Lions offseason questions: Under-the-radar player to watch

We've already talked about new Lions to watch like quarterback Jared Goff, and players with breakout potential like running back D'Andre Swift, but who else should we be keeping an eye on in 2021 that might not already be on the radar?

I asked the Detroitlions.com crew, and here's what they had to say:

Tim Twentyman: Defensive end Julian Okwara

Most of the talk this offseason when it comes to Detroit's defense trying to generate more pass rush has focused on Romeo Okwara, Trey Flowers, some of the new guys along the interior and how new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn might bring pressure through scheme.

Julian Okwara has flown under the radar a bit in those discussions, but heading into his second season, he could be poised for an increased role along the edge. The former third-round pick battled injury as a rookie last season, playing in only six games total. He's healthy, has a good mentor in older brother Romeo, and we normally see a significant increase in production from players going into their second season.

If Julian can give Detroit something coming off the edge, Detroit's defense is instantly better for it.

Mike O'Hara: Wide receiver Victor Bolden

Bolden didn't compile a long resume in his first two NFL seasons, but he can make major additions if he gives the Lions help at wide receiver and in the return game.

Head coach Dan Campbell spoke at minicamp of qualities where Bolden stands out.

"This guy can separate," Campbell said. "He can run. He can change direction."

Bolden played only 15 games for the 49es and Bills combined in his first two seasons. Most of his work was on kickoff returns, where he averaged 21.3 yards on 24 returns in two seasons.

The Lions have an opening for a return man with Jamal Agnew's departure to Jacksonville as a free agent. Watching Bolden in OTAs and the three-day minicamp, he is a candidate to fill that job.

View photos from third day of Lions minicamp on Thursday, June 10th.

Editor's Pick: Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin

Reeves-Maybin showed promise as a rookie on defense in 2017 after being drafted in the fourth round out of Tennessee, but he fell out of favor a bit in 2018 when the new defensive scheme featured bigger-bodied linebackers.

He has played consistently well on special teams during his four years in Detroit, and re-signed with the team this offseason.

New defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn values speed and versatility, which could be a great fit for Reeves-Maybin. There seem to be a lot of spots up for grabs on defense in 2021, and I'm curious to see if Reeves-Maybin can carve out a role for himself.

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