The Detroit Lions are always thinking about how to improve a roster in need, and the team took another interesting step toward doing that with a move on Wednesday, December 1.
Early in the morning, the Lions revealed that they had added former Green Bay Packers linebacker Curtis Bolton to the team. While Bolton is not a huge name at this point in time, the Lions are betting the 25 year-old could be a player that they could get into their defense if he develops well.
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Here’s a look at how the Lions made the roster swap work:
Da’Shawn Hand moving on from the roster is not a surprise at this point, as that move was alluded to on Tuesday, November 30. The fact that the team is bringing another linebacker to get a look at isn’t a shock either, given Detroit’s defensive needs across the field for the future.
Bolton’s Stats & Highlights
Bolton played his college football at Oklahoma where he was a very solid prospect for the team in a four-year career at the school. Bolton put up solid numbers with the Sooners, racking up 158 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 touchdown in his career with the team. Bolton came into the league as an undrafred free agent in 2019 and was signed by Green Bay, where he stayed and impressed early in camp before an untimely ACL injury. Bolton was off the Packers’ roster by October of 2020. From there, he signed with the Houston Texans before being waived this past offseason. Before the 2021 season, Bolton signed with Indianapolis, but was released during final cuts. He then latched on with San Francisco’s practice squad, but only stayed until October 5.
Here’s a look at some of Bolton’s tape from high school:
Obviously, the Lions think they have a player they can mold, so it will be interesting to see if Bolton has a future with the team.
Hand’s Release Not Surprising Move for Lions
In spite of looking like a good bet to be a player who turned things around this season and played a big role for the team, Hand has struggled to stay heathy again, and as a result, the Lions appear set to move on from the player.
According to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero on Tuesday, November 30, the Lions will be releasing Hand off injured reserve with an injury settlement. The move will mean that the defender will become a free agent and could be scooped up by another team for the stretch run of the 2021 season.
Hand moving on means Detroit will lose another defensive lineman, but the team has done nice work to develop players such as Levi Onwuzurike, Alim McNeill and Julian Okwara in 2021 up front. That in itself can account for the loss of Hand.
Injuries have played a big role in marring what looked like a promising start to the youngster’s career. Hand has had seasons cut short by knee injuries, an elbow injury, ankle injuries and a groin injury. Consistency has not been a friend to Hand since he joined the league.
With him out of the picture, the Lions hope to mine more gold with Bolton on the practice squad moving forward. Perhaps they can continue to develop