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Camp Spotlight: Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin


Position: Linebacker

Ht/Wt: 6-0, 230

College: Tennessee

Experience: Rookie

Outlook: Reeves-Maybin stepped in and played as a true freshman at Tennessee as a reserve linebacker. He earned a starting role at the WILL as a sophomore, and proceeded to lead the Volunteers in tackles as both a sophomore (101 tackles, 11 for loss, two sacks) and junior (105 tackles, 14 for loss, six sacks, four pass breakups).

Reeves-Maybin's senior year, however, was a struggle, and a big part of why he was still on the board in the fourth round for the Lions to select this past offseason. He was ejected for targeting in the season opener, and then missed a majority of the season with a shoulder injury. He finished with just 20 tackles, two for loss.

Now 100 percent healthy, Reeves-Maybin is hoping his speed, instincts and rangy cover skills can earn him a role on defense. His speed could also allow him to succeed on special teams initially, and be a core member of those units.

Tahir Whitehead is the starter right now at the WILL, while Reeves-Maybin tries to learn the scheme and find a role.

Practice report: Reeves-Maybin's best rep of the day came very late in the last team session. He blitzed off the right edge and was able to bend and duck under the attempted block of running back Dwayne Washington without losing any speed to make the sack.

The Lions ask their WILL linebackers to do a lot in terms of blitzing, filling gaps in the run game and covering pass catchers. Reeves-Maybin has to prove he can handle all three.

He played some nickel alongside Jarrad Davis in Monday's practice. Those were a few important reps for him. Most of the day he played with the second team, however.

His speed and cover skills stand out, but there were a few times in the run game he struggled to get off blocks. As an undersized linebacker, that will be something he has to work on.

Quotable: "I just want to be a guy who can stay on the field no matter what down it is, whether that's covering, playing the run or coming off the edge," Reeves-Maybin said after Monday's practice.

"I still have a lot to work on, but I kind of just want to bring that to the field and be able to stay out there all three downs, as well as fourth down."

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