ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions continue to work to secure their draft class ahead of the start of this year’s rookie minicamp at the end of the week.
NFL Network reports that the team and first-round wide receiver Jameson Williams agreed to the terms Thursday. Williams gets that vital fifth-year option on his touch. Williams brings a different level of speed and downhill ability to Detroit’s passing offense. The Lions traded to take Williams at pick 12 in the first round.
Williams has her eyes set on returning to the field in training camp after tearing her ACL in the national championship game for Alabama. He had 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns before the injury. Williams added a ridiculous 9.3 yards after the catch per reception. His top recorded speed was 23 mph on a 94-yard touchdown in Alabama’s 2021 opener.
“We talked in the spring about finding someone on the outside who would dictate the coverage,” Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said. “And shoot, I think he ticks that box 100 per cent. I think the teams, when he is healthy, will realize where he is on the pitch. And that’s what we’re excited about, because it will do nothing more than open up our racing game and the opportunity for all of our other talented players. He’s a guy who can stretch the pitch without breaking a sweat. He’s electric, he’s got juice.
NFL Network also reports security Kerby Joseph has agreed to the terms of his four-year, $5.044 million rookie contract. Joseph receives a signing bonus of $849,020 and will receive all of his maximum compensation for being a comp pick. The Lions grabbed Joseph in Round 3 at pick 97. He potentially provides the team with some much-needed ball-peddling safety next to Tracy Walker. Detroit re-signed Walker to a three-year deal this offseason. Walker remains an important leader and one of the best players in this defense. But he’s only had two interceptions and a fumble over the past three seasons.
Joseph and his 6-foot-8 wingspan intercepted five passes in 12 games at Illinois last season. Previously, he tried his hand at receiver in Champaign, then flourished with his newfound focus on the safety position.
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“My senior season, I feel like I went the extra mile a lot more,” Joseph said after being drafted. “I feel like I started to define at least one position. I felt like we weren’t on — or, two positions were like receiver or safety, while I was focusing on safety. I feel like it really upped my game.
“Ball skills have always been with me. The ball skills, I was just born with them. They’re just a natural talent that I have. I feel like receivers can also help find what the offenses are looking for, like what the goals are as an offense, like concepts and stuff like that.
Players arrive for the start of rookie minicamp on Friday. Those expecting all of these names to be locked down before Friday might want to relax. Last year’s draft class was not fully contracted until cornerback Ifetu Melifonwu signed his rookie contract days before reporting for training camp in late July. The Lions have yet to agree on terms with edge defenseman Josh Paschal (second round), tight end James Mitchell (fifth round), linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (sixth round) and edge James Houston (sixth round) .