notable step for the first of that duo to be drafted.

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