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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Detroit Lions position battles ahead of NFL training camp rankings

By meerna Jul11,2024
Detroit Lions position battles ahead of NFL training camp rankings

The Detroit Lions, coming off a run to the NFC Championship Game, will enter training camp as one of the favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIX.

Before training camp commences, though, for the Lions July 27, there are many intriguing storylines to examine regarding the reigning NFC North champions, including the team’s various position battles.

Let’s take a look now at the five biggest battles for Detroit as it gets ready for camp.

5.) No. 2 QB

Although this comes in at No. 5 on my list, this is a more consequential battle than you may think. If Jared Goff misses any significant period of time, the winner of this battle becomes an extremely integral member of Detroit’s roster.

Currently, this is a two-man competition between career reserve quarterback Nate Sudfeld and second-year passer Hendon Hooker. This appears to be Hooker’s battle to lose, although the Tennessee product didn’t have the best performance in OTAs. He struggled with his timing and accuracy, and showcased some significant rust after rehabbing a torn ACL for most of last season.

If I were a betting man, I’d pick Hooker to win this competition, and to enter the 2024 campaign as Goff’s backup.

4.) No. 3 RB

Incumbent Craig Reynolds is the favorite to land this job out of training camp. However, the battle for the No. 3 RB position could heat up if rookie Sione Vaki and third-year pro Zonovan Knight have strong showings in camp.

Reynolds had a productive season last year, rushing for 179 yards and 4.4 yards a carry on 41 attempts. So, it likely will be difficult for Vaki and Knight to knock him off his perch.

3.) No.2 LB

Alex Anzalone is the clear-cut leader in the Lions’ linebackers room. Yet, the battle behind him – specifically for the MIKE linebacker position – should be intense between second-year pro Jack Campbell and fourth-year player Derrick Barnes.

Barnes made significant strides in 2023, and will certainly give Campbell a run for his money in training camp. However, Campbell, a first-round pick in 2023, enters camp as the favorite to land the job after taking his fair share of lumps as a rookie.

Detroit is hoping that Campbell learned enough from his rookie campaign to take the next step and become a reliable starting linebacker. If the Iowa product does show signs of growth, it will go a long way toward stabilizing the linebacker unit.

2.) No. 3 WR

The Lions have a void to fill in their receivers room with the offseason departure of Josh Reynolds.

Reynolds had a tremendous rapport with Detroit signal-caller Jared Goff, and emerged as a reliable No. 2 receivers for the Lions a season ago. Third-year pro Jameson Williams will move up the depth chart to take Reynolds’ spot as the No. 2 receiver in 2024. However, with that said, Detroit has a hole to fill at the No. 3 receiver spot.

Donovan Peoples-Jones and Kalif Raymond are expected to battle it out for the No. 3 WR job, and Peoples-Jones, from all accounts, has the leg up headed into training camp. Second-year pro Antoine Green and undrafted free agent Isaiah Williams could also be dark-horse candidates for the job, although both are much more likely to fill out the bottom of Detroit’s WR depth chart in 2024.

1.) Kick

The battle between Michael Badgley and Jake Bates for the starting placekicker job will be one of the most intriguing throughout camp.

Badgley, the incumbent, didn’t miss a single field goal in either the regular season (four attempts) or postseason (three attempts) last year. Despite that being the case, Bates – a sensation with the Michigan Panthers this spring – appears to be on his heels. Bates emerged as a long-distance FG specialist with the Panthers, and quickly gained a following from Lions fans for his variety of 50-yard and 60-yard field-goal makes at Ford Field. The fan favorite, with a solid showing in camp, would have a serious shot at supplanting Badgley as Detroit’s No. 1 kicker.

By meerna

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