Calhoun Standing Out At Mini-Camp

If there has been any standout during the Detroit Lions rookie mini-camp, the honor belongs to Wisconsin product Brian Calhoun.

ALLEN PARK - If there has been any standout during the Detroit Lions rookie mini-camp, the honor belongs to Wisconsin product Brian Calhoun.

The third round pick in last weekend's draft, Calhoun has fully immersed himself with the teachings of offensive coordinator Mike Martz. The result has been the display of athletic skill that the team saw when they scouted Calhoun's dominant running back play in the Big Ten conference.

"I just think he's got a chance to be an all-around back; a blocker, a catcher, he's smart so we can use him in different ways, durable," remarked head coach Rod Marinelli following Saturday's practice session. "He's a great kid."

Calhoun's versatility at Wisconsin didn't escape Detroit's scouts. Although he was a surprise pick considering the Lions depth at the position (they already have starter Kevin Jones and reserves Artose Pinner and Shawn Bryson), his statistical output during his final year in the Big Ten was astronomical.

And very telling.

Calhoun's 1,636 rushing yards (4.7 per carry) ranked just behind No. 2 overall pick Reggie Bush (USC) in Division I, and his 22 rushing touchdowns was the third best in the nation. But when Calhoun wasn't running through, behind and around defenders, his soft hands -- a valuable asset to coordinator Mike Martz's offensive strategy -- were also busy making plays.

Standing at just 5-9, finished just six receptions shy of the Badgers' leading receiver, hauling in 53 passes for 571 yards.

An admitted tape junky, Marinelli said that Calhoun's game film is already noticeable during drill work.

"All I know is the biggest thing: if you watch him on tape, he's exceptional in the open field; vision, feet and endurance," said Marinelli. "He's showing it out here right now. It's been good. He's exciting."

Under Martz, Detroit will use their running backs extensively in the passing game -- often times flashing them outside as an additional wide receiver. While it remains to be seen whether that will apply to the tough running style of Jones, it is clear that Calhoun's previous experience makes him the perfect fit.

"Mike (Martz) is working him in some different areas - all of our backs have got to catch the ball and those things," said Marinelli. "He's getting some exposure to the entire offense. (You want) to see what these guys can do in all of the different areas."


Calhoun spent his days at Wisconsin running away from defenders.


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