Detroit will have to make the decision whether to keep 10 players or cut them ahead of camp. If the Lions elect to keep the players, they will need to keep rookies and veterans separated for camp work. That might not be the best plan for the team in terms of getting meaningful reps for young players in what figures to be a season unlike many other on the field.
Should the Lions elect to pair down the roster, which players could be the first to go? Here’s a look at some names that could find themselves on the quick side of the cut line in Detroit early in the camp program.
Josh Garnett, G
Things didn’t get off to a quick start for Garnett in the pros. He started 11 games as a rookie in 2016, but knee surgery stopped his 2017 season in its tracks. By 2018, the 49ers had already seemingly moved on, and Garnett was not able to win his job back. A dislocated toe and thumb hurt his progress then as well. By 2019, the 49ers had officially moved on, and cut Garnett at the end of training camp. While Garnett figures to be healthy now, the Lions added major depth at guard this offseason. Getting the rookies into the mix first and foremost is a huge deal for the team, and Garnett might be on the wrong side of the cut line as a result.
Wes Hills, RB
Hills still opened some eyes for what he was able to do on the field late last season with a pair of scores in Detroit. An old school bruiser back, Hills is 6-2 and 218 which is beefy for a runner in this day in age. The Lions like their running back depth, and have churned through some guys at the position looking to find a backup for their practice squad that can stick in the last few months. Hills is the kind of player the Lions could keep on the practice squad for an emergency, but the fact that they have added dramatically to running back this offseason could make Hills one of the first men out at this point in time.
Matt Sokol, TE
Sokol has added to the Detroit depth at tight end this offseason, but the Lions have a solid group here right now, and might be more inclined to give a look to rookie Hunter Bryant in a numbers crunch situation. It’s not that Sokol isn’t talented and couldn’t add to the depth at the spot, but the Lion have some solid young tight ends already and the numbers might not favor one more in the mix at this point in time.
Steven Wirtel, LS
The Lions tried to replace Don Muhlbach a few years ago with Jimmy Landes in the 5th round. Since then it appears Bob Quinn wised up and realized he doesn’t need to draft a long snapper any more than he needs to draft a punter. There’s been no snapper added since Landes until now, and it might not make sense for the Lions to keep an extra snapper in such a strange year. Wirtel was one of the top snappers available and perhaps if the Lions like him they can keep him on the practice squad in the futurr. Still, he might not stick on the roster long considering the circumstances in 2020.
Jeremiah Dinson, S
Dinson is more of a defensive back than a pure safety which gives him a solid chance to stick around Detroit given the versatility he’s shown in college. He can play a bit of cornerback and safety and move all the way around on a defense. Plus he is a player which has been referred to as a workout warrior by Lions running back Kerryon Johnson who referred to him as “Dumbell Dinson” after the signing was revealed. The Lions like talented players who can move around and bring the effort. Even though that’s the case, the Lions also have plenty of defensive backs on the roster at this point.
Jalen Elliott, S
A team captain at Notre Dame, Elliott is a player who will come in with a bit of hype given the fact that he was one of the better players on the back end of the team’s defense. He also will have a solid relationship with Julian Okwara, which could help his case. Elliott put up 173 tackles and 6 interceptions in his career with the Irish. It was already going to be tough to make the team at safety considering how loaded the position is, and like Dinson, it’s more of a numbers situation rather than a indictment of Elliott’s talent.
Bobby Price, S
Price, another rookie safety from Norfolk State, simply doesn’t have the numbers in his favor at all when it comes to cracking the roster. The Lions are going to have to cut some at the spot, and Price is another player who simply doesn’t have the advantage of time and opportunity this particular season where he might in other seasons.
Luke Sellers, FB
Detroit has one fullback on the roster already in Nick Bawden, and that’s likely to stay that way through camp this year. In years past, Sellers likely would get a longer look, but this year the Lions might not want to keep a luxury item like a fullback under these roster circumstances. That could mean Sellers doesn’t get a chance to crack the roster this time around.
Frank Herron, DL
The Lions aren’t loaded along the defensive line, but they have enough players at the spot that someone like Herron might be the first out. He played last season late for the Lions, but that might not mean much now that the Lions have added Danny Shelton and might have a few young players they like on the roster in Jashon Cornell and John Penisini, which might leave him on the wrong side of the roster bubble at this point.
Tom Kennedy, WR
The Lions have one of the deeper wideout groups in the league and have added some players who could be in the mix for roles near the bottom of the roster in Quintez Cephus and Geronimo Allison. Those pair might get preference over Kennedy at this point, and so too might someone like Geremy Davis, who has special teams experience. Kennedy could be a practice squad candidate, but he could be one of the first cuts this offseason if the Lions need to trim wideouts from the mix.