Detroit Lions: 3 players excelling throughout training camp

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

The NFL regular season is set to start in just two weeks.  With the league canceling its preseason schedule, we’ve shifted our focus to the Detroit Lions training camp.

As the 2020 training camp treks on, the Detroit Lions have had some players dazzle and earn themselves more reps.  We’ve seen a bothersome string of injuries and practice absentees. We’ve also seen a host of players’ stock fall during camp.

In this article, we’re going to go over a few players whose stock appears to be on the rise.

WR Quintez Cephus

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The Detroit Lions selected Cephus in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.  It’s a position the organization is currently rich with talent, but the teams’ top three pass-catchers are all entering the final year of their current contract.  Detroit will likely prioritize re-signing Kenny Golladay, but having enough money to retain Marvin Jones or Danny Amendola remains in question.

The Lions drafted Cephus leaving his playing expectations in question, knowing how deep Detroit is at that position. Still, with his constant improvement this summer, it will be difficult for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to keep him off of the football field.

It helps that Cephus can play inside as a slot receiver or as an outside pass-catcher.  Detroit’s rookie corner, and third overall selection in 2020, Jeff Okudah regularly claims Cephus had been the most challenging receiver he had to cover in college.  Cephus amassed 901 receiving yards on 59 receptions averaging a stellar 15.3 yards per catch.

During training camp Cephus has proven time and time again to be able to catch anything thrown his way; he’s a sure bet to make an impact now and in the future with Detroit.

G Jonah Jackson

The Detroit Lions elected to choose back-to-back guards in the 2020 NFL draft understanding they’d need to replace the versatile Graham Glasgow.  Glasgow left a void at right guard the Lions needed to fill, and the general manager Bob Quinn chose a pair of rookie guards to compete for the opening.

Jackson started his college career with Rutgers before transferring to Ohio State for his fifth year after being redshirted in year one.  He’d be forced to learn five different offensive schemes in five years.  Now, he’s learning his sixth scheme over the last six seasons.

Quinn had this to say of the potential new starting right guard recently in an article published by Mlive;

"“Really tough guy,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said. “Strong, athletic, smart, nasty. I mean, any O-line trait that you put in the scouting manual, this guy has it.”"

The Lions immediately penciled Jackson in as the starting right guard right from the first day of training camp.  Detroit also selected Logan Stenberg from Kentucky just a round later, but he appears to be destined to start the season as the first guard off of the bench as Joe Dahl looks to retain his job as the starting left guard unless the Lions opt to turn back to the ‘guard rotation’ from a year ago.

CB Tony McRae

At the beginning of training camp, I felt that Tony McRae would be a long-shot to make the roster because the Lions already had a plethora of cornerbacks, and special teamers rostered.  McRae entered the NFL as an undrafted player in 2016 and bounced around early on but found a home with the Bengals last season playing in all 16 regular-season games, even starting two.

McRae has enjoyed a spectacular camp with Detroit.  He also has an ‘in’ when it comes to the organization while making their final roster decisions.  McRae followed newly appointed Special Teams coach Brayden Coombs, a former Bengals coach to Detroit this offseason.

McRae has been a pass break-up machine this summer during team scrimmages.  He’s also excelled as a gunner on special teams.  He’s a corner that performs better in the slot rather than playing outside.

The Detroit Lions do lack slot corner depth behind Justin Coleman, and McRae seems like he’s about to emerge as the best ‘nickel’ option over both Darryl Roberts and Mike Ford.

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McRae made 22 tackles last season and defended one pass.