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Boggs makes strong impression with Lions

Although most of his reps have come against backup defensive linemen, Taylor Boggs has been among the most impressive offensive linemen thus far during Lions training camp.

And Boggs’ solid performance has been unsurprising to right guard Larry Warford, who has trained alongside Boggs the past couple offseasons at former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley’s training center in Arizona.

“Honestly, I don’t think I know a more technical person than Boggs,” Warford said. “I actually try and model a lot of stuff I do on the field after him.”

The 28-year-old Boggs joined the Lions on a futures contract in January after spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears, splitting time on the active roster and practice squad. Boggs also spent his rookie year in 2011 with the New York Jets after going undrafted out of Humboldt State (Calif.), though he was on injured reserve the entire season and was a free agent for all of 2012.

With Warford at right guard, Travis Swanson at center and Manny Ramirez and first-round pick Laken Tomlinson the top options at left guard, Boggs and the other reserve interior offensive linemen face an uphill battle to make the Lions’ roster. But coach Jim Caldwell said Boggs caught on to the Lions’ playbook quickly and has done “a nice job” so far in camp.

“You can see that he’s a guy that plays with a lot of control in the middle,” Caldwell said. “He’s versatile, he can play both center and guard (and) you can literally probably put him anywhere. He has a real good sense and understanding, I think, of our system.”

Among the players Boggs has stone-walled during one-on-one drills are defensive tackles Roy Philon and Jerel Worthy. For him to make the team, he’ll have to start excelling during the exhibition games or in his limited opportunities against the Lions’ top defensive tackles.

In a Lions offensive line group with limited experience, though, Boggs can be someone after whom younger players model their on- and off-field preparation, Swanson said. Boggs has played just five-regular seasons games — four with the Bears in 2014 and one with them in 2013 — but being in the league since 2011 has provided him with a significant knowledge of the NFL game.

For Warford, the chance to practice with Boggs has created some continuity from their offseason training. Both players use techniques from Bentley and Lions offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn and can compare and contrast any new ideas they see.

Warford, who’s been one of the top guards in the NFL his first two seasons, actually said there are some things Boggs does better than him, though he admitted he does some things better than Boggs, too. Warford said Boggs excels with his hands, footwork in zone blocking and ability to sink his hips.

“On the field, he’s a monster,” Warford said. “He definitely can start in this league —100 percent.”



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Neil S. Schwartz

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