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Willie Young impresses Detroit Lions GM Mayhew

Players skipping the offseason workout program in search of a new contract run the risk of another player using the increased reps in practice to get noticed by a coach or front office executive.

Such is the case with the Detroit Lions, as Tim Twentyman of reported Tuesday that Willie Young took advantage of Cliff Avril's absence (and Kyle Vanden Bosch's lighter workload) and made a positive impression on general manager Martin Mayhew. Young was one of three players Mayhew say had outstanding offseasons.

"That means a lot and it's a credit to my progress," Young said. "I'm a seventh-round draft pick and I'm trying to make a name for myself. Coming from him, that says a lot.

"This is the opportunity I've been waiting for; ... I'm not the one who's going to crack under pressure. Just do what I've been doing."

After appearing in just a handful of snaps in two games as a rookie, Young was active for 14 games in 2011, posting three sacks while playing in just over 20 percent of the Lions' defensive snaps. Young added a strip-sack of Drew Brees in the Lions' 45-28 playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Young's solid offseason is unlikely to impact the Avril contract talks, but it should give the Lions some peace of mind. Teams never can have enough pass-rushers. Young's entering the final year of his rookie contract, and he'll be under club control for two more seasons as a restricted free agent in 2013. The Lions can feel good about their depth as Kyle Vanden Bosch steams deeper into his thirties.

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