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10 Key Players to Watch at Lions Mandatory Minicamp

Here are a few players to pay attention to this week at the Detroit Lions' mandatory minicamp.

There are several interesting storylines to follow this week, as the Lions hit the field at their Allen Park practice facility for mandatory minicamp. 

Here are 10 key players to monitor as the week progresses. 

Linebacker Jahlani Tavai 

By dropping weight, the third-year linebacker has accomplished what the coaching staff has asked of him this offseason. 

Tavai comes in weighing 17 pounds less than he played at in 2020.

Playing at the "stack" linebacker position more often should give Tavai more confidence working with this coaching staff. 

 Cornerback Jeff Okudah

No doubt, many eyes will be on the second-year cornerback, who struggled mightily his rookie campaign in the National Football League. 

Detroit's secondary will have the benefit of working with passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, who also played the position of cornerback in the league. 

It would be encouraging to witness Okudah making plays and being competitive all this week at minicamp. 

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Defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike

The talented rookie made waves when he told reporters he liked being a disruptor along the defensive line. 

"I think it tells you I like f**king people up. I like to get off the line and just put my helmet or my hands on offensive linemen and f**k up an offensive scheme," he said. "Pretty much, I like pushing them back two to three yards and just making them feel like s**t."

Detroit's defensive line must gel and work to become efficient quickly, in order for the new 3-4 base defense to work. 

Nose tackle Alim McNeill 

"We get players that we love. We get players that we’re excited about. We don’t say like, ‘OK, we have to get this defensive lineman, we’ve got to get this nose tackle because those are the positions that we need.’ No. We just get football players that we’re really excited about and that we’re hot on. That’s kind of what it really boils down to, and it just so happens to be the same position on defensive line," Lions general manager Brad Holmes explained. 

McNeill was the first rookie to sign his NFL deal, and is ready to become an integral part of the defense. 

He’s a solid athlete for his size, as he measures in at 6-foot and 317 pounds. 

At N.C. State, he recorded 17.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 35 collegiate games.

Safety Tracy Walker

Now that Walker is expressing a different comfort level, it is time for him to step up and deliver in the secondary. 

Like many on the team, the 26-year-old safety is looking for a bounce-back season in 2021. 

After an inconsistent start to the season last year, Walker saw his playing time handed over to Will Harris.  

With a new culture, Walker has the potential to get back to the form he displayed in 2019. 

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Quarterback Jared Goff

After the defense, Detroit's newest signal-caller will be under quite the microscope. 

Replacing Matthew Stafford is not an easy task, but it is a challenge Goff has embraced. 

He has earned the praises of the coaching staff and veterans on the roster all throughout OTAs. 

In a way, Goff is a representation of the player the team looked to acquire -- talented, yet overlooked by many. 

It will be imperative that Goff performs at a very high level in order for the Lions to compete in 2021. 

Running back D'Andre Swift

Detroit's running backs room has the potential to change the culture of the Lions locker room on its own. The tandem of Swift and Jamaal Williams could aid this offense, especially in the short passing game. 

It is still unclear how many actual carries Swift will see every week, but he certainly figures to play a major role in Anthony Lynn's offense. 

Health will be key for Swift to unlock his full potential. Like many, walking away from this week unscathed will be paramount. 

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman 

Detroit's wideouts have largely been an afterthought this offseason. 

Many supporters and pundits do not believe in the wide receivers Goff will be tossing passes to in 2021. 

Perriman is intriguing, as he has familiarity with the coaching staff and the organization, since his father played for the team in the early 90s. 

The veteran wideout has bounced around the league, and will be looking to build rapport with his new quarterback. 

It will be interesting to see how the wideouts are utilized as the 2021 season progresses. 

Tight end T.J. Hockenson

An emerging talent is always a pleasure to observe from the ground up. 

Hockenson should emerge as a favorite target of the quarterbacks on this roster. 

It is time for the third-year tight end to enter the conversation of one of the top players at his position. 

He has embraced having fun, and will be a player Detroit should count on in 2021. 

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Running back Jamaal Williams

Williams is motivated to prove to the league he can improve his game and become a reliable and complete running back. 

"I just want to do more than what I’ve already done," Williams said at his introductory media session with reporters. "And, I don’t want it to feel like, people to feel like they already know my possibilities and how I am already. But, they don’t know how far I really can go. And, I don’t even know how far I can go, because my potential’s unlimited because my mind is. And I’m just going to keep growing and finding things that I need to work (on). But, you can never stop working. That’s my mentality, and I know that’s what you need to believe, if you want to be a better person always."