5 Players Who Must Step Up at Lions Training Camp

Which players are in need of a strong training camp?
Detroit Lions defensive end John Cominsky is introduced before the Green Bay Packers game at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023.
Detroit Lions defensive end John Cominsky is introduced before the Green Bay Packers game at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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The Detroit Lions have wrapped up mandatory minicamp and are just one week away from going full speed ahead toward training camp.

After the conclusion of organized team activities next week, the Lions are heading onto a break that will end with the start of training camp. Once camp begins, it will be a pivotal stretch for several players looking to earn roster spots.

Here are five players who could use a strong performance in training camp this upcoming season.

DE John Cominsky

Cominsky earned a contract extension for his performance in 2022, but he will need to take another step forward with the added depth ahead of the upcoming season. His role was diminished at the end of last year, and the Lions have added extra competition.

If Josh Paschal continues to grow along with the return of James Houston, the defensive end competition will be stiff for Cominsky. The addition of Mathieu Betts also adds a wrinkle, as the former CFL standout brings proven pass-rush production.

Cominsky has been a nice piece for the Lions over the last two seasons, but the talent level has also been raised within his position group. Training camp will be very important for the defender, who needs to assert himself amongst the other members of the Lions' pass-rush.

WR Antoine Green

There is a path for Green to get a healthy dose of reps. Detroit didn't make any major additions to its wide receiver room and lost a key contributor in Josh Reynolds. As a result, there will be competition for the outside receivers.

Green appears to be set to battle with Donovan Peoples-Jones, among other candidates. The North Carolina product had a strong preseason last year, which gave a glimpse into the potential impact he could have.

While the wideout didn't get many opportunities in his rookie campaign, there's a chance he can earn more reps in 2024. However, that starts with a strong performance in this year's preseason.

TE James Mitchell

Mitchell has plenty of athleticism and potential. Drafted on Day 3 in 2022, he's been limited by injuries across his first two seasons. With Sam LaPorta emerging as a standout and Brock Wright providing reliable depth, there may be only one or two roster spots available for the taking at his position.

Mitchell faces tough competition, too. Shane Zylstra offers intriguing potential and was a contributor after T.J. Hockenson was traded in 2022. Though he missed all of last season with a knee injury, he will factor into the potential equation this upcoming season.

Veterans Parker Hesse and Sean McKeon are also intriguing options. Both have played plenty for other teams and could fit the fullback role the Lions may desire from their third tight end. For Mitchell, a strong camp is a must.

CB Kindle Vildor

Vildor was a starting corner throughout the Lions' playoff run, as he took over for a struggling Jerry Jacobs. However, he went through his own difficulties throughout his stint in the secondary. With the Lions attacking that group in the offseason with several additions, he will have to battle for a spot.

The Lions have multiple talented newcomers capable of filling the voids in the secondary. Being a meritocracy, Detroit has a desire to let their competitions play out. If Vildor emerges with a strong camp, then he will earn his way.

However, it will be difficult for him to unseat Carlton Davis or Terrion Arnold, along with fellow newcomers Amik Robertson and Ennis Rakestraw. Emmanuel Moseley is also an intriguing option when healthy.

G Kayode Awosika

The Lions added two rookies to their offensive line room, which is shaping up to be very competitive from a depth perspective. With Giovanni Manu and Christian Mahogany in the mix, there will be battles behind a starting five that is amongst the best in the league.

Awosika started last year's NFC Championship game when Jonah Jackson was out with injury. However, he will have to battle for a backup spot with Manu, Mahogany and Colby Sorsdal.

It should be an intriguing competition. With the frequency that injuries occur along the offensive line, those who earn spots will likely be counted upon to play meaningful snaps at some point throughout the season. Awosika could assert himself amongst a crowded group of young players with a strong showing leading up to the regular season.


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Christian Booher

CHRISTIAN BOOHER

Sports journalist who has covered the Detroit Lions the past three NFL seasons. Christian brings expert analysis, insights and an ability to fairly assess how the team is performing in a tough NFC North division.