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Detroit Lions minicamp recap

By Curt Steele,

Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) and running back Jahmyr Gibbs (26) walk off the field after practice during minicamp.

The Detroit Lions finished their minicamp on Thursday, a part of the third phase of OTAs (Organized Team Activities). Most of the team will be going on summer break this weekend; here are some quick observations from the past three days.

The Lions' offense is currently in the process of coming together. The team has seen a lot of changes in key skill positions, resulting in a brand-new backfield featuring rookie Jahmyr Gibbs and free-agent acquisition David Montgomery. However, both players have faced some injury setbacks during the spring. Gibbs was used in multiple roles during OTAs that showcase his speed and ability to catch passes out of the backfield.

Jared Goff is currently working on building a rapport with Marvin Jones Jr, who recently rejoined the Lions after two seasons with Jacksonville. Similarly, Goff and second-year wide receiver Jameson Williams have faced challenges getting their timing right during offseason practices. Williams and Goff spent time on the sidelines working on getting on the same page between sessions.

Sam LaPorta has impressed coaches during spring workouts with his exceptional speed and catching ability on the field. If he maintains this level of performance throughout training camp, he may have a shot at becoming the starting tight end on the offense.

It was difficult to evaluate the offensive line due to the no-contact regulations of OTAs. Right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai ("Big V") is expected to assist in anchoring the right side alongside Peini Sewell after his return from injury. Unfortunately, Frank Ragnow's toe injury, which has affected him for a few seasons, limited his participation. The O-line will have the opportunity to come together as a unit during training camp.

During OTAs, the defensive line showed dominance in their play. This did not come as a surprise considering the contact rules and the fact that they were playing against the Lions' backup offensive line. However, it remains to be seen how well rookie DT Brodric Martin will integrate into the Lions' defensive line, and training camp will provide the answer to this question.

Third-year linebacker Derrick Barnes has taken on a starting position alongside Alex Anzalone. He has demonstrated significant progress and caught the attention of the coaching staff. Meanwhile, rookie linebacker Jack Campbell has been mainly practicing with the second unit during OTAs. Although he has shown some potential on the field, he still needs to earn his way to become a starter.

The Lions secondary has undergone significant improvements during their offseason workouts. CJ Gardner-Johnson and Cam Sutton have played key leadership roles amongst the defensive backs and have effectively challenged Jared Goff and the other quarterbacks. Safety Kerby Joseph has also demonstrated progress in his role in the back end of the defense. The entire group has shown improvement compared to their performance last year.

During minicamp, the Lions had some players returning from injury who participated in a limited capacity. These included cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (recovering from an ACL injury), safety Tracy Walker (recovering from an Achilles injury), and defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike (recovering from a back injury). Lions rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker threw passes to receivers after the final two practices on Wednesday and Thursday. It seems that they are making progress towards being able to fully participate in training camp when the team returns at the end of July.

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