Detroit Lions sign running back Justin Jackson to the 53-man roster

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions had an open spot on their 53-man roster, and it has now been filled by running back Justin Jackson.

When they placed defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike on IR last weekend, the Detroit Lions headed into a new week with an open spot on their 53-man roster. On Wednesday, according to  head coach Dan Campbell, running back Justin Jackson has been signed to fill the spot vacated by Onwuzurike.

Jackson was elevated from the practice squad for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, and he played 20 special teams snaps in the game. There was a solid case for him to make the Lions’ active roster heading into the season, but with only four running backs kept it became a numbers game in regard to keeping enough at some other positions.

The Lions signed Jackson near the start of training camp, and he was an interesting depth addition. When he had opportunities with the Chargers he usually produced, with career averages of 5.0 yards per carry and 7.8 yards per catch.

Justin Jackson could have a sneaky important role for the Lions

Thoughts that Jackson was elevated for last week’s game to be the Lions’ kickoff returner did not prove out on the field. But he could get some chances in that role moving forward, with not a lot of (if any) backfield touches available as long as D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are healthy. But having him serve strictly on kick and punt coverage and/or elsewhere on return units feels like it’s not using all he has to offer.

And if something did happen to either Swift or Williams, Jackson would become a prominent cog in the Lions’ offense. So him making an impact at some point can’t be ruled out.

Jackson should have made the Lions’ initial 53-man roster. That slight wrong has been righted, and he should stick for awhile now.

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