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Laken Tomlinson earns first-team reps, other OTA observations

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions held their second open organized team activities session of the offseason on Thursday, and while a lot of key players were either not present or sitting out parts of practice, there was a lot to glean from yet another offseason workout.

1. The Lions have a competition at center: Both Travis Swanson and Manny Ramirez took first-team center reps throughout Thursday’s practice – Swanson getting the nod during the first-team session and Ramirez later on. When Swanson was at center, Ramirez slid over to left guard in place of Laken Tomlinson. Tomlinson, however, earned some first-team reps at left guard on Thursday. This is an improvement from last week, when he played mostly second team behind Swanson and Ramirez. That Tomlinson moved into at least a partial first-team role is a good sign for his early development a few months before he expected to be the team’s starting left guard against San Diego in September. Otherwise, both tackles remained consistent with Riley Reiff at left tackle and Cornelius Lucas at right tackle with Larry Warford at right guard.

2. Jeremy Ross didn’t work at kick return: Last year’s primary returner explained that he wasn’t being used as a kick returner Thursday because the focus of the special teams period was kick coverage, so he said that’s where he was assigned to work. However, he took zero reps at kick return Thursday, a position where multiple other players got work. Among them: TJ Jones, Ryan Broyles, Quandre Diggs and Ameer Abdullah. Ross is competing with Broyles and Jones for a potential receiver spot as well. The rookies Diggs and Abdullah both had kick return experience in college.

3. Kellen Moore – the No. 2 quarterback again: Last week, Moore said both he and Dan Orlovsky were working with the second team and that things had been even as far as reps. While reps may still be even, it is notable Moore once again came in as the player right behind Matthew Stafford. That signals Moore is a definitely player, and maybe the leader at this point, for the backup role to Stafford. By my count, Moore was 5 of 7 on Thursday, including a perfect deep ball in double coverage to Lance Moore. Stafford completed 8 of 13 passes. Orlovsky went 7 of 8 and fourth-string quarterback Anthony Boone completed the only pass I saw him throw. As mentioned last week, there’s a chance I missed a pass or two watching something else.

4. Xavier Proctor is now an offensive lineman: After spending two seasons – and two years on the practice squad – at defensive tackle, Proctor showed up as a potential offensive tackle on Thursday. He said Lions coach Jim Caldwell approached him about it and he agreed to give it a shot. I didn’t watch him much – he said he is still picking up the fundamentals of the switch – but at 6-foot-6 and a lean 315 pounds, he definitely has the frame to potentially make the transition if the skill set can follow along. Proctor said the last time he remembered playing offensive line was in high school.

5. Tough to get a real depth chart read Thursday: So many Detroit Lions players either didn’t practice or worked on a limited basis that it was tough to get a true depth chart read. DeAndre Levy, Stephen Tulloch, Brandon Pettigrew, Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson participated in some individual drills but not team drills. Joique Bell, Jason Jones, LaAdrian Waddle, Joseph Fauria, Greg Salas and Darius Slay were all at practice, but didn’t participate and Calvin Johnson, Haloti Ngata and Alex Carter were not on the practice field at all. Mohammed Seisay left practice after a collision and didn’t return. With all those players missing, it was somewhat of a mix-and-match unit and it showed. Here’s an interesting aside for the nickel corner spot – a place Bentley and Lawson will compete when healty. Josh Wilson took a bunch of first-unit snaps there Thursday, but Diggs told me he took first-team reps Wednesday, so it is clearly a competition there.