The Detroit Lions are getting creative in their quest to build a deeper roster for 2021, and continue to find former offensive players to try on defense.
On Wednesday, August 18, the Lions revealed that they were signing former Ohio State tight end and New England Patriots linebacker Rashod Berry. Berry had been waived this week by the Patriots as part of their first round of roster cuts.
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Here’s a look at the announcement of the move:
Berry’s addition pushes the Detroit roster to 85 players, which is where the team had to be as of yesterday afternoon. Next Tuesday August 24, the Lions will have to trim the roster to 80. It will stay there before final cuts are revealed on Tuesday, August 31 and the roster gets down to the final 53 players.
Whether or not Berry cracks the Detroit roster or practice squad remains to be seen, but it’s clear the Lions liked his potential to sign him during the preseason and training camp.
Rashod Berry’s Stats and Highlights
Berry is an intriguing talent given his position versatility. In college, he was a tight end for Ohio State, and had very decent numbers racking up 198 yards and 4 scores for the Buckeyes on the offensive side of the ball. Berry also saw limited action on defense, where he put up 7 tackles as a defensive end in 2016.
Here’s a sample of what Berry could do in college as a tight end:
Obviously, both the Lions and the Patriots think that Berry can be just as good on the defensive side of the ball given the small sample size of his work there in college, which is why he plays there in the pros. Whether he has enough time to crack the Lions roster or practice squad is another story. Berry has played in only one game in the NFL with no stats registered.
Lions Defensive Line Finding Pieces for 2021
If there was a spot on the Detroit roster that should have been primed for some sort of upgrade this offseason, it was the defensive line. The Lions lacked depth in the middle, but adding Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill will help that in a big way. The deeper the Lions get in the middle of the line, the better off they will be in terms of getting better presence on the outside as well as depth.
If Onwuzurike was to be able to become a star, that would be a huge development for the Lions and their defensive line depth up front. Already, the depth has been upgraded, which is good to know ahead of a season in which the Lions have to get tougher up front on defense for a complete turnaround. Some pass rushers have been converted into outside linebackers, which is likely where Berry will get his shot to shine. Names like Julian Okwara, Romeo Okwara and Trey Flowers have already seen positive results after their moves.
The hope for the Lions is that the team has enough defensive line depth to get by this season. As the camp rotation continues to sort itself out, the Lions keep getting looks at different players like Berry.