Sam LaPorta Dazzles at Lions Camp and Other NFL Bullets

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Sam LaPorta Dazzles at Lions Camp, Jordan Addison Ahead of the Game, and Other NFL Bullets


Every couple of years, my birthday falls on Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, this is one of those years. However, that’s alright because all the attention should be on all the wonderful mothers out there. So, Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom(s), Mother-in-Law, and my wonderful wife, Erika. We’ll start in Detroit with the Lions.

  • Lions first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs was absent from practice during the team’s rookie mini-camp this weekend. Gibbs is dealing with an “ankle tweak,” according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The Athletic’s Colton Pouncey says that the decision to hold Gibbs out was purely precautionary and that there is no concern inside the building in Detroit.
  • While Gibbs — the No. 12 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft — was out, others shined this weekend. Pouncey said that rookie tight end Sam La Porta was “the best player on the field Saturday, by a wide margin.” LaPorta, out of Iowa, was the Lions’ first pick in the second round (No. 34) last month.

“[LaPorta] got plenty of looks from quarterback Adrian Martinez, targeted early and often, and he caught everything that came his way.” Pouncey said. “Over the middle, in traffic, toe-tapping the sideline … LaPorta was feasting. He’d make a standout play, then casually trot back to the huddle and toss the ball to a nearby assistant before lining up to do it all over again.

  • Iowa used LaPorta as an in-line tight end with his hand in the dirt but also flexed him out to receiver, which the Lions did plenty of this weekend. Lions GM Brad Holmes complimented LaPorta’s versatility last week and said that he expects the former Hawkeyes to be a player that makes an immediate impact for the Lions.

  • Detriot hopes that LaPorta can fill the void left by T.J. Hockensen, whom the Lions traded to the Vikings last season. Another Detroit rookie that the Lions hope will make an immediate impact is linebacker Jack Campbell, LaPorta’s teammate at Iowa. Head coach Dan Campbell said as much Friday on “Good Morning Football.” Campbell got plenty of work this weekend, being one of three linebackers in camp. The Lions took LaPorta with the No. 18 pick in last month’s NFL Draft.
  • Campbell brings an intriguing blend of size and athleticism at the position to the table. But it will be about putting it together between now and opening day. The Lions expect Campbell to be an immediate contributor, and he will be working closely with Detroit’s linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard.
  • Campbell and LaPorta — teammates at Iowa — shared a fun moment this weekend when they went head-to-head in a special teams drill. LaPorta bested Campbell and made sure that he knew it on the field. He also joked about the cool interaction after practice with the media:

  • Rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker was also at Lions camp, although he did not participate in practice. Hooker is recovering from an ACL injury. Lions head coach Dan Campbell said last week that he doesn’t expect Hooker to play this season. The Lions view Jared Goff as their clear-cut starter and view 2023 as a redshirt year for Hooker. However, Hooker is taking everything in and taking advantage of all the mental reps he can get while he recovers.

“Entering this first year is the same motto, same mentality I’ve had all my life, let’s get better every day,” Hooker said during Saturday’s minicamp (via ESPN). “You’ll never stay the same; you either get better or you get worse, and I don’t wanna have any decline in my game so I’m continuing to work my tail off, day-to-day, mental reps, taking reps behind the quarterbacks that are in and just playing the game in my mind until I can actually get out there, but I’m still preparing and I’m hungry. I’m ready to compete.”

  • I came across this thread while scrolling the Twitters last night and found it pretty interesting:

  • Vikings rookie receiver Jordan Addison also had a strong weekend in Minnesota. The Athletic’s Alec Lewis had a really interesting take on Addison’s weekend at the Vikings mini-camp:

“I’m workshopping this analogy, but if you have attended a youth sporting event, you’ll understand.

“You know how some kids just move more fluidly than others? How their natural ability is evident? That’s what it was like to observe Jordan Addison on Friday. That’s what it was like to watch Minnesota’s first-round pick trot across the field, accelerate, decelerate and stop on a dime.”

  • Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said, “You could tell he’s a little bit ahead of a lot of guys with how he’s lining up.” According to Lewis, Addison has already met with the coaching staff via Zoom to begin taking in the playbook.

  • After working with him this weekend, Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall had this to say about Jordan Addison: “The man runs smooth routes. I got to get him some better balls, help him out a little bit, but he runs great routes, and he is going to be a great player.”
  • Interesting …

  • Mother’s Day baseball …

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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.