ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The next time the Detroit Lions will be together on a football field will be late July. Preparations will be more focused then. The upcoming NFL season will be weeks away. Everything will become a little more serious. A little more focused.
When pads come on and true preparation begins, everything has a little more urgency to it. And with it, players who had made strong strides during the offseason workouts will need to build on those non-padded performances.
But there's no question a few players definitely helped themselves throughout the spring when it comes to making the Lions -- either via the 53-man roster or, in some cases, the practice squad.
Logan Thomas: The converted quarterback was signed to essentially be the No. 3 tight end. Then Detroit drafted Isaac Nauta in the seventh round, giving him more competition. Thomas is different than what the Lions have in virtual roster locks Jesse James and T.J. Hockenson. He is more of a blocker but has the size and speed to be a good third option at the position. Plus, Thomas offers special-teams value and, in a pinch, could be the team's emergency quarterback. As long as he keeps playing well, the question will be whether the Lions keep four tight ends instead of three.
Teez Tabor: It was a somewhat inconsistent camp for the 2017 second-round pick, but there were more flashes of true capability this spring than at any other point in his career to date. Tabor had multiple interceptions during the practices open to the media, and the instincts he was praised for coming out of Florida started to show. There was more positive than negative for Tabor this offseason, despite the cornerback having some shaky moments that were all too familiar.
Chris Lacy: The wide receiver didn't participate in the most recent OTA but had done a lot of good things when he was on the field this spring. With Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay sidelined while recovering from injury, Lacy received a lot of reps with the No. 1 team and came up with at least one or two impressive catches per open practice. The top three receiver spots are locked in with Jones, Golladay and Danny Amendola, but Lacy should have a real chance, along with Andy Jones, at a place on the roster as a depth receiver.
Tracy Walker: It's still early to really say, but Walker received a good portion of the first-team safety reps this spring next to Quandre Diggs in place of the departed Glover Quin and handled himself well. A lot should be asked of Walker this season, and he appears to be sliding into the starting safety role well. Detroit has put him in multiple spots on the defense, signifying he could be viewed as a versatile piece for coach Matt Patricia.
Travis Fulgham: Like Lacy, the Lions' sixth-round pick out of Old Dominion was a beneficiary of injuries at the top of the receiver depth chart. Fulgham's No. 84 ended up being written a decent amount in my notebook throughout the last two weeks of offseason work -- perhaps a sign he's starting to settle into the offense. That he was a draft pick potentially gives him a little more capital, but he’ll be right there with Lacy and Jones in trying to secure a roster spot. His size, at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, is what stands out when he's playing. He just has a larger frame than most receivers, which makes him incredibly noticeable on the field.
Tom Kennedy: It's a long shot the ex-Bryant wide receiver makes the roster. He's at a deep position with a lot of players in front of him. But considering that Kennedy started playing football again in 2017 and is also an ex-pro lacrosse player, it's notable that he's made it this far and also received meaningful reps in the spring. If he can carry his conditioning and playmaking to training camp, he could put himself in position for a spot on the practice squad for further development.