Friday, June 15, 2012

Things that were noticeable at the Detroit Lions mini camp

- The Lions might be OK at cornerback. I admit to rolling my eyes when I read about defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham wildly praising Aaron Berry, and then there were some news reports that were exceptionally glowing about him. It seemed like typical off-season rhetoric about a player who didn't end the previous season well - and now is just magically better. And Berry didn't end the season well. Not only was he scorched on the field, but his Tweet that berated Lions' fans in a personal sense was reprehensible and a sign of lack of maturity and sense of accountability.
All that said, he does look much improved. I don't recall Berry specifically at mini camp last year, but do from training camp. It's like two different players. He is much bigger and looks faster. Certainly he is moving with more certainty. Rookie Bill Bentley, the Lions' third round draft choice, looked good, too. Jacob Lacey, who played for the Colts last season, is a smaller corner. He looks more like a classic nickel or dime back.

- Rookie free agent running back Stephfon Green has really good speed. He was timed in sub 4.5 at his pro day workout, and looked every bit that fast in the couple off-season workouts I observed. He has a solid, low-to-the-ground frame and could impress once the preseason starts. Green had his moments at Penn State, but many would say they were too few given his speed. He was plagued by nagging injuries and got in trouble off-the-field when he was reportedly charged for purchasing alcohol for minors. He was reportedly thrown off the team by the late Joe Paterno, but later voted back on by his teammates. He had a solid senior season as a backup after missing the early portion of the season. He may be able to help the Lions.

- With Cliff Avril not there because of a contract dispute, and Kyle Vanden Bosch held out for precautionary reasons because of neck surgery, Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson ran at first-team defensive end. I think they are both underrated players. Even though it was a seventh-round pick, I didn't think the Lions did well initially when they selected Young. He was an older player, who had some injury issues in college, and the Lions have literally wasted so many late-round picks down through the years. But I was wrong. Young looks like a player. If Jackson stays on the field, he will make plays. It will be interesting to see if the Lions defensive line can increase its production. The talent is certainly there, not only inside as is so often pointed out, but outside.


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