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5 things to watch: Detroit Lions rookie minicamp

5 things to watch: Detroit Lions rookie minicamp

2. Where does Branch fit in?

Some analysts believe second-round pick Brian Branch was the Day 2 steal of the draft. He started for Nick Saban at Alabama as a freshman, which says a little something about his maturity, football IQ and his versatile skillset.

Branch played mainly as a nickel corner in Alabama’s defense, but he can also play either safety spots and is expected to be a matchup piece in Aaron Glenn’s defense in Detroit. He’s a first-round talent the Lions were able to acquire in Round 2. Where do we see him line up the most this weekend?

3. Helping to stop the run

The Lions ranked 29th against the run last season and two rookies drafted in the first three rounds – linebacker Jack Campbell (first round) and defensive tackle Brodric Martin (third round) – are expected to be impact players in helping Detroit be better in that aspect of the defense in 2023.

Campbell was the top-ranked linebacker in the draft and was a beast against the run at Iowa. He racked up 265 tackles the last two seasons. Campbell is also no slouch against the pass. He allowed only 236 yards on 418 coverage snaps last season for a 92.9 coverage grade that led all linebackers.

Martin is a massive 6-foot-5, 330-pound interior defender with long arms and a motor that never quits. Martin projects to play nose tackle for the Lions, though his skillset might allow him to move to some other techniques and be more versatile.

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