The Detroit Lions have been at training camp for a few weeks already, and as things will soon push to a close, there’s a major question that is beginning to circulate within the fanbase.
Who have been the most impressive players on the field?
While it can be difficult to pinpoint a small number given there have been plenty of standouts, there are several names that have stood out for the Lions thus far in a big way and are making a name for themselves during training camp time to set them up for a huge season.
Here’s a look at the players in 2020 that have gained the most traction in recent weeks.
Tracy Walker, Safety
Back last season, the Lions let Quandre Diggs walk in a move which was seen as particularly stunning at the time given the veteran’s play in the team’s defense. Few understood why the Lions would deal a young safety coming into his prime that they had just extended. More and more, it’s looking like the answer to that question could be Walker, who has had a solid camp so far to help lead in the resurgence of the safety position on the team. Walker can play a number of roles and the team suddenly has good depth at the spot. They can use him in a ton of spots and Walker could be poised for a huge breakout this season to make his mark in the league. He is a potential Pro Bowler in the making to watch.
Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback
While rookie phenom Jeff Okudah has been steadily improving during camp, Oruwariye has been simply steady, often times taking first team reps at practice opposite Desmond Trufant. After a rookie season which saw the former Penn State standout come into his own late with 2 interceptions, it’s possible the best might be yet to come in Oruwariye’s sophomore season in the league. If he doesn’t start, he will undoubtably have a big role for a defense which will crave his size on the back end. So far, he’s been one of the most pleasant surprises on the defense for a team that needs depth at cornerback.
D’Andre Swift, Running Back
Swift has had a few injuries nag at him during camp which has limited the amount of time he can be on the field, but when he’s been out there, he’s been a revelation. Speed and particularly pass catching have been obvious strengths early on, and it’s clear that Swift is going to be in the mix to get plenty of carries early on for the offense and see the field a ton. That doesn’t mean Kerryon Johnson won’t have an equally big role, but Swift has been very impressive and has shown why the Lions were lucky to snag him with their second pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.
T.J. Hockenson, Tight End
Detroit’s tight end has a new look body and has been able to use it to his advantage to be a matchup nightmare for the team’s defense in camp. All of this bodes incredibly well for the season, where the Lions need Hockenson to be a force in order to help the offense be more well rounded. So far, Hockenson has done what he has had to do to take the next steps, and that’s especially true off the injury which cost him late in 2019. It’s been a new start for the tight end, and the Lions should be excited at what he can bring to their offense coming up this season.
Da’Shawn Hand, Defensive Line
Another case of a potentially forgotten man due to health, Hand might not be on top anyone’s list of players expected to make an impact thanks to the fact he’s missed a few seasons with injury problems, but in camp, he’s been pushing folks around in the trenches, giving the Lions’ defensive line the look of a much deeper group. If Hand comes back and is the player he was as a rookie in the middle of the team’s line, that will be phenomenal news for the team. So far, it feels like as if this could be the case in 2020, and the Lions can use Hand in a ton of ways to maximize his talents.
Bonus: Quintez Cephus, Wide Receiver
Wideout can be a tough spot to transition to in the league, but fortunately, Cephus has a solid group to rely on in Detroit in order to help in that shift, and has been a tough cover for the team’s defense in training camp. Detroit has to like the depth that Cephus will be able to provide to the group, and his route running and ability to make tough catches has impressed the team so far. It feels like Cephus is going to be a quiet force at the next level and make a huge difference for the back end of Detroit’s wideout group on the back of a solid camp performance.