ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- One week of organized team activities are done. Two more weeks to go before the Detroit Lions end their spring workouts with a mandatory three-day minicamp.
After seeing the Lions up close for one practice, here are some things to pay attention to entering the second week of OTAs. And remember, attendance at these workouts is voluntary so no need to freak out if a guy misses a day or something.
1. What’s up with Tahir Whitehead? The linebacker didn’t practice during the open OTA last Wednesday and it isn’t entirely clear why. Unlike, say, Glover Quin, who wasn’t there due to a family commitment, Whitehead was at practice, just not participating. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s out there this week and what role he plays. Rookie Jarrad Davis handled the middle linebacker spot and that’s where the Lions envision Davis playing long-term. So where does Whitehead play? The likely spot is on the weak side, where free-agent signing Paul Worrilow worked with the first team last week. The linebacker competition between Worrilow, Whitehead and potentially Brandon Copeland and Antwione Williams will be one to watch.
2. How are the safety reps divided? Quin was not present last week, but no reason to think he won’t be there next week. When he returns, he’ll slide into a starting safety spot, presumably next to Tavon Wilson. But could Miles Killebrew get some first-team looks next to Quin? It’s definitely possible. He took a lot of the No. 1 reps with Quin absent and he could push for a larger role this season. More interesting would be how Detroit mixes-and-matches the safeties with the second team. Alex Carter appears to be learning the position in an effort to make the roster, but it’s a tough competition there between Quin, Wilson, Killebrew and special-teams whiz Don Carey.
3. Teez Tabor: The rookie said he was dealing with a hamstring injury when he spoke to the media last week and he was limited last week to individual drills. Cornerback is one of the toughest positions for college players making the transition to the pros and if he’s missing reps in the spring, it could hurt his production in the fall. He’s not expected to be a starter this season, but any time is valuable at this point. If he does team drills, it’ll be interesting to see where the Lions line him up. The guess here would be somewhere with the No. 2 unit -- either in the slot or outside since he has experience playing both.
4. The depth receivers: Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are secure. Kenny Golladay is a rookie, but he clearly gives the Lions something they didn’t have last year and should develop. But the competition between TJ Jones, Jace Billingsley and Jared Abbrederis will be worth monitoring all throughout camp. Abbrederis made an impression with a strong practice last week. It’s here where I’ll caution that it’s only one practice, but player after player have used strong spring practices to build on leading into camp and a surprise roster spot. As an example, Kerry Hyder and George Johnson were roster afterthoughts in the spring before they made the team. So, keep an eye out for Abbrederis.
5. Theo Riddick: Still don’t expect him to do much as the Lions have a history of slowly bringing back established players from injury. As long as Riddick is ready by some point in August, then the Lions have no reason to be concerned about their dynamic pass-catching back. You shouldn’t be, either.