2 Rookies Lead 5 Biggest Lions Training Camp Standouts So Far

Malcolm Rodriguez

Getty Malcolm Rodriguez makes a tackle against Notre Dame.

The Detroit Lions are pushing into their second week of training camp, and while the chance still exists for jobs to be won, the team has already seen several players step up big.

Perhaps the best sign for the Lions? Once again, rookies as well as players who have been underrated before are leading the charge for the team in terms of publicity and hype.

It hasn’t just been those players, however. A few veterans are rising up to give the Lions some depth as well ahead of a new season.

Austin Bryant, Defensive End

Coming into camp, folks were not sure whether or not Bryant would be able to keep his hold on a roster spot, but it seems as if the young defender has surged forward in a big way.

Boosted by some big-time camp work, Bryant has managed to assert himself and look like a player that could work himself on the roster. He’s received complements from the coaching staff and has even showed the team passion by scrapping a bit on the field.

Bryant may have been on the outside looking in before camp, but his work on the field has changed the narrative. He could be a part of the defense for 2022 now.

DJ Chark, Wide Receiver

After signing a one-year deal with the team, many folks likely didn’t know what they were getting in DJ Chark. So far, the former Pro Bowler has asserted himself in a big way and looks like a star in the making.

The wideout has made the most of his opportunity to impress the Lions early on, and turns in big plays on the regular during practices. Once again, Chark made one of the more impressive plays of the camp period stretching out for a catch on Saturday, August 6.

It wasn’t just that play, though. Chark has made big moves during camp to impress the Lions including a diving catch on August 5 as well:

As a whole, Chark has arguably been the most impressive player in camp. That figures in huge for him moving forward in the offense.

Malcolm Rodriguez, Linebacker

The Lions need a young linebacker to come to the forefront, so it’s a good sign that Malcolm Rodriguez is making plenty of headlines early in camp. He’s been aggressive and tough and showed the same traits he did while in college.

After a practice, the Lions posted video of Rodriguez covering some ground on the field. It was notable to watch some of the energy and explosion the newest Lions defender brought:

Rodriguez has been getting hyped for his energy and ability throughout the offseason, but until now, it’s possible many Lions fans didn’t get a chance to see it on full display. He’s shown it during camp nearly every day and received praise as a result.

Aidan Hutchinson, Defensive End

It seems that Hutchinson has been in the league before based on how he handles things on the field. Already, the Detroit rookie knows the defense well and has been setting a tone in the mind of the veterans.

Better than that, Hutchinson has embraced the hard work himself and continues to grind on the field after practice. He seems to understand that there are no shortcuts to hard work in the NFL.

It’s not a surprise to see Hutchinson looking like a future star now, but it is notable to see that transition happening so well and so fast for the Lions. That bodes well for the future of the team and the defense.

Austin Seibert, Kicker

In a bit of a surprise, Seibert seems to be the leader in the clubhouse to become Lions kicker in 2022. That would be a change given the way Riley Patterson emerged for the team late in 2021.

Regardless, reviews about Seibert have been positive, with the kicker looking consistent as well as drilling field goals from long range. This 62 yard bomb has been the special teams talk of Lions camp thus far:

If Seibert can show the accuracy to go with a strong leg, his NFL experience could make him tough to turn down as this year’s leg man. Seeing how he finishes preseason will be key, but so far, so good for the veteran.

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