One of the most experienced and productive position groups on the current Detroit Lions roster is wide receiver. Returning veterans Golden Tate, Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay and TJ Jones form one of the deepest receiver groups in the league.
So, for an undrafted rookie like Teo Redding, making sure he keeps finding ways to get noticed is imperative if he's going to crack the 53-man roster at the position. The Lions kept five receivers on the initial 53-man roster last season.
Through the open OTA and minicamp practices this spring and summer, Redding has done a nice job of making plays and getting noticed when given the opportunity to do so.
"I believe just trying to show (coaches) that you know what you're doing," Redding said of the biggest thing young players like himself have to prove this time of year.
"Taking it from the classroom to the field and showing your ability out there, effort and knowing what you're doing out there. Showing them that you want to be out there."
Redding (6-1, 181) signed with the Lions as an undrafted free agent back in April. He came to Detroit with the reputation for being an explosive athlete. He notched a 38.5-inch vertical, 11-foot broad jump, and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at his pro day. The broad jump would have tied him for tops among receivers at the Combine, his vertical would have tied for third, and his 40 time would have ranked in the top 10.
He showed off some of those explosive traits in minicamp, making a number of big plays down the field with the second and third-team units.
"I've been really impressed with him," Tate said of Redding. "A young guy who can flat out just go get the ball no matter where it is."
Tate said Redding also isn't shy when it comes to asking for advice or trying to pick the brain of the vets.
Redding played at Bowling Green in the MAC – the same conference Golladay (Northern Illinois) came out of last year – and was targeted 72 times last season, catching 45 passes for 624 yards and eight touchdowns. He didn't record a single drop in the process, according to Pro Football Focus statistics.
"I think for us to have a player like that come in when we got him certain skill sets we admired, one being his ability to catch the ball," head coach Matt Patricia said of Redding. "You know, he's long. He's got some good range from that aspect of it and has good catch radius and that was something initially that we saw right away."
Making the 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie free agent will be an uphill climb for Redding. Those players have to stand out and consistently make plays, not just in the spring and early summer, but into training camp and the preseason. That includes the ability to flash on special teams, which usually plays a big role in the guys who make the final few spots on the roster.
Redding's had a good offseason, but he knows he has to keep grinding and continue to impress coaches in August if he's going to make the roster this fall.