Detroit Lions: Which Undrafted Rookie Could Make the Team

Joe UnderhillCorrespondent IIIAugust 16, 2011

ALLEN PARK, MI - AUGUST 01:  Demario Ballard #87 of the Detroit Lions runs throught the morning drills at the Lions training facility on August 1, 2011 in Allen Park, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Every year, every NFL team signs quite a few undrafted rookies to help fill out practice squads and with the hope of finding the diamond in the rough. Compared to the number of undrafted players who are signed, there are few who make teams, fewer who become starters, and even fewer who become superstars. 

Here is a look at five of the undrafted players currently in camp with the Lions who have the best chance of sticking with the club. 

Demario Ballard (WR - Western Oregon)

Ballard is a tall receiver (6'6") with above average speed (4.49 second 40 yard dash), but is a DII player who is still pretty rough around the edges. He needs to improve his route running and after the catch work but has the frame to make an impact. I wouldn't be surprised if the Lions put him on the practice squad to give him a year of work to see if he'll be able to pick up the NFL game.  

Quentin Davie (LB - Northwestern)

Davie is a tall linebacker (6'4") who had a productive career at Northwestern. His junior year was his best by far (90 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles), but unfortunately he took a step back from a production standpoint in his senior year. Davie has a chance to stick with the Lions because the Lions are still a bit thin at linebacker, and Davie has the potential to be a contributor on special teams. 

Greg Niland (G - Massachusetts)

Niland is a big bodied offensive guard (6'5" 305lbs) who started at left tackle at UMass, so he needs to transition to playing inside. Niland will be in the mix for a practice squad spot if he shows enough in camp. The Lions have been thin at the guard spots and wouldn't mind having a developmental prospect at the position. 

Dejuan Fulghum (LB - Texas Southern)

Fulghum was the SWAC defensive player of the year in 2010, compiling 91 tackles, 15 TFL, and nine sacks. Fulghum has decent size for a linebacker (6'0" 224 lbs). He'll need to beat out the other undrafted linebackers to stick with the Lions.

Cobrani Mixon (LB - Kent State)

Mixon is a big linebacker (6'1" 240 lbs) with a lot of upside. He had a productive career at Kent State after transferring from Michigan. Mixon, like the other undrafted linebackers, needs to set himself apart and show he can help the rotation and be a special teams contributor.