The Lions have 29 players on the field for rookie camp this weekend: eight draft picks, 12 undrafted free agents and nine tryout invites. The three-day minicamp doesn’t reveal a whole lot, but it does provide a nice baseline for the coaching staff.
??”I would say we’re trying to get them acclimated with what we’re doing schematically, so an introduction to our schemes, offense, defense and special teams,” Detroit coach Dan Campbell said of the goal for this Friday-to-Sunday stretch. “Then, we’re trying to assess their movement skills and their shape: What kind of shape are they in? What do they really look like as athletes now that we’re around them?”
The Lions were on the field for a little less than two hours Saturday. They opened with an 11-on-11 install, closed with a quick seven-on-seven period and worked a handful of wide receiver/defensive back drills in between.
A few observations on how it looked:
• No. 2 NFL Draft pick Aidan Hutchinson comes with a reputation of never taking reps off. And that was on display even in this (relatively) relaxed setting. When the D-line was working to the side on agility and bag drills, Hutchinson was popping the tackling dummies at every swipe. After one rep, defensive line coach Todd Wash even came up and tossed an arm around him as if to tell him to keep up the good work.
“This is what I do at the end of the day,” Hutchinson said. “All that talk … I hate the talk. It’s been a lot of months of talking, a lot of rah-rah. But now we’re out here getting the work in, which is what I do.”
It was interesting to watch Hutchinson and second-round pick Josh Paschal go through those agility drills back to back because there was a clear contrast in styles. Both were at max-effort levels, but Hutchinson showed far more bend than Paschal in slicing through the bags.
That fits the scouting reports and likely usages for the Lions’ rookie defenders. Hutchinson will play almost exclusively off the edge, with an occasional inside rep; Paschal figures to see most of his 2022 snaps as an interior pass rusher (where he won’t need that bend as much), but with the versatility to help elsewhere.
“I think I fit as that guy — a big guy, a big defensive end,” Paschal said. “That’s what we’re calling it. I feel like I can play across that front, but particularly on the edge, or even if I need to kick inside for the run game. I can do that, too, and for the pass game.”