What Undrafted Free Agents Will Make the Detroit Lions' Roster?
Undrafted Free Agents are often overlooked in the offseason. There's good reason for the lack of attention as maybe one or two of them make the team if they're lucky. With the lack of talent on the roster at the moment though, I could see as many as five making this year's 53-man roster.
Otis Wiley, SS, Michigan State- When he's not dancing or injured, Wiley was a productive player and a leader at MSU. A local guy gets a shot every year in Detroit it seems, but Wiley has the talent to warrant the camp invite.
Daniel Bullocks if probably firmly entrenched in the strong safety spot for now, but the Lions current backup is Stewart Schweigert, so an upgrade there is very possible. He's big at 6'2" and 210 pounds, and from what I watched of him at Michigan State, likes to hit.
DJ Boldin, WR, Wake Forest- His stats aren't great and from what I see from him on what little film is available he looks okay. However, under Linehan I wouldn't be surprised to see more four and five receiver sets on occasion, and the battle for the fifth wide receiver spot is now between Adam Jennings, Tommy Saunders, and John Standeford.
He is the brother of Arizona Cardinal Anquan Boldin and thus probably has all the pure talent in the world.
John Gill, DT, Northwestern- I'll admit that I've never seen Gill play, but after some research it's clear he has a shot. Our defensive tackle rotation right now is Grady Jackson, Chuck Darby, Andre Fluellen and Sammie Lee Hill: two guys over 33, a second year player and a rookie.
Gill had five or more tackles last season against top competition in the Big 10 including Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota, and Indiana. Obviously as an undrafted free agent he is a project, but one I think the team will be willing to take on.
Daniel Holtzclaw, LB, Eastern Michigan- He has good size at 6'1" and 245 pounds and was incredibly productive at Easter Michigan. He had over 330 tackles as a starter for three years at middle linebacker, and posted 15 games with double digit tackles. He did play in the MAC conference, but that league has produced good players in the past, so don't look too much into that. His pro day was a great work out though.
He had 33 repetitions on the bench, a 9'6" broad jump and a 32" vertical jump. Our starting linebackers are good, but depth is needed in the middle and Holtzclaw could be a great special teams player.
Mark Parson, CB, Ohio- This is the one guy I'm POSITIVE will make the roster. Before the draft most people had Parson ranked as a third round prospect, and even though he was snubbed from the draft, Deion Sanders hand picked him to come and work one on one.
A great man press corner, he fits the bill of a project corner that Schwartz can mold, like Cortland Finnegan in Tennessee. I've already written about the Lions secondary having talent, but I have a feeling they will find a spot for Parson this season.
It's unlikely all five will make the jump to the pros, but all five should at least make the practice squad. These guys all have talent, and it is definitely nice to see the Lions doing work after the draft for once to find these diamonds in the rough.
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