Exclusive: Lions’ rookie Loren Strickland knows exactly what he has to do to make the 53-man roster

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“I think it really first probably stems from my brother.” Strickland said. “My older brother played safety at UIndy (University of Indianapolis) just like I did. He’s seven years older than me and he was a guy, if you ever went back and watched his film, it looks just like mine. He was out there just destroying people and coming down and cracking, lighting up tight ends and running backs and receivers. And I just loved watching him play. It was so awesome to me… And then being at Ball State, my first year only playing special teams, I was like, hitting hard is gonna be the way that I get noticed out here as a special teams guy. And that’s what I got to do.”

Strickland also noted that his history of being a running back helped in terms of his willingness to hit because he was not a guy that was trying to juke players he was trying to lower the shoulder and go through them. He credited being on the wrestling team for helping him channel his athleticism. 

He noted he liked to throw when he was a wrestler. Here’s hoping we see an exhibition match between Strickland and Malcolm Rodriguez. You might remember that Rodriguez likes to throw too. Jason Kelce sure does. I asked him if we’d ever get that dream match.

“I didn’t know he was a wrestler but I doubt it. We wouldn’t really be the same weight class lol. Plus my moves are probably a bit rusty since it’s been 6-7 years.”

Strickland has spent much of his time in Detroit working on the special teams unit. That’s a solid place to be able to earn a spot and we have heard Dan Campbell talk about players that are lower on the depth chart needing to be able to play special teams to make the 53-man roster. 

Strickland has that understanding and he says he’s already formed a good relationship with Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp and that he knows what he has to do this summer.

“I gotta be a guy that goes out day in and day out, and I gotta compete. I gotta win all my one on ones when I get those opportunities and I gotta show the coaches I know what I’m doing and that’s just about getting in this playbook over this time off and being able to come back so I can play very fast and be in position on all those drills that are special teams oriented. I got to show coach Fipp and all the coaches that I’m a guy they don’t want to lose out on or a guy they want to keep around.” 

Strickland had multiple teams that were interested in him pre-draft. He had conversations with the Bears, Colts, Saints and Dolphins. But it was the Lions he and his agent felt the best about. Turns out the Lions also felt that way. 

“Just stayed in contact with me and mostly my agent, just you know, saying all positive things wishing me luck on the day. And just to see where things were going. We both met had a mutual understanding that Detroit is a great place. They wanted me to be there and I wanted to be there just because the culture. I think it was a great fit. And just the way that they they showed a lot of love to me during the whole process from the Pro Day. So that’s really it. It was just we’re gonna see how the day goes and just stay positive. But we know we both want to try and get me there.” 

Strickland will report to training camp along with the rest of the Lions rookies on July 20th. He is a player to keep an eye on during that time and especially in the preseason where he’ll be able show off that violent tackling ability. He’s a got a good shot to make the 53-man roster. 

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