Louis Delmas knew all about rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford even before they became teammates.
So you'll have to excuse the Western Michigan product, and the 33rd overall player selected in the same draft, if he views Detroit's golden boy as a bit of a challenge.
“I told him, coming out here, I’m going to be the first one picking off your ball today," Delmas said he told Stafford before the start of the team's rookie mini-camp this weekend. "I tried (laughing). I got another opportunity tomorrow.”
Although Stafford had his first day jitters, it was Delmas that walked away realizing that the hype might just have been real.
Known for his ball-hawking skills, Delmas was able to tip a couple of passes during team drills, but didn't coral an interception.
Delmas was also impressed with Stafford's ability to communicate on the field, but admitted that it was the glorified arm that did most of the talking.
Louis Delmas, the 33rd overall pick, is a sure-fire starter beside fellow safety Daniel Bullocks.
“Coming in, I underestimated him, but watching him throughout the end of the year and then watching him today, he really opened my eyes," said Delmas. "He’s a great quarterback; he has great reads and he has a very good zip on the ball.”
Added Delmas, "Watching him the end of the season, (and) watching him today, he is the No. 1 quarterback coming out and right now he’s probably the best quarterback.”
Stafford returned the compliment, however. Although he was rated as the top safety in the draft by most scouting agencies, Delmas wasted no time putting his best foot forward -- and that was typically around the football.
“(He) was all around the ball today; flying around, trying to rob passes and do all sorts of stuff and talking like he does," said Stafford. "So it was fun.”
The two players exchanged phone numbers even before they became drafted. On a routine visit to Detroit in which they were both visiting the team's facility, the two hit it off, and have stayed in constant contact ever since.
“Off the field, he’s the greatest person," said Delmas. "As soon as I came out for my visit, me and him communicated from day one; clowning around, cracking jokes –- he’s great off the field.”
Detroit's mini-camp ends on Sunday. It involves the team's draft choices and undrafted rookie free-agents.
Tight end Brandon Pettigrew was held out of the Saturday afternoon practice due to a sore hamstring. Detroit's coaching staff held him out for precautionary reasons. The Lions announced the hiring of Jeremiah Washburn as assistant offensive line coach; Washburn previous served as a scout for Baltimore Ravens.