Ranking all 89 players on the 2022 Detroit Lions roster: 80-71

Pride of Detroit

We are slowly crawling up our rankings of the 2022 Detroit Lions roster. We have reached players 80 through 71, which should still be considered in the long-shot category to make the 53-man roster this year.

However, last year’s list included several players in this range who ended up playing significant time on Sundays, including Jerry Jacobs (80), Tommy Kraemer (76), Godwin Igwebuike (74), and AJ Parker (73). That being said, the list also included players you’ve likely forgotten entirely, like Chad Hansen, Alijah Holder, and Reggie Gilbert.

Given that the Lions’ roster is (theoretically) better this year, I wouldn’t expect as many contributors out of this year’s list, but don’t completely sleep on these guys either.

Previously:

80. RB Greg Bell (Highest ranking: 72; Lowest ranking: 87)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Bell was the Lions’ only addition at running back this offseason to a room that returns every player from last year. That, alone, will make it tough for Bell, an undrafted rookie out of San Diego State, to crack the lineup. He fits the kind of running back this regime likes—with one-cut ability and short-area quickness—but he’ll have to make a really strong impression on special teams if he wants to make the 53.

79. S JuJu Hughes (Highest: 72; Lowest: 84)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Hughes was claimed off waivers back in January, in a cruel twist of fate for the former Ram. Waived just before Los Angeles’ Super Bowl run, Hughes now comes to Detroit to compete for a spot in the Lions’ thin safety room.

Hughes comes with very little defensive experience at the NFL level—35 total snaps in two years—but he’s played a lot (276 snaps) on special teams, and Lions general manager Brad Holmes is familiar with him. This ranking could be a little low for him. He could legitimately compete for a spot.

78. OT Obinna Eze (Highest: 73; Lowest: 86)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

The recipient of the most UDFA guaranteed money ($170,000), Obinna Eze also has a somewhat realistic path to the roster. Detroit truly only has three offensive tackles they can trust in Taylor Decker, Penei Sewell, and Matt Nelson. If the Lions decide to keep four, Eze will be right there in the competition with Dan Skipper. However, with the rest of the roster improved, there’s a serious debate as to whether Detroit should keep a fourth offensive tackle. Eze will have to prove he’s indispensable.

77. DT Demetrius Taylor (Highest: 64; Lowest: 78)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Another UDFA with a realistic shot at the roster, Taylor will have to compete with the likes of Jashon Cornell and Bruce Hector for a fourth (and fifth?) defensive tackle spot.

Taylor is an intriguing player who tallied 20 sacks in his last three years at Appalachian State. He’s also capable of playing just about anywhere on the defensive line. That versatility will help, but he’ll have to prove he’s up for a pretty significant increase in competition level.

76. WR Kalil Pimpleton (Highest: 68; Lowest: 80)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Pimpleton is already a fan favorite due to his local ties (he went to Central Michigan) and his explosive speed. That speed flashed in his punt return abilities in college, which included two house calls during the 2021 season:

He’s got serious size concerns (5-foot-9, 172) and it’s hard to imagine him jumping any one of the Lions’ top six receivers. His only true way of making it onto the roster would be to win the return job, but Detroit is extremely unlikely to let someone like Kalif Raymond go, as he would cost the Lions more if they cut him.

75. CB Saivion Smith (Highest: 61; Lowest: 82)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

A late claim to the roster in 2021, Smith actually made two game appearances last year exclusively on special teams. There was enough there for the Lions to bring him back on a futures deal this year. However, his use last year was likely due to a devastating amount of injuries to the cornerback crew last year, which included Jerry Jacobs, Jeff Okudah, and Amani Oruwariye.

That said, Smith did start a game for the Cowboys back in 2020. Could he be this year’s sleeper in the secondary? Erik seems to think so with his 61st ranking for Smith.

74. DT Bruce Hector (Highest: 67; Lowest: 74)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Hector is one of the more seasoned players this low on the list. He was claimed off of waivers last July—just too late to make last year’s list—and he immediately played well in the preseason, earning praise from Dan Campbell.

“Every day he comes out and does his job. He just shows up. He’s just kind of quietly is always there. He’s consistent, he’s smart, he’s a workhorse. And he—it’s hard not to notice. It sure is. And so, he would be one of those guys that is going to make (roster cuts) real hard on us if he continues to trend the way he’s trending.”

Hector did not end up making the roster, but he spent the entire season on the practice squad and was even elevated three times. Because Detroit did so little to upgrade their defensive tackle position, Hector could really push for a roster spot with another strong preseason.

73. CB Mark Gilbert (Highest: 46; Lowest: 80)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Gilbert’s spot on the list is skewed a little high due to Hamza Baccouche’s 46th ranking here (the next closest was 65), but Gilbert is an interesting player to keep an eye on. The Lions signed him off the Steelers practice squad in the middle of the 2021 season, and immediately played in eight games for the Lions—although he played just 47 defensive snaps and 27 special teams snaps.

Still, Gilbert stands at 6-foot-1, and once had six interceptions in one season for Duke. If Gilbert rediscovers those ball-hawking tendencies, the Lions’ cornerback room is unsettled enough for him to make an unlikely run at the roster.

72. TE Shane Zylstra (Highest: 62; Lowest: 74)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Added to the Lions prior to Week 1 after spending training camp with the Vikings, Zylstra was forced into action when injuries hit the Lions at tight end late in the year. A converted wide receiver, Zylstra’s rookie season sadly ended after he suffered a fractured kneecap in Week 16. Zylstra will need to prove he can be more than a receiving tight end to compete for a spot, especially with fifth-round pick James Mitchell in the mix now.

71. QB Tim Boyle (Highest: 64; Lowest: 72)

Last year’s ranking: 45

Yikes. Probably not a great sign when your projected backup quarterback is ranked the 71st best player on the 90-man roster. Boyle saw his first regular-season NFL action last year, and at times, it looked like he was in over his head—the last-minute interception against the Falcons sticks out.

The Lions must have seen something they like, though, as he was re-signed in the offseason. Perhaps he will come out looking more seasoned after having the on-field experience, but offseason workouts did little to sway our staff.

Articles You May Like

Detroit Lions’ injury list swells heading into preparation for Seahawks
Week 3 staff picks: Lions vs. Vikings score predictions
Lions notes: Dan Campbell explains why team didn’t milk play clock during fourth quarter
28 players from Missouri started the season on NFL rosters. How many can you name?
Monday Overreactions: Is Dan Campbell capable of making decisions in the big moments?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.