Here are three under-the-radar players to watch when the Detroit Lions open training camp next week. All three could play key roles:
Cornerback Ron Bartell
The assumption is that rookie Darius Slay or one of the team's 2012 draft picks, probably Bill Bentley, will win the vacant starting job at corner.
But what if the youngsters aren't ready?
Don't overlook the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Bartell. Hes an eight-year NFL veteran who started the Lions final game last season and worked with the first-team defense for most of the offseason.
Bartell, 31, born in Detroit and a graduate of Renaissance High School, was signed by the Lions last December after getting released by Oakland. He was a second-round draft pick in 2005 by St. Louis. His last two seasons were derailed early by injuries, including a fractured neck in 2011.
Hes got good size for a corner, coach Jim Schwartz said. He came to us late last year, picked things up quickly, played pretty well in the game against the Bears.