Lions rookie Golladay makes strong early impression

Justin Rogers, The Detroit News

Allen Park — Kenny Golladay will tell you he has a long way to go learning the Detroit Lions’ scheme. That’s probably true for the third-round draft pick, who has just a handful of practices under his belt.

But in that limited time, the big wide receiver already has made an impression.

During Wednesday’s OTA practice, he showed refined control of his 6-foot-4 frame, going up and coming down with a touchdown pass on a fade route during full-team drills.

“Yeah, he’s one of those guys that really works at it,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “Obviously, we know he has the height and skill set to play the position, but like anything else, with a young guy he’s learning.”

Repetition is the key to the Lions’ teaching process.

With the rookie class, the coaching staff makes sure the new additions are taught the scheme at least five times before playing a preseason snap. Additionally, Golladay said he’s been spending an extra one to two hours studying the playbook each night with fellow rookie and roommate Michael Roberts.

On and off the field, Golladay is thankful he has a pair of veterans — Golden Tate and Marvin Jones — eager to ease his transition from Northern Illinois to the pros.

“We’ve got two good vets on our team and I’m just a rook, trying to follow after them,” Golladay said. “It’s huge. They’ve been here before. To be honest, I don’t know how many years they’ve played in the league. I know it’s more than me.”

Golladay hasn’t reached the point where he’s working with the first-team offense, but expectations will be high for the rookie by default. While Tate and Jones are expected to shoulder the load for the group after combining for 146 receptions and 2,007 yards in 2016, the Lions need to find an adequate replacement for Anquan Boldin’s production, especially in the red zone.

In two seasons at Northern Illinois, Golladay averaged 80 receptions, 1,143 yards and nine touchdowns.

Extra point

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead didn't practice on Wednesday, as he was excused to attend to a personal matter. Also not practicing were running back Theo Riddick, cornerback Adairius Barnes, safety Don Carey, guard T.J. Lang, offensive tackle Corey Robinson, and defensive ends Armonty Bryant and Ziggy Ansah.