Twentyman: My five observations from the Lions first rookie mini-camp practice

Posted May 11, 2012

The Lions got their first look at 48 rookies, including the team’s eight draft picks, during the first day of a three-day rookie mini-camp Friday at the team’s Allen Park practice facility.

“It’s the first day,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said when asked about first impressions after Friday’s practice.

“I mean it’s hard. Guys are out there working hard. We have a wide variety of players out there; we have draft picks, guys who are signed free agents and guys who are here on a look-see basis. The biggest thing today is to get the first-day jitters out of the way. They all try to make a good impression and they all did.”

Here are five quick observations from the first rookie practice of the weekend:

1. Ryan Broyles will not participate in the mini-camp.

Broyles was wearing shorts and a white hat out on the practice field Friday and will not participate in any drills this weekend, according to Schwartz.

“He’s not ready to do any of this stuff but he’s working very well,” Schwartz said. “He’s better than we saw him at his Pro Day and he’ll be better tomorrow than he is today.“

The real goal for Broyles is to be ready by training camp and by Week 1. When he does get on the field, though, expect him to fight for the punt return job. Schwartz had his punt return statistics from college at the ready when asked about Broyles after practice.

2. Bill Bentley is smooth.

Bentley, who signed a four-year contract about an hour before practice, looked very fluid in drills and had a terrific break on the ball. He’s not big (5-10, 182), but he plays fast to my untrained eye.

Smooth is probably the one word I would use to describe Bentley’s first practice with the Lions.

3. Fourth-round pick Ronnell Lewis is as physically gifted as advertised.

The former power-lifter has a terrific build and good straight-line speed.

During the team portion of practice, Lewis had one play where he blew right by the right tackle before he could get out of his stance. He shows good quickness and we know the strength is there.

The Lions view his immediate impact on special teams and Lewis was right there in the middle as a wedge buster on kickoff coverage in practice.

“The thing that he really brings to the table that we haven’t had here in awhile is special teams ability,” Schwartz said. “He gives us a little different dimension than we’ve had on special teams.”

4. Chris Greenwood looks like he belongs.

Greenwood looks like a safety, standing a helmet above most of the other cornerbacks. He moves like a corner, though.

Greenwood is an extremely gifted athlete and it didn’t take long to figure that out. He was paired up with Bentley for most of the drills and was right there with him in terms of agility and quickness.

Greenwood started opposite Bentley in the seven-on-seven drills and in the team portion of practice. Greenwood might be from small Division III Albion College, but he certainly looks like he belongs.

5. Patrick Edwards can run.

There was one wide receiver who was constantly getting behind cornerbacks in seven-on-seven and individual drills Friday and that was undrafted free agent Patrick Edwards out of Houston. He even victimized Bentley once.

Edwards ran in the high 4.4s in some workouts, but was clocked as high as 4.57 on his Pro Day. That's a reason he fell in the draft. He looked more like a 4.4 guy on Friday, showing good quickness and decent hands.