Lions Place Starting Fullback on IR, So Who Takes Over?

Jason Cabinda

Getty Jason Cabinda takes the field in 2019.

The Detroit Lions had some unfortunate injury news to share Monday morning, revealing that once again, fullback Nick Bawden would be heading to IR.

Bawden was placed on the list on Monday morning with another knee ailment, and as part of the swap, the Lions signed defensive lineman Olive Sagapolu. Obviously, the bigger news was the loss of Bawden, who was likely being counted on to fill a role as the team’s everyday fullback as he had for the last few seasons.

Without Bawden in the mix, the Lions have a surprise contender to take over on the roster in linebacker Jason Cabinda. They could theoretically also use tight end Isaac Nauta as an H-back to chip in, but at this point in time it seems the momentum is firmly on the side of Cabinda.

Jason Cabina Poised to Take Over at Fullback

During camp, one of the more interesting subplots has been the transition of linebacker Jason Cabinda to the fullback position. The Lions have done this before they drafted Bawden with Nick Bellore, and now will likely be doing so again in Bawden’s absence. Thus far in camp, Cabinda hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to his adjustment at the position, so it will be fascinating to see how he is able to do on the field. When speaking to the media, he’s been very confident in his abilities.

Cabinda played running back in high school, so he has the natural athletic talent to be able to make the switch and has been solid when the team has given him run there during camp. Now, it will be interesting to see if he can transition that to an NFL game consistently if the team should ask.

So far, he has said all the right things and worked hard in order to put himself in position. Bawden’s bad luck could end up being Cabinda’s good fortune in this case as it relates to a 2020 roster spot.

Nick Bawden Stats

Coming into the league out of San Diego State, Bawden was a 7th round pick of the Lions and immediately stepped into the team’s role at fullback. While in college, he had helped pave the way for Rashaad Penny, and with the Lions, he was expected to bring the team some immediate toughness up front to help aid in the offensive line. Perhaps his biggest play in a Detroit uniform was an impressive catch and run against Philadelphia early in the 2019 season. Bawden ran for a first down and hurdled a defender as part of the play, showing off his speed and athleticism in a game.

Early on, Bawden did that, but had knee injuries claim his 2018 season, and once again, that happened late in 2019. Another knee injury has hampered him in 2020, and it’s safe for folks to wonder if Bawden will ever be the same again.

Hopefully he is, but as of now, Cabinda could be poised to take the next step in his everyday roster spot this season.

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