7 Lions players to watch vs. Giants

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Jake Rudock

Here are seven players to watch during the Detroit Lions’ home preseason game against the New York Giants Friday (7 p.m., Fox 2, WJR-AM).

Linebacker Devon Kennard

The Lions invested good money in Kennard, the face of the team’s revamped linebacking corps. He’s primarily lined up on the edge during training camp and that’s where he’ll have the opportunity to make the biggest impact. He needs to show he can consistently set the edge against the run and make the quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket. He’ll have an opportunity to do that working against his former team.

Offensive lineman Frank Ragnow

Ragnow had a stellar preseason debut against the Raiders and will look to build on that performance against the Giants’ quality defensive interior. It’s unclear whether Graham Glasgow will play in this game after suffering a leg injury in practice earlier this week, but either way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ragnow take a handful of snaps at center, beyond his usual work at left guard.

Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson

In practice, Robinson has been losing first-team reps to veteran Ricky Jean Francois. Combine that with a shaky preseason debut and there’s at least a little cause for concern with the former second-round pick.

Tight end Hakeem Valles

A practice-squad player most of last season, Valles has stepped up as a pass-catching threat during training camp, earning himself reps with the first-team offense. He’s got a real shot to make the roster, either as a fourth tight end or by jumping Levine Toilolo on the depth chart.

Quarterback Jake Rudock

Rudock has fallen behind Matt Cassel in the backup quarterback race, and a pick-six during a two-minute drill in practice this week didn’t help the cause. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Rudock get into the game before Cassel, seeing how the coaching staff wants to provide both with equal opportunities. Rudock needs to show better pocket awareness and downfield accuracy to make the roster decision tough.

Linebacker Miles Killebrew

Killebrew only played seven defensive snaps in the opener, but managed to recover a fumble against the Raiders. He’s had another week to work with the linebackers and should get a longer look against the Giants.

Safety Tracy Walker

Detroit’s third-round pick is trending upward after his physicality showed in Oakland. That netted some first-team, sub-package reps in the practice week against the Giants. A long-strider, Walker covers ground quickly in the deep parts of the field and his long limbs make him even more effective when defending the pass. His special teams work will also be key.