Allen Park, MI
O.K. letâ€™s be honest.Â Maybe I am a freak.Â Here was a great spring weekend with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees and I am thrilled to have spent it inside at the Lions 2007 rookie mini-camp!Â Anyways, there were a lot of great things about this weekend and here is my wrap up report.
- Sarge Marinelli has gotten himself the complete staff he wanted and they were incredible at this camp.Â His guys gave instruction and motivation but most of all were able to make sure the guys who will make the team got some special time, something they won't get when all the Vets show up.Â He came away real excited.
- Ryan Sylvan the 6â€™4â€ 274# TE out of Ohio University who came into this camp as a rookie free agent was one of the top five players at this camp and he will get an invitation back.Â He was exceptional and has a great first step that could do wonders in the Martz system.Â Write is name down because I told you first that he is a player and if he avoids injury will make this team.
- Calvin is Calvin.Â He continued to marvel the staff and Millen told me â€œhe is like Jerry Rice in that he works so hard and does so much that you have to make him pace it a little bit.â€Â It is very evident he is a star.
- Drew Stanton had a much-improved fifth practice today (you can read my previous article) but he also will continue to get â€œbroke downâ€ by Martz and it will be great to see.Â Right now Martz is working on his grip so that makes it hard to throw a ball when you have done it one-way for 23 years!
- IAF is going to be a star.Â He spent so much time doing private â€œMr. Miyagiâ€ (Karate Kid reference) time with Sarge such as hand slaps and punches just working on hand speed.Â â€œHe is special and I really do like the way he moves, he can do some great things hereâ€ was Sargeâ€™s reaction.Â Millen spoke to Howie Long right after the draft and told him that IAF looks a lot like Howie did.Â As much as Millen loves his friend Howie Long that is huge praise.Â IAF also loves my new nickname for him and thought it was â€œreally greatâ€ that he has a nickname already.Â IAF will stand!
- Gerald Alexander is going to be a John Lynch type player.Â He has a great ability to control his feet and hips and the Lions had offers to trade him after the draft and right after the pick but they hung on to him.Â This kid has some real special skills and â€œwill be right there in the top three safety mixâ€ according to Sarge.
- A.J. Davis does run a 4.28 according to folks in the know.Â His speed not only separates him from the boys but he also has a real nose of the ball.Â You canâ€™t teach instinct and that is the word for that kid.
- Johnny Baldwin has some good ball skills and although he is very raw, he will make this team and I predict could be the starting MLB by week nine.Â He is really good at â€œfeelingâ€ the play.Â In case you donâ€™t understand that another way of saying it is to call it instinct.Â Especially at the MLB you have to be able to feel things going on around you while following the play.Â He is raw but he has the skills.
- Manny Ramirez is a great kid.Â I was talking with him yesterday and he told me about being from humble roots and that although they didnâ€™t have a lot that his family worked hard and had a lot of love.Â I thought he was going to cry when he talked about grabbing this opportunity and making the most of it to better them.Â It was a real touching story and you could tell he meant it by how hard he worked.
- It was shocking to see how many players that are Vets that already on are the team that came out to check things out.Â I wrote about it already but the Vets were here in masse and it sent a message that they cared and that this team is moving forward.
Overall it was a great weekend for the Lion.Â Again I predict that the above seven draft picks and Rudy Sylvan the undrafted TE make this team.Â That is huge and it effectively overhauls the locker room and roster like Sarge wanted!