Lions Training Camp: Key Defenders Headline Most Important Players

Jarrad Davis

Getty Jarrad Davis celebrates a play.

The Detroit Lions are getting set to tackle the start of their training camp period in pads, and during that time, it will bring several important players and stories into the forefront.

Like any year, there are multiple important players to watch across the roster, so making sense of the top positions and top battles can make things tough. Fortunately, there’s a way to pair things down so everybody can make sense of things this year.

Who are the most important players during training camp this year? Here’s a look at the top 5 names to remember for the team.

Trey Flowers, Edge

It’s an important offseason for Flowers, who the team is depending on to be their big ticket item up front and be a double digit sack master in the future. How well does Flowers respond this year in a leadership role up front in another full season in Detroit? Last year, he answered the bell and played well with 7 sacks, but more will be needed statistically moving forward, especially since the Lions didn’t sign much more help on the edge this offseason. Getting others to listen to him, dial in and raise their game is the biggest challenge for the Lions heading into next season. The hope is that Flowers sets the tone early in camp and doesn’t look back.

Jeff Okudah, Cornerback

At Ohio State, Okudah has put up some excellent numbers in a short time. He’s collected 78 tackles, 3 interceptions, 16 passes defended and 2 fumble recoveries. Perhaps better than that for the Lions, he didn’t allow a completion over 50 yards this season. That paints the portrait of a player who can be a potential lock down defender at the next level, but is he ready for the rigors of the NFL? That’s what the Lions will soon have to find out. Most believe he is already primed to take the league by storm, but seeing how he reacts in pads during camp will be a huge watch for the team moving forward as it relates to his readiness to play a key position on the field this year.

Kerryon Johnson, Running Back

Most will be watching Johnson’s new teammate D’Andre Swift closest, which is fine. More interesting, however, could be how Johnson himself feels and looks after plenty of time to rehab his 2019 injury and get motivated ahead of a huge season. Adding Swift to the mix could have the unintended (or intended) consequence of motivating Johnson more than ever ahead of a very important season for the team’s ground game. If Johnson is healthy and kicks it into gear, folks forget how lethal Detroit’s running game might end up being. Johnson could be a huge cog for the Lions in terms of getting the ground game back on the right track.

Jarrad Davis, Linebacker

Davis transformed his body this offseason and has generated a ton of hype as it relates to perhaps having a major turnaround season on the field for the Lions. Finally, he will have some help at linebacker moving forward so it will be interesting to watch and see how the team chooses to try and fit Davis into the mix. He could be much better as a free range playmaker at linebacker, so watching to see how good he looks and how the team uses him will be very important during this camp period in 2020. It’s a huge season for Davis and the team, and a solid footing in training camp would be a great start for Davis this year.

Jonah Jackson, Guard

A huge question the Lions will have to answer is what happens at guard. A pair of rookies in Jackson and Logan Stenberg have been added to the mix while other familiar faces have moved on. The Lions need a lot of toughness out of this group up front, and getting the rookies into the mix and playing a huge role would be a huge goal for the team considering they need all the depth they can get. Jackson was a player the team traded up for in the draft, so the expectation is that he plays a big role and can lock down a starting role for the team quickly. How well he does in camp will tell the tale of how the team’s line might perform in 2020. There is a ton of pressure on Jackson and Stenberg, but there are veterans in the mix ready to help them out.

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