Jamal Agnew‘s Training Camp Has Impressed Fans And Analysts Alike. How Excited Should Fans Be?
Jamal Agnew has had a really nice camp. He looked good pretty much from beginning to end. It is still training camp, and most of the drills are no-to-light contact exercises, but Jamal Agnew’s training camp has impressed. He has looked better than advertised when the Detroit Lions selected him in the 5th round of this past draft. He has exhibited the speed, athleticism and explosiveness that he was billed with, and has looked much better in coverage than scouting reports had indicated.
As fans, we expected a capable return man. Agnew’s training camp indicated that he is possibly more than that. He has trouble tracking the ball and has to move a lot to get under it, but once the ball is in his hands, he has big play capability. He showed this in training camp and he showed this in the mock game.
Agnew impresses yet again pic.twitter.com/gyZcwl5hfh
— Sean Lanigan (@Lanny1925) August 5, 2017
It appears he is the current favorite to win the job, and at this point, is as close to a lock to make the roster as a fifth round corner back can be.
The other options as returners have not necessarily impressed. Keshawn Martin has not impressed thus far. Jace Billingsley has looked alright, but not necessarily a game breaker. The many candidates for return man have not managed to separate themselves. Jamal Agnew’s training camp has separated himself from the rest of the group.
In coverage, Agnew has impressed based on expectations. He hasn’t looked like a lock down corner back, but he certainly didn’t look like a fifth round pick coming from a small school. Agnew doesn’t have the polish yet, but he showed promise this week. He played mostly against second and third team players. This obviously helped his cause, but it is good to see him perform against the competition that he is presented.
Both his long and short speed will help him immediately. It helps him cover up his mistakes. He can react a little slowly but still use his speed and quickness to get back into coverage. These advantages become smaller and smaller as his competition gets better. As his competition gets bigger, faster, more physical, his athletic advantages make up for mistakes less.
This is all to say that expectations need to be tempered here. Agnew is probably not ready to play yet. Can he play with the second team and third team? Absolutely. Can he take over the nickel corner spot and cover Larry Fitzgerald in the slot? Probably not. Jamal Agnew’s training camp should indicate that he is better than advertised. Fans should also expect and allow Jamal Agnew time to develop. He will need it, but his ceiling is high.
He didn’t have to face the bulk of the competition at the Detroit Lions wide receiver position much. The Lions haven’t truly tested Agnew yet. What we should take away from Jamal Agnew’s training camp is that he belongs in the NFL.