Skip to main content

TWENTYMAN: 5 things to keep an eye on before training camp

All is quiet in Allen Park as the Lions players and coaches enjoy this time off before the start of training camp. This is an important rest and recovery time for the players before they start the rigors of training camp. The rookies report for training camp July 19, and will be joined by the veterans July 26.

This is the slow time in the NFL, but it doesn't mean things are completely silent. There is still a list of things to do before the start of camp and the true beginning of the 2018 NFL season.

1. Get healthy and stay healthy. The Lions had players working through rehab regimens during the OTA and minicamp practices. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah and receiver TJ Jones weren't full participants as they worked themselves back from injury. Safety Tavon Wilson and guard Joe Dahl were limited this spring by lingering injuries that forced them to wear the red no-contact jerseys in OTA and minicamp practices. Ideally all players are ready to be full participants at the start of camp.

View the best photos of the defensive backs from offseason workouts.

The second part is staying healthy over the next month or so. Last year, punter Sam Martin injured a foot away from football early in July that forced him to miss training camp and the first six weeks of the season. He never really found his groove after so much time off, and recorded the worst statistical season of his career. Avoiding the non-football injury list is key for all 90 players over this stretch.

2. The NFL's Supplemental Draft will take place July 11, and there could be interest from teams for three players eligible for this year's draft. Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant was on's list last year of college football's fastest players and most freakish athletes after running the 40 in 4.24 seconds and deadlifting 600 pounds. Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal has terrific length at 6-foot-1. He broke up 10 passes last season and intercepted two balls. Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander has terrific size at 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds.

If the Lions choose to participate, they'll submit the highest round they're willing to sacrifice for a player, and that player goes to the team with the highest submitted pick. The team will forfeit that round's pick in next year's draft. The Lions have a deep secondary. Will they be players in the supplemental draft? Detroit is currently projected to have nine selections in next year's draft.

Since 2010, five players have been selected in the supplemental draft, led by Josh Gordon in 2012. The last player selected was offensive tackle Isaiah Battle in 2015 in the fifth round. The Lions have only selected one player in the supplemental draft in franchise history: Cornerback Kevin Robinson in 1982.

3. July 16 is the deadline for the Detroit Lions to agree to a long-term contract extension with Ansah, who is currently set to play the 2018 season on the team's one-year franchise tag. After this date, Ansah may play only on the tag for the 2018 season, and no contract extension can be worked out between him or the club until after the Lions' last regular season game.

Ansah had 12 sacks last season, and has the most sacks (44) by any Lions player in their first five seasons. He's currently fifth on the team's all-time sack list.

4. GM Bob Quinn has proven throughout his Lions tenure that roster building never really takes a vacation. He's always looking to improve the team. You can be sure he'll keep an eye on all the league's transactions over the next month, and will also keep tabs on some of the league's current free agents.

The Lions' roster looks pretty solid on both sides of the ball, but if they do look to add a player, it wouldn't be too surprising if they look to add to their front seven on defense before the start of training camp.

5. If a deal isn't done with Ansah before the July 16 deadline, he'll no-doubt be Detroit's biggest free agent heading into the 2019 offseason, but wide receiver Golden Tate is also playing out the last year of his contract.

Tate has recorded at least 90 catches in each of his four seasons in Detroit. He led all receivers in yards after the catch last season. A couple seasons ago, the Lions inked cornerback Darius Slay to an extension in late July. Last year, veteran safety Glover Quin got a two-year extension.

Will the Lions look to extend Tate, 29, sometime before training camp? Before the seasons begins? Or will they let him play out this season and see what happens next offseason?

Related Content