The mandatory three-day minicamp kicks off in Allen Park later today and runs through Thursday. The minicamp mimics the atmosphere of training camp, and is one of the last events on the summer calendar before the players and coaches break until late July for the start of training camp.
Minicamp provides a good three days of work for the players and coaches. Here are five things I’ll have my eye on:
Two of Detroit’s top players on defense – cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. – have skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason training program.
This minicamp portion of the offseason training program is mandatory, which means any unexcused absence will incur a significant fine. Slay and Harrison both have two seasons remaining on their current contracts, and neither have spoken publicly on why they’ve chosen not to participate in the voluntary portion of the workouts. We’ll see if either takes part in this week’s mandatory minicamp.
View photos from 2019 Detroit Lions Media Day on Monday, June 3, 2019.
2. Offensive line rotation
Through the first two open OTA practices the Lions have been consistent with having Taylor Decker (left tackle), Kenny Wiggins (left guard), Frank Ragnow (center), Graham Glasgow (right guard) and Rick Wagner (right tackle) as the first-team offensive line.
Head coach Matt Patricia said the team would experiment with different combinations throughout the spring and into training camp to ultimately find the best five players.
Will those five take the majority of first-team reps this week?
3. Rookies in the mix
First-round pick T.J. Hockenson has worked himself into a role on offense at the tight end position early this spring, as expected.
Linebacker Jahlani Tavai, the team’s second-round pick out of Hawaii, worked himself into some key reps with the first-team defense in last week’s second open OTA practice.
Detroit’s third-round pick, safety Will Harris, has played some on defense as well.
Wide receiver Travis Fulgham has benefitted from Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. not taking part in practice up to this point as they rehab injuries.
How will those roles continue to develop throughout minicamp? Can some of the later picks, maybe a player like running back Ty Johnson out of Maryland, make an impression over the next three days?
4. Injury report
A number of players have been on the mend this offseason working through rehab regimens to get ready for training camp and the upcoming regular season. Among those are Golladay, Jones, defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Justin Coleman and rookies Austin Bryant and Isaac Nauta, along with some others.
Being ready for training camp and the regular season obviously is the most important goal, but will we see any of those players get some work in this week?
5. Position competition
The real competition for roster spots begins during training camp, but players can leave an impression with coaches, good or bad, and get a leg up on the competition with the way they perform in OTAs and minicamp. There are a number of positions to keep an eye on.
Let’s start with the backup quarterback spot between current candidates Tom Savage and Connor Cook.
How about the fourth and potentially fifth receiver spots being very much up for grabs with a lot of names in the mix -- Can one or two guys separate themselves from the mix?
The team could decide to keep four tight ends on the roster. Hockenson and Jesse James are in, who is the No. 3 and potentially the No. 4?
Veteran Rashaan Melvin is the favorite to earn playing time opposite Slay at outside cornerback, but there are a number of players, led by third-year cornerback Teez Tabor, trying to give him a battle for the job.
There are interesting storylines and competitions up and down the roster, and the next three days could give us a glimpse of how things might look heading into training camp later this summer.