There is a quiet confidence about rookie defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson that is quickly garnering the respect of both his coaches and teammates.
"He's quiet, but a lot of that is because he's a rookie, he knows," head coach Dan Campbell said of Hutchinson this week. "He's very self-aware, he's not coming in here being loud and talking a bunch of trash or doing anything like that, he knows he's got to earn his right.
"He goes out there and he just works his ass off in practice and then in meetings, he keeps his mouth shut until he's asked a question, and so that's exactly what you want in a rookie, he's going to earn their respect."
The No. 2 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, Hutchinson is expected to play a big role in Detroit's defense, and hopefully give their pass rush a much needed boost.
He had arguably his best practice Tuesday as he created havoc from the edge, but also inside when defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn shifted him to the three-technique.
"I'm a very versatile player and they are using me in that way," Hutchinson said of playing both inside and outside. "They are putting me just about everywhere. I know wherever they put me I'm going to dominate and be the player that I am."
That confidence is serving Hutchinson well as he embarks on his first NFL training camp. He doesn't say much, but he makes his presence felt on the field. That's how rookies earn the respect of their veteran teammates.
"I'm young," Hutchinson said. "You've got these guys who have been here for a while and I respect that and I want them to respect me. So, you earn it out on the practice field and in your rookie duties with what you have to do."
Apparently part of those duties included singing in front of his teammates and doing a killer rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean,' which earned high marks from coaches and teammates.
"I was rehearsing the verses in my head for a couple days," Hutchinson said of the performance, which will hopefully air on HBO's 'Hard Knocks' on Aug. 9. "My name was called and I had to step up."
Hutchinson has been stepping up and handling his business from the moment he stepped in the door. He's been everything the Lions hoped for and more, according to Glenn. Hutchinson comes to work, puts his head down, pays attention to the vets and coaches, and then goes out on the practice field and makes plays.
Frank Ragnow is one of the best centers in football, but when he's not mixing it up in the trenches, he's working on his Grizzly Man Outdoors brand.
He's also used his love of the outdoors to help others by starting the Rags Remembered Foundation to share the power of the outdoors to heal and bond families together who are going through tragedy.
Ragnow is all about football right now, and he's back to looking like his dominant self in practice after missing 13 games last year with a foot injury, but he still found time Tuesday to talk fishing with the media when he was asked what his best fishing experience was this offseason.
"Lake Superior, Stannard Rock, 55 miles offshore," Ragnow said. "They call it the loneliest place in the world. It's this lighthouse with this huge rock reef that has giant lake trout. We went out to it one day and I caught a massive lake trout 38 inches and 25 pounds."
Ragnow said he's releasing the video of that trip on YouTube Tuesday night.
TIGHT END COMPETITION
There's a good battle brewing in camp for the No. 2 and No. 3 tight end spots behind T.J. Hockenson.
What is Campbell, who was a former tight end in the NFL, looking for in those roles?
"You need a blocker, which is where I think Brock Wright and where Griff (Garrett Griffin) are battling it out right now," Campbell said. "And then I think you need a hybrid, you need somebody like (Shane) Zylstra that you think can do, he's a jack of all trades, he can do a little bit of everything."
Rookie James Mitchell is recently back from injury. We'll see where his skillset falls on the spectrum the more work he gets in, but it sounds like Campbell is looking for one blocker and another hybrid like Hockenson. We'll see how it plays out over the next few weeks.
- The Lions signed veteran running back Justin Jackson after running back Greg Bell was hurt in practice a couple days ago. "We feel like Bell's going to be down for a little bit there," Campbell said. "And so, we just wanted to make sure that we had another runner in here ready to go, kind of spread the load."
- Hockenson didn't take part in practice Tuesday but said it was just a veteran maintenance day and not an injury situation. The Lions want to be smart with him and keep him healthy for the season.
- Second-year defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike was not at practice. We will likely get an update on his absence from Campbell Wednesday morning.