Every NFL team has a practice squad, a group of up to eight players who are not eligible for active game duty but are part of the team.
Most of these players are youngsters hoping to catch on with a team, or developmental players looking to improve with more reps and NFL coaching.
The Detroit Lions have a few former practice squad players who are now regulars on the active roster, though some were from different teams. Joique Bell, Kris Durham and Corey Hilliard all spent early portions of their careers on practice squads.
There are some rules for eligibility. SB Nation published a handy guide last summer that lays out some of the main points, including:
- Players must clear waivers
- No more than nine NFL games on any active roster
- Two seasons of practice squad eligibility, with limited exception
- Can be signed to active roster by other teams
Who will be on Detroit's practice squad in 2014? Here are eight leading candidates as the calendar turns to July.