In the world of sports, the first cut may be the deepest, but it’s the last cut that leaves a scar.
The Detroit Lions released 21 players to cut their roster down to the league-mandated 53 player limit yesterday.
Most of the cuts were of little, if any, surprise. Yet, in my mind, a few stand out as glaring mistakes.
Among those cut, were wide receiver Dane Looker and linebacker Zack Follett. While neither is a game-changing talent, both are good football players and the type of guys who make lasting contributions throughout the course of a season.
Looker was one of Detroit’s best performing receivers in the preseason. Also, he has a track record of success in the NFL. During his previous stint in St. Louis, Looker appeared in at least 13 games for five of his six seasons with the Rams.
He was durable, consistent, and a good locker room personality. Above all, he was a tremendous special teams contributer. Something even the most fundamental of football coaches overlooked and underappreciated.
Instead of keeping him onboard, the Lions opted to take the unproven Adam Jennings.
Follett, like Looker, is a great special teams player.
He's small and doesn’t have an exact fit at any particular linebacker spot, but he can serve as a respectable fill-in with several defensive formations.
Follett hits hard and he moves fast.
Anyone who knows anything about football understands speed can make up for many other weaknesses.
It’s very possible that the Lions coaching staff didn’t want to keep both Jordan Dizon, who made the team, and Follett, because they are virtually identical players. Even if it was a toss-up decision between the two, I think Follett has more potential.
Jim Schwartz also opted to keep Kevin O’Connell as the team’s fourth quarterback.
Here is the entire list of the 21 players released by Detroit on Saturday:
LB Rufus Alexander, QB Brooks Bollinger, G Milford Brown, TE Carson Butler, RB Aveion Cason, WR Keary Colbert, DE Sean Conover, K Billy Dundiff, DT Chuck Darby, RB Tristian Davis, LB Zack Follett, C Dan Gerberry, TE Dan Gronkowski, WR Dane Looker, DB Calvin Lowry, T Lydon Murtha, DB Ramzee Robinson, DB Stuart Schweigert, DT Shaun Smith, LB Spenser Smith, WR John Standeford.