The Lions had their 10th and final OTA practice Friday, wrapping up that portion of the offseason training program.
There's still a long way to go before the season starts, but the Lions should now have a pretty good idea where their roster is at, especially on defense where there are a lot of new faces.
"I think where we're different, obviously ... I think we're a little bit younger," defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. "I think we're a little bit faster, overall team speed—linebacker, in the secondary. And I know there's some things about (Teez) Tabor's speed, but then you have (DJ) Hayden, you have some guys who really can run. I think we're better that way, overall.
"I think our athleticism is a little bit better than we were last year, which I like."
Rookie cornerback Teez Tabor showed off his athleticism during Tuesday's open practice with his first interception as a Lion.
"I've just been trying to get my hands on a couple balls, just trying as hard as I can," Tabor said of the play after practice. "Still some things I got to work on though, but that was a good play."
Fellow rookie cornerback, Jamal Agnew, also impressed this week, fielding footballs seemingly at ease in a punt-return drill despite a gusting cross wind on the field.
"I think that comes from practice," Agnew said. "The wind was definitely messing with all of us out there. When it comes to something like that, all you need is reps. It's not as hard as it looks."
Contributing in multiple phases and showing position versatility is important on defense, not only in the secondary, but on the defensive line too. Defensive end Cornelius Washington looks like he could offer some versatility in Austin's defense.
"He is a big, strong man and I think the thing he's going to bring is a really, physical edge setter opposite of Ziggy (Ezekiel Ansah)," Austin said of Washington. "When we get into those situations, the things he can do is he has position flexibility on third down to move inside and be a really capable inside rusher. A big, strong guy inside.
"So, I think he's done some good things (in OTAs). It'll be really interesting to see how we go and how we develop as we get into camp and we really start getting things ready for the season."
DECKER SUFFERS SHOULDER INJURY
Head coach Jim Caldwell announced Tuesday that starting left tackle Taylor Decker suffered a shoulder injury and had surgery Monday to repair it.
"It got repaired and we'll see how he progresses along," Caldwell said. "The doctors will certainly give us updates as he goes … he's on the road to recovery."
The Lions are working on a plan for the offensive line in Decker's absence, and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is confident they can adjust.
"You know, we're going to play five o-linemen," Cooter said. "We're going to figure out who those best five are. Whoever that best left tackle ends up being we're going to play him. If there's an adjustment needed from a scheme perspective, we'll make that. If there's not, there's not."
The Lions have a few in-house options to fill in for Decker while he's out, and they also added tackle Tony Hills to the roster. Hills is a nine-year veteran who spent the last two years with the New Orleans Saints.
STAFFORD IN TOP 100
Quarterback Matthew Stafford was voted the 31st-best player in the NFL by his peers on the NFL Network's Top 100 players of 2017 segment Monday evening. The ranking is a career-high for him.
"I'm excited," Stafford said on the show. "Obviously it's an honor to be on this list. You play this game for the respect of your peers and those are the guys voting on it, so that means a lot to me.
"Obviously it has a lot to do with team success, we win football games people pay attention and I'm just happy to be on it."
Recap all the action from Week 3 of OTAs:
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- The Lions announced Thursday that they have signed free agents DT Ego Ferguson and DT Bruce Gaston.
- Catch up on all the news from Teryl Austin's and Jim Bob Cooter's Tuesday press conferences.
- Cornerback Nevin Lawson knows he needs to make more impact plays, and it's something he's been working on this offseason.
- Mike O'Hara gives his take on how Peter King has the NFC North stacked in his power rankings.
- Jarrad Davis has been quick to embrace the many changes that have confronted him in his transition from college star at Florida to a first-round draft pick.