A look at the 50-man rookie mini-camp roster

Posted May 10, 2013

Tim Twentyman breaks down each player on this weekend's rookie roster, which includes 29 players under contract and 21 participating on a tryout basis

The Detroit Lions will begin their rookie minicamp this weekend with 29 players under contract and 21 participating on a tryout basis.

A number of players who spent last year on the Lions' practice squad are among the 29 under contract and will be in Allen Park taking part in the workouts. Players who haven’t accrued a season towards their NFL pension can participate in the minicamp.

Here is a breakdown of the mini-camp roster:


Alex Carder, 6-2, 215, Western Michigan (undrafted free agent signing): Ended his career ranked third all-time in career passing yards at Western Michigan with 9,116 yards.

John Laub, 6-2, 215, Richmond (tryout player): Started the first seven games of the season before suffering a season-ending injury. Completed 143-of-237 passes for nine touchdowns and 1,722 yards with two interceptions.


Theo Riddick, 5-9, 200, Notre Dame (drafted in sixth round): Played both receiver and running back at Notre Dame. Played in all 13 games with eight starts at running back as a senior. Led Notre Dame with 190 carries for 917 yards (4.8 avg.) and tallied a team-best 1,287 all-purpose yards.

Theo RiddickRB Theo Riddick (Photo: AP Images)

Steven Miller, 5-7, 172, Appalachian State (undrafted free agent signing): Gained 1,438-yard rushing last season with 15 total touchdowns for the Mountaineers. He also had 34 catches for 377 yards.

Tyrell Sutton, 5-8, 211, Northwestern (tryout player): Bounced around to the Packers, Panthers and Seahawks before playing in the UFL in 2012.


Corey Fuller, 6-2, 196, Virginia Tech (drafted in sixth round): Former track star turned football player started in eight of 13 games last year and had 43 receptions for 815 yards and six touchdowns.

Troy Burrell, 5-10, 182, Wayne State (2012 Lions practice squad player): Set WSU career mark for receptions (187) and finished second in career receiving yards (3,132) and touchdowns (27).

Patrick Edwards, 5-9, 175, Houston (2012 Lions practice squad player): Edwards was the 2011 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year with 89 receptions, 1,752 yards, 20 touchdowns and a 19.7 average per catch.

Cody Wilson, 5-9, 191, Central Michigan (undrafted free agent signing): With 230 receptions and 2,729 receiving yards for his career, he ranks third and fifth, respectively, all-time at CMU. He caught a pass in 42 consecutive games, tied for the second longest streak in the NCAA.

Bakari Bussey, 6-2, 205, Ohio (tryout player): Has good size at 6-foot-2, 205-pounds. Finished second on the Ohio team with 37 receptions. His 313 yards receiving were ranked fourth.

Gilleylen Curenski, 5-11, 213, Nebraska (tryout player): A receiver who was switched to running back late in his college career. He signed with Green Bay last offseason but did not make the team.

Ryan Nehlen, 6-2, 203, West Virginia (tryout player): Nehlen has good size at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds. He had seven catches for 37 yards and a touchdown in 13 games last year.

Andre Snipes-Booker, 5-10, 172, Marshall (tryout player): Caught 31 passes for 644 yards (20.4 average) for Marshall this past season. He also returned 11 punts for a 5.2 average.

Travis Tarpley, 5-6, 174, Delaware State (tryout player): A big-play threat in the Hornets' offense as a senior, Tarpley had 86 catches for 1,058 yards and seven touchdowns.


Michael Williams, 6-6, 270, Alabama (drafted in the seventh round): A block-first tight end who has a good shot to make the team as an H-back and third tight end.

Joseph Fauria, 6-7, 255, UCLA (undrafted free agent signing): Led UCLA with 12 touchdown catches in 2012, second on the all-time school single-season list and the most since Marcedes Lewis had 10 in 2005.


Austin Holtz, 6-5, 301, Ball State (undrafted free agent signing): Accrued 32 starts in his four years at Ball State. He was named first-team All-MAC in 2012.

LaAdrian Waddle, 6-6, 321, Texas Tech (undrafted free agent signing): A pre-draft visitor for the Lions, Waddle ended his collegiate career with 38 consecutive starts at left tackle.

Mike Salazar, 6-4, 324, William & Mary (tryout player): All-CAA second-team selection as a senior. Started 22 games at left tackle the last two seasons and 12 games at right tackle in 2010.


Larry Warford, 6-3, 333, Kentucky (drafted in the third round): Warford started the last three seasons at right guard for Kentucky and will have a shot to be the Lions’ Day 1 starter there.

Rodney AustinG Rodney Austin (Photo: AP Images)

Rodney Austin, 6-4, 311, Elon (2012 Lions practice squad): Austin will also be in the mix to win the right guard spot. He impressed Lions coaches with his athleticism on the practice squad last season.

Darren Keyton, 6-3, 305 Central Michigan (tryout player): Started all 13 games at right guard and helped anchor an offensive line that allowed just 15 sacks, which ranked No. 17 nationally.


Skyler Allen, 6-3, 299, Ohio (undrafted rookie free agent signing): Two-year starter for the Bobcats. He recorded 77 pancakes and 77 knockdowns in 2012.

Trevor Marrongelli, 6-3, 303, Kansas (tryout player): Started all 12 games at center, giving him 24 consecutive starts to end his career. Helped pave the way for a running game that averaged 4.6 yards per carry.


Michael Brooks, 6-3, 294, East Carolina (undrafted rookie free agent signing): Second Team All-Conference USA selection in 2012, despite being limited to 10 games because of injury. Still ranked second among all Pirate defensive linemen with 34 tackles.

Xavier Boatwright, 6-5, 305, Presbyterian (tryout player): Had 49 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss as a senior. Has good size at 6-4, 305.

Xavier Proctor, 6-5, 282, North Carolina Central (tryout player): Started all 11 games on the Eagles' defensive front as a senior. Named All-MEAC Second Team. Compiled 42 total tackles (21 solo), 10.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks.


Ziggy Ansah, 6-5, 271, BYU (drafted in the first round): We’ll get our first look of Ansah’s superior athleticism. He only started nine games at BYU but is touted as a rare athlete. He’ll have a chance to start Day 1 at right defensive end for the Lions.

Devin Taylor, 6-7, 276, South Carolina (drafted in the fourth round): He was overshadowed some by Jadeveon Clowney at South Carolina. He’s extremely athletic as former triple-jump state champion in high school. Started all 13 games and logged 40 tackles with 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

Hank Keighley, 6-3, 260, Toledo (tryout player): Started all 13 games for the Rockets as a senior and finished with 39 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Scott Vallone, 6-2, 281, Rutgers (tryout player): Played well in the East-West Shrine game. Three-year starter at defensive tackle finished the season with 58 tackles (20 solo), including 8.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.


Brandon Hepburn, 6-4, 235, Florida A&M (drafted in the seventh round): He was very productive as a senior, tallying 86 tackles (9.5 for loss), 5.5 sacks, seven pass breakups and a forced fumble. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds at the combine and showed some explosiveness in drills.

Brandon HepburnLB Bradon Hepburn (Photo: AP Images)

Carmen Messina, 6-2, 236, New Mexico (2012 Lions practice squad): The Lions liked his development on the practice squad last season. He left college as the all-time Mountain West leader in tackles with 454 stops.

Alex Elkins, 6-3, 230, Oklahoma State (undrafted free agent signing): Did not play football until junior college, but still earned a scholarship and was a two-year starter at Oklahoma State. He led the Cowboys with 75 tackles last year.

Jon Morgan, 6-1, 233, Albany (undrafted free agent signing): Only played in eight games in 2012 because of injury but finished his career with 247 tackles, 106 of which came in 2011.

Josh Francis, 6-0, 224, West Virginia (tryout player): Led West Virginia with 15 tackles for loss as a senior. He also added 57 tackles and 4.5 sacks.


Darius Slay, 6-0, 192, Mississippi State (drafted in the second round): Will not participate in the weekend minicamp after undergoing minor microscopic surgery on his knee last week.

Conroy Black. 6-0, 187, Utah (2012 Lions practice squad): He was signed by the Oakland Raiders last May and appeared in two preseason games before he was cut. In 13 games with the Utes in 2011, Black made 39 tackles, broke up four passes and tied for the Pac-12 lead with four interceptions.

Lionel Smith, 5-11, 184, Texas A&M (2012 Lions practice squad): He was a backup in college but ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day in 2012 and earned a spot on the Lions practice squad last year.

Ross Weaver, 6-1, 210, Michigan State (2012 Lions practice squad): He bounced around to various tryouts and training camps before landing on Lions’ practice squad last year. Has great size and fits Lions scheme.

Al-Rilwan Adeyemi, 5-9, 188, San Diego (tryout player): Spent time in the New York Giants training camp last year but didn’t make the team. Had two interceptions and defended five passes as a senior in 2011.

Michael Ray Garvin, 5-8, 182, Florida State (tryout player): A seven-time All-American sprinter at Florida State, he was a member of the Lions’ practice squad in 2009. His senior season at Florida State in 2008 he was second in the nation in kick returns, averaging 30.1 yards with one touchdown in 22 returns. Ran the 40 in 4.24 at his pro day back in 2009.

Darlos James, 5-10, 175, Maine (tryout player): Had 44 tackles and an interception in 11 games for Maine this past season.

Lance Slaughter, 6-0, 201, St, Bonaventure (tryout player): He worked out for the Lions last year but was never signed.


Martavius NelomsS Martavius Neloms (Photo: AP Images)

Martavius Neloms 6-0, 189, Kentucky (undrafted free agent signing): A versatile player who started at both cornerback and safety while at Kentucky. Had at least 50 tackles (71 in 2011) the last three seasons.

Trever Coston, 5-10, 210, Maine (tryout player): Was a tryout player in the Chicago Bears rookie minicamp last year. He’s got great speed (4.4) for the position and had 83 tackles and six interceptions his senior season at Maine. Can also return punts.

DeAndre McDaniel, 6-0, 217, Clemson (tryout player): He spent time on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad last year. Finished with four interceptions and 75 total tackles his senior season at Clemson in 2011.


Sam Martin, 6-1, 205, Appalachian State (drafted in the fifth round): Martin was the third-leading punter in Division 1-AA last year, averaging 45.9 yards last season, with 25 of 60 punts landing inside the 20.

Blake Clingan, 6-3, 233, Central Florida (free agent signing): Clingan hasn’t played football since 2010, but earned a contract after an impressive tryout earlier this offseason. He had a 41.8 average his senior season at Central Florida with a career average of 39.9.


Havard Rugland, 6-2, 240, Stavanger (free agent signing): The YouTube sensation will have a chance to show off his strong leg this weekend. He worked out for the Lions earlier this offseason, so they know what they’re getting.