Twentyman: Five players that stood out at rookie mini-camp

Posted May 12, 2013

Tim Twentyman weighs in on the top five players - and a few honorable mentions - that stood out to him over the three-day rookie mini-camp

The 49 participants in this weekend's rookie mini-camp were all looking for at least one opportunity to shine in front of Detroit Lions coaches, scouts and front office personnel.

Most did a good job of making an impression, some more than others.

"I just told those guys that every single guy that was here improved their status, whatever that status was, whether they were a guy that was on the practice squad for us last year," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Sunday.

"We think more of them after this rookie mini-camp than we did coming into it. We got a chance to see them work. We're pleased with all of our draft picks coming out of this, pleased with the undrafted guys that have come in. There will be some guys that might not get signed, but they might be first in line if we have an injury or we have something else that comes up.

"All of them improved as football players this weekend and, when you're a player, that's what you have to keep your eyes on."

Here are five players in particular who stuck out the most over the three-day camp:

Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, DE: The Lions fell in love with Ansah at the Senior Bowl because of his length, athleticism and the way he was able to take instructions and produce within their scheme. That was all on display this weekend.

Ansah's quickness and the burst in which he gets out of his three-point stance was most impressive. He gets to the point of attack so quickly, there were multiple times he simply blew past blockers before they could react to him.

He still has plenty to learn, but the athleticism for his size certainly isn't a myth.

Patrick Edwards, WR: A member of the Lions' practice squad last year before he was placed on IR (quad), Edwards showed a very good grasp of the offense and at different positions with in it. He also played both inside and outside receiving positions after being mainly an outside receiver last year.

He also returned both punts and kicks. During one particular punt-return drill, in which the returner had to beat two gunners, Edwards showed terrific quickness in the open field and was able to beat both defenders a number of times.

He's come back this year stronger and will have a chance to make the roster.

Joseph Fauria, TE: A priority signing after the draft, Fauria made a number of difficult catches throughout the three practice sessions. He has a big frame at 6-foot-7-and-a-half and an even longer wingspan. I can remember him only dropping one pass the entire weekend.

Fauria will have to work on his blocking, but he certainly looks like he fits the bill of a playmaking tight end down the field.

Cody Wilson, WR: Schwartz probably described Wilson's weekend the best.

"He's got great hands, has good quickness and picks things up really quickly," he said.

"He doesn't drop many passes and he's in the right spot all the time. That's a good start for him."

There you have it. He was also impressive as a punt returner. He's not the fastest of players, but he's got terrific hands and he always fields the ball cleanly.

Corey Fuller, WR: Fuller was advertised as a burner, who can stretch the field opposite Calvin Johnson, but over the course of the weekend he showed really good hands and the ability to get open in the short and intermediate routes as well.

The former track star at Kansas has terrific speed, but is he's going to have a long career in the NFL, he can't be a one-trick pony. He showed that he's got real potential for an all-around game this weekend.

Honorable mention: running back Steven Miller, linebacker Carmen Messina, guard Rodney Austin and tackle LaAdrian Waddle.