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Cunningham praises Lions' top draft picks

The SportsXchange

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, after seeing rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah work through 10 OTAs and three days of minicamp, offered some praise.

"He's got a good feel for the game," Cunningham said of the 10th overall draft pick. "A lot of people say it's instincts. I've never heard of a human being having those (instincts).

"Maybe I'm wrong. Some doctor is going to call me saying you've got to learn things. But he has good eyes, you know, he sees the game and he shows up on some plays and amazes me. He has unique ability to slip gaps and show up. The tough thing right now is we don't have pads on. That's when the real things going to be in front of him. Hopefully, he'll be as good as we thought he was."

Cunningham offered the same tempered praise of second-round pick cornerback Darius Slay, who was a full participant in all three days of minicamp despite having arthroscopic knee surgery after the draft.

"I don't know if he knows he's in the NFL or not," Cunningham said, "That is a good thing, trust me. Somebody asked me about him, I said, 'He has no conscience.' That may be the No. 1 criteria for any corner you want on your team. He doesn't let things bother him. He's well-schooled and he's touched the ball a lot (during minicamp). He's had about three interceptions since he's come out, maybe four, knocked a couple balls down. So, we'll see. Again, Ziggy needs pads, Darius needs pads."

--Another player coming off knee surgery, receiver Ryan Broyles, was a three-day participant.

"He's had a great rehab," coach Jim Schwartz said. "He's working really hard. It's been a long time for him, second year in a row with an ACL. But, you know, every time he's gone out on the field he's made plays and he did the same thing today.

"He's still not 100 percent, but he's able to sort of pick and choose some spots in practice and he looked good."

Broyles was coming off ACL surgery on his other leg before last season and he didn't start competing in team drills until training camp. This year, he was doing individual work during OTAs and was a full participant in minicamp.

--Among the players that helped themselves this offseason was running back Joique Bell. He not only got a lot of reps with the second offensive group when Mikel Leshoure was nursing a hamstring injury, he also got expanded duties on special teams.

"Joique's had an outstanding offseason," Schwartz said. "He took a while to earn his way onto a roster, but when he got his opportunity he made the most of it, and he's not letting it go."

--Cornerback Chris Houston, who was a full participant throughout the OTAs and minicamp, was held out of team drills Thursday.

"A couple of guys had little tweaks here and there," Schwartz said. "You know, it was three practices in a row and seven in two weeks, so you start to get a few groins and hamstrings. Nobody is long-term, but the last thing we want to do is take a little minor thing and then jam a guy up to where suddenly he's got to have four weeks of rehab instead of four weeks of training before training camp. Chris was one of those guys."

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League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 27 9:00 am
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