During his introductory press conference two weeks ago, first-round draft pick T.J. Hockenson expressed how excited he was to get to work with his new team.
"I’m lucky to be part of this program," Hockenson said at the time. "I’m super excited to get started. Like I said, these guys are starting on Monday. I’m like, ‘Hey, Coach, you mind if I come?’ You know? I want to get started. I’ve got to wait a couple weeks for rookie minicamp to come around. I just want to dive into this playbook and learn from the best.”
The waiting time is over for Hockenson. He and the rest of the Lions' 2019 draft class have arrived in Allen Park, and are taking part in rookie minicamp this weekend.
After minicamp wraps up this weekend, the rookies will join the veterans for the rest of the offseason training program.
VETERANS TALK ROSTER COMPETITION
While the rookies are getting used to their new surroundings, the veterans are continuing to lay the groundwork for the 2019 season.
There looks to be good competition across the roster at a number of different positions, including at right guard.
“The NFL is the NFL for a reason,” offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins, who is a contender for the starting job, said Tuesday at his media session. “There’s competition at every spot on every roster. I always go in being an undrafted guy, thinking they’re going to replace me because I’m an undrafted guy.
“I just have to prove myself and earn the coaches trust and make sure they can trust me being out there – my teammates can trust me being out there. That’s kind of how I’ve gone about my business my whole entire career."
Another competition to watch is at cornerback. The Lions moved on from Nevin Lawson this offseason, leaving a spot open on the outside. Raashan Melvin, who the Lions signed in free agency, thinks he's got a great shot at starting because of how well the scheme in Detroit fits his skillset.
“I think the biggest things that attracted me here was the foundation,” Melvin said Tuesday. “The head coach here (Matt Patricia), the GM (Bob Quinn), the (scheme) was already in place and the free-agent group they brought in. And the opportunity to play on this defense and the man-to-man scheme.”
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- We can laugh at the 'way-too-early' mock drafts trickling out, but far behind the scenes and away from any fanfare, the serious business of preparing for the next draft is well under way.
- Read why running back Kerryon Johnson prepares like he'll get 30 carries a game, even though he knows it's unlikely.
- View photos of Lions players visiting the Macomb Special Olympics Wednesday at Macomb Community College.