COMMENTARY | Offseason Training Activities (OTAs) may not be the most crucial part of the long path to the NFL regular season, but the Detroit Lions have plenty to look forward to and focus on.
The recent Collective Bargaining Agreement has dictated that there is no contact of any kind, including: tackling, blocking and pass-rushing. However, there will be plenty of opportunities for younger players to showcase their talent against established veterans. OTAs will also mark the first time newcomers like Reggie Bush, Glover Quin and Jason Jones will be take part in team drills.
So, what are the five most important things to look forward to heading into OTAs? Let's break them down:
5. The first glimpse into the right tackle battle
There is a long battle ahead to determine whether Jason Fox or Corey Hilliard earns the starting right tackle position. However, someone is going to line up with the starters for the majority of OTAs. Who is going to get the early jump on this position battle?
Fox has struggled with injuries for almost the entirety of his career and has yet to truly prove himself as a capable NFL player. Hilliard did not dress for a game last season and has started just five during his tenure in Detroit.
4. The Rookies vs. the Veterans
First-round pick Ezekial "Ziggy" Ansah should get his first chance to line up at defensive end and put some of his speed and athleticism on display against Detroit's offensive linemen. There may not be any contact, but his technique, form and drive will all be tested immediately. Similarly, we will get a chance to see fellow defensive end Devin Taylor, offensive guard Larry Warford and several others. However, there is a question about one rookie...
3. Will Darius Slay take part in the festivities?
The Lions second-round pick, Darius Slay, had knee surgery just a few short weeks ago and his status for these OTAs is still unknown. Slay is fully expected to recover quickly and be ready to go for the regular season, but it would be nice to see him healthy already. Would it be a negative sign to not see him line up during OTAs? Not necessarily, but it's always a good sign to see players on the field.
2. Free-agent signings getting in the action
OTAs provide the first real chance to see how free-agent signings look in a situation with their entire team. Detroit made huge splashes throughout free agency, bringing in Glover Quin, Jason Jones and Reggie Bush.
Bush is obviously the name that people are most excited to take a look at in a Lions jersey. People want to see how seamlessly he fits into the Lions high-octane offense. However, Quin and Jones will be integral pieces to Detroit's defensive puzzle. Both players will be immediate starters and it will be interesting to see how they pair up with their new mates.
This part is plain and simple: This is a chance for these players to really begin competing. Technically there is no contact, but guys are still going to compete and showcase their abilities. Coming off a 4-12 season it is essential that the Lions are giving 100 percent effort at all times, even in the offseason. There is a lot of turnover from last season and fewer positions are set. Players will learn quickly that even OTAs are an opportunity to make an impression on the coaching staff.
Nick Kostora lives in Michigan and has covered the Detroit Lions for 4 years. His work has appeared on CNN, Bleacher Report and more.
You can follow Nick on Twitter @nickkostora
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