ALLEN PARK – The Detroit Lions have established their initial roster of 53 but don’t feel too comfortable as there are no kickers, an ultra-young defensive backfield and an inexperienced receiving hall.
Related: Detroit Lions roster analysis: who’s in, who’s out and what’s next for the 53-man squad
Related: Detroit Lions roll with young corner room with 3 undrafted free agents
The NFL will once again allow teams to keep 16 players on their practice squads, with four spots protected each week. An unlimited number of players can return off the injured reserve this season, provided they have spent three weeks on the roster. Teams can begin signing players for practice squads starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
This article will go over 15 names that might make sense for rebuilding Lions:
K Michael Badgley
Let’s get rid of those kickers, okay? After taking out Randy Bullock, Zane Gonzalez and even Matthew Wright over the past month, the Lions enter the season without a kicker. Let’s also get ahead on this issue; Pro Bowl Lions punter Jack Fox made seven of 15 field goal attempts over four seasons at Rice, connecting on 38 of 39 extra point attempts.
Michael Badgley has struggled the past two years after an impressive debut season in 2018. He made 15 of 16 field goal attempts that year, with a length of 59 yards, logging on all his extra point attempts. except one. Badgley missed nine field goal attempts last year, completing 24 of 33 career-high tries. He had never attempted more than 16 field goals in a season by then, so that’s quite the red flag. The specialist might need a change of scenery, perhaps even a dome.
K Jake Verity
Jake Verity faced Justin Tucker, and while he hasn’t shocked the world and accepted the latter’s job, he’s performed well enough during camp and preseason to make this list. The undrafted free agent from East Carolina converted four of his five downs, going 53 yards. He also completed six of seven tries after a point. The 23-year-old kicker seems to have some serious assets.
K Joey Slye
Former Lions practice kicker Ryan Santoso replaced Joey Slye after two seasons in Carolina. Slye was not the most consistent, connecting on 54 of 68 tries, with a length of 56 yards. He’s missed eight kicks from over 50 yards in the previous two years, missing six by 49 yards or less in that span.
WR Vyncin Smith
Brad Holmes and his front office showed a tendency to turn to quick receivers in the first year. Vyncint Smith has no doubt burners, running a 4.36 second dash over 40 yards on his Pro Day in 2018. The 25-year-old landed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent from Limestone. He caught five passes for 91 yards and a touchdown in his only season in Houston. Smith spent the last two with the Jets, shooting four starts in 2019. He caught a career-high 17 balls for 225 yards that season before catching a single assist in 2020.
The Lions roll with Tyrell Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, Quintez Cephus, Trinity Benson and Tom Kennedy on their initial roster of 53. Benson arrived in a trade with the Broncos, with Kennedy after two seasons on the practice squad.
WR John Brown
If Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell want to add a veteran to the receiving room while trying to keep any of those names deep on the practice squad, then John Brown’s certainly makes sense. He’s two years out of a career season with the Bills, capturing 72 passes for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. Brown has had two 1,000-yard campaigns under his belt in seven seasons in the league, averaging 14.8 yards per reception along the way. Brown signed with the Raiders this past offseason after seeing his production drop at Buffalo.
DL Marvin Wilson
One of the most talked about undrafted players after the NFL Draft was Marvin Wilson’s name. The massive Florida State defensive lineman went undrafted and eventually landed with the Cleveland Browns, earning $ 192,000 guaranteed. The Lions had to eliminate pre-season star Bruce Hector, so Wilson is the only defensive lineman on that list due to the team’s new depth. It doesn’t look like it would offer much in 2021, this is a development project for a team in need of parts.
TE Jacob Hollister
It’s a similar situation, except that Jacob Hollister might actually offer something to the tight space this year. The Lions opted to ride with two tight ends, TJ Hockenson and Darren Fells, cutting off Alize Mack and Brock Wright in the process. It looks like Jason Cabinda will be assigned increased duties on the team’s offense, but Hollister might be worth the detour. The 27-year-old had 25 catches for 209 yards and three touchdowns in Seattle last year. He signed with the Bills in the last offseason, but finds himself looking for a new home.
LB Micah Kiser
Welcome to the Los Angeles Rams section of this list. Micah Kiser, a 2018 fifth-round pick, would bring immediate familiarity with the scheme to a room lacking in depth. The 26-year-old inside linebacker started nine games last season, scoring 77 tackles, three passing deflections and a forced fumble. Holmes, the first-year Lions general manager, has spent most of the past decade leading LA’s college recruiting department, so he knows Kiser best.
WR Pharoh Cooper
It is difficult not to fill this list of large receivers. Pharoh Cooper failed to make it to Jacksonville’s 53-man roster with the former All-Pro return specialist hitting the wire. Cooper made a Pro Bowl and All-Pro team with the Rams in 2017. He averaged 12.5 yards on 32 punt returns, hitting 34 kickoffs for 932 yards, one touchdown and an average of. 27.4 yards leading the league. Kalif Raymond is the favorite for the return job in Detroit, but could play an increasing role in attack due to lack of experience or playmakers.
WR Trishton Jackson
Trishton Jackson made LA’s roster last season as an undrafted free agent, having recorded no stats. The former Michigan State wide receiver ended his college career in Syracuse, capturing 66 passes for 1,023 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019. He fits the bill of delivering intriguing athleticism, pairing a 36-inch vertical jump. to a 4.5 second dash from 40 yards.
WR Antonio Gandy-Golden
Speaking of intriguing athletes. Antonio Gandy-Golden is a 6-foot-4, over 220-pound gross catcher who has shown his ability to jump out of the gym. Gandy-Golden was a fourth-round pick in Washington last year, catching for 7 yards in six games. He caught seven passes for 77 yards in the preseason. In terms of development projects, this one is worth it.
The Lions aren’t very deep or experienced in the defensive backfield, so any time a fifth-round rookie hits the wire before the season, kicking the tires is never a bad idea. Shawn Davis struggled in the pre-season finale in Detroit, missing several tackles and failing to intercept. Davis has recorded five interceptions in his last 19 games in Florida. Its vertical leap of 39.5 inches before the April draft drew additional eyes.
TE Thaddeus Moss
Thaddeus Moss spent time with the soccer team last year, failing to come out of camp with the Cincinnati Bengals this time around. He is the son of the legendary Randy Moss, who is worth a look due to his raw ability despite struggling since impressing at the LSU National Championship in 2019. If Moss is successful on waivers, he deserves a spot in the 2019 LSU National Championship. practice team to see if there is anything worth investing time in here. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow sounded like he expected Moss to be on the roster, recently saying: “I think he’s going to be a big part of this team.”
CB Rasul Douglas
Rasul Douglas would provide valuable special team experience under the guidance of first year Lions coordinator Dave Fipp. Douglas recorded 463 special-team shots for Fipp in three seasons in Philadelphia. He started 11 corner games for Carolina last year, playing a career-high 821 defensive snaps. There isn’t a lot of high school (or special teams) experience around these games, so players like Douglas are worth keeping an eye out for.
Kenny Robinson has had an interesting journey over the past two years. He moved from West Virginia University to the XFL 2.0 St. Louis BattleHawks, and was drafted in the Panthers’ fifth round in 2020. Most of his work as a rookie was limited to special teams, recording 134 shots in total over nine matches. The 22-year-old is a lanky 6-foot-2 security, another development project worth watching.