Lions Sign Former Fifth-Round Pick Lineman to Practice Squad

Will Holden

Getty Will Holden after a Ravens game against the Titans in 2020.

Offensive line depth is always at a premium in the NFL, and the Detroit Lions have added more to their practice squad just ahead of a new season.

On Thursday, September 9, the Lions revealed a new addition to their practice squad in the form of offensive tackle Will Holden, a former fifth-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2017.

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As part of the roster move, the Lions revealed they were swapping out wide receiver Javon McKinley in exchange for Holden on the squad.

McKinley had a nice preseason in Detroit with 50 yards and 1 touchdown to his credit, but obviously, the Lions like their wideout depth at this point to reveal this change. Holden has some NFL experience having played in 13 games with 8 career starts, but lately, he has bounced around to many places.

The Lions hope he can settle in and be a part of the depth mix eventually in Detroit up front on one of the strongest positions on their team.

Will Holden’s Stats and Highlights

Holden, 27, played his college football at Vanderbilt where he was a standout performer at the East-West Shrine Game as well as the Senior Bowl. A solid circuit there leading up to the draft got him on NFL radars, and Holden was seen as a potential middle-round pick. He ended up going in the fifth-round of the 2017 NFL draft to Arizona with the 157th pick.

From there, Holden was cut in 2018 after appearing in 11 games with 7 starts for the Cardinals. He bounced around from the Indianapolis Colts to the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad and back to the Cardinals in 2018. In 2019, he was with the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers’ practice squads, then landing with the Baltimore Ravens for the rest of 2019 and part of 2020. In late December of 2020, Holden was signed back to the Colts where he would play in a single game with a single start. He also saw game action with the Ravens in 2020.

Here’s a look at some of Holden’s tape from college:

Will Holden (Vand OT) vs Tennessee 2015Vanderbilt OT #742016-07-30T10:15:41Z

For the Lions, Holden could be seen as a decent emergency option given the amount of starts and games he has seen early in his career.

Lions’ Offensive Line Looks Deep for 2021

More than likely, Holden should be seen as strictly a depth piece at best for the Lions right now given what the team has up front at this point in time. Over the past few years, the Lions have thrown money and time at their offensive front, and it seems to be paying off in a big way. The team has developed one of the top lines in the league after drafting and developing players, and 2021 could be the season the fruits of their labor pay off.

Recently this offseason, Pro Football Focus writer Ben Linsey looked at ranking every roster in the league, and looked at some strengths and weaknesses anticipated for 2021. As he wrote, a major positive is the team’s offensive line, and it’s the best part of the team this season.

The offense will be a major plus for the Lions this season if the line can protect Jared Goff and get the ground game going. That’s the plan for the Lions both in 2021 and moving forward, and creating a solid line seems to be the wisest place to start.

Adding a depth piece with some NFL experience in Holden to the mix is just another way the Lions are looking to give themselves the best possible chance of protection in 2021.

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