The Lions' Mane: Can Seventh Round Picks Make An Impact?

Jason GruchalaContributor IAugust 13, 2009

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Zack Follett #56 of the California Golden Bears looks on in the second half against the UCLA Bruins at the Pasadena Rose Bowl October 20, 2007 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Injuries plagued rookies Lydon Murtha and Zack Follett in college, yet they still managed to have very productive collegiate careers.

At the University of California, Follett became popular for his wild hair and an Internet sensation with his bone-crushing hits. If Follett makes the final 53-man roster, it will be because he produced on special teams and stayed out of the trainer's room. The rookie linebacker missed three and half games his junior year, because of a neck stinger and was unable to complete the agility drills at the NFL scouting combine because of a pectoral injury.

Follett's chances of making the opening day roster may be slight increased because the Lions plan to blitz more this season. The Detroit News reports that new defensive coordinator Gunter Cunningham has already installed 40 different blitz package, eight days into camp. 

The other linebackers that are competing with Follett are , second year players Darnell Bing and Curtis Gatewood and veteran Cody Spencer. 

Murtha, the former Nebraska offensive tackle spent alot of time on the sidelines when he played in Lincoln. He has continued that trend with with the Lions thus far. Murtha missed much of the OTA's and missed the beginning of training camp. With him missing so much time, Murtha is a great candidate to make the practice squad.

Gronkowski Update

Dan Gronkowski contintines to get a chance to impress the Lions coaching staff, Casey FitzSimmons and rookie Brandon Pettigrew are still out with injuries. The Lions also announced this morning that they have cut tight end Jake Nordin, opening chances for Gronkowski to showcase his talent.