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O'HARA: How Lucas' college career helped prepare him for the NFL

Chase Lucas has good reasons to feel that the time he spent at Arizona State prepared him for the jump to the National Football League.

That experience left Lucas feeling more comfortable than most other rookies when he reported to minicamp after being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round.

Lucas spent six seasons at Arizona State, starting with a red-shirt season in 2016. For the last four seasons he played under head coach Herm Edwards, who made all the stops in his NFL career -- defensive back, assistant coach, defensive coordinator and head coach for the Jets and Chiefs.

Edwards stocked his staff at Arizona State with former NFL coaches. Among them were Marvin Lewis, whose many stops as a defensive coach included 16 seasons as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals and Donnie Henderson, whose many stops included the 2006 season as defensive coordinator of the Lions.

Lucas felt like he was in familiar surroundings when he got to the Lions' Allen Park headquarters to begin minicamp and the offseason workouts that would follow.

"I kind of had a pro model my whole time at Arizona State," Lucas said. "I'm very thankful for Marvin Lewis and Herm Edwards. It was just like the NFL. They treat you like men.

"They treat you with respect, but they expect you to do your job. I feel like it was an easy transition for me to come here."

Lucas summed up what he learned from Edwards and his staff in one word.

"Everything," he said. "My knowledge of the game. My work ethic. Just being consistent every day. I feel like that's the biggest thing I've brought from Arizona State.

"It's just kind of embedded in me. It's kind of in my blood at this point."

Lucas, 25, is older than most rookies and has had more playing time than most rookies. That's from playing in the 2020 COVID-19 season and returning in 2021 for a fifth season as an active player.

He played 53 games with 48 starts. For his career he had six interceptions, 28 passes defended and 223 tackles, with 12 tackles for loss.

Lucas said he played slot cornerback primarily in his last two seasons. He took a lot of reps at that position in last Saturday's practice that was open to the media.

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant want him to get experience at different positions, Lucas said.

View photos from offseason workouts on Thursday, May 19, 2022.

"The whole defense, so I can communicate with the linebackers and defensive backs," Lucas said. "I feel like I'm in the right spot. I'm in the right defense."

Lucas made an impression off the field with an awareness of his new surroundings.

He wore a baseball cap with an old English D on the crown when he talked to the media.

"I got this as soon as I got drafted," he said. "I went straight to the Hat Club. I still have the receipt."

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