Now, on to your questions.
#LionsMailbag Which UDFA Rookie that you have seen has the best shot at making the Lions final Roster?— Dan R Davis (@DanRDavis83) June 6, 2018
Dan, good question. It’s still pretty early and these types of things don’t typically get sorted out until late in training camp or if injuries cause attrition. But on first glance, two receivers have stood out the most to me throughout minicamp and the one OTA we watched. Teo Redding and Chris Lacy both have been written down in my notebook in positive ways every practice I’ve watched, usually making some sort of deep catch or circus-type reception. Now they are mostly going against undrafted rookie corners, too, so it is somewhat like talent versus like talent, but the two of them have made some plays in the unpadded workouts.
If they start off training camp making similar moves, the buzz will only continue. It also helps here that if the Lions were to keep five receivers, that No. 5 spot would be wide open. The top three spots seem locked in with Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay. The No. 4 role should go to TJ Jones, who has been limited during the spring after suffering a season-ending injury last year. But a fifth receiver spot could go to one of those two guys or an undrafted rookie preseason sensation of years past, Jace Billingsley.
Question for the local #OnePride beat writers upcoming #mailbag articles. After spending a little time with our coaches, whom would you guess is being groomed for the DC job once Coach Pasqualoni decides to retire? Can't wait to hear what you fellas come up with.— Fake Bob Quinn (@fakebobquinn) June 2, 2018
This is a good question and one that doesn’t have an obvious answer at this point. First, it’s not clear how much longer Pasqualoni, 68, wants to coach. He still seems to have a lot of energy from what we’ve seen in practices, and he’s clearly passionate about the game based on conversations with him. It’s entirely possible that Pasqualoni’s eventual successor isn’t even on the coaching staff. Remember, too, that even if Pasqualoni is the coordinator, this defense is still in the mold of Matt Patricia and that won’t change as long as he’s the head coach.
But if you look at the current staff, defensive backs coach Brian Stewart is the name that stands out. Stewart has NFL experience as a coordinator in Dallas in 2007 and 2008 and has been a DC at three college stops: Maryland, Houston and at Rice last season. So he understands what it would take to run a defense and that is extremely valuable. So if I had to pick someone on the staff at this point, he would be my selection.
David asks via email: Hi Michael! I’m writing you from Portugal so sorry about my possible bad English, I just started watching the NFL and the Lions this year, however I got really addicted and I really love the game and our Lions. I understand and can acknowledge that Frank Ragnow is a great player and probably will have a great future in the NFL and that we need to protect Matthew Stafford, but seeing the condition and weapons of Detroit’s defensive line now in the beginning of training camp, do you still think it was a great choice drafting him in the first round?
David, thanks for the question and for reading on the other side of the Atlantic! Really enjoyed my time in Porto last summer. As to your question, I’m higher on the Ragnow pick now than I was when it was initially made. Ragnow has slid right into the starting lineup (as a left guard, however, not a center), and considering Detroit’s clear plan to fix its run game through the draft, the pick made sense. Plus, there was not a run on defensive linemen immediately after, meaning that at least some teams questioned the value level of the defensive line prospects at that point.
That being said, I still think the Lions could have done well with picking Taven Bryan at No. 20. While it’s tough to judge any line play during unpadded practices, the defensive linemen have not been standing out at all through the practices the Lions have opened to the media. It’s still early, but the defensive front continues to be the biggest question mark Detroit has.