Even though the Lions got their roster down to 53 players yesterday, it was expected that there would still be some more moves made before the roster is finalized heading into the regular season. The reason for that is because the Lions and all other NFL teams keep a close eye on who gets released as there may be players out there that can come in and make the team better. Detroit felt that there were two worth picking up as they decided to sign linebacker Ryan Nece and claim running back Marcus Thomas.
To make room on the roster for Nece and Thomas, the Lions released linebacker Anthony Cannon and tight end/fullback Sean McHugh. Basically Cannon was swapped out for Nece, who will come in without any learning curve since he has played for the Buccaneers in all six years of his career. Nece knows the Tampa-2 and Lions defensive coordinator Joe Barry knows Nece as he coached him from 2001-2006.
The move to release a tight end in exchange for a running back also makes sense. When the Lions announced their cuts yesterday it was very surprising to see that only two running backs made the team. Looking back, though, it is pretty clear that they were going to pick up someone, but kept only two running backs to keep more depth at other positions for the time being. That gave the Lions more flexibility until they found an extra RB, and that extra RB is Marcus Thomas, who was cut by the Chargers yesterday. Thomas is entering his first year in the NFL as he was drafted by San Diego in the fifth-round of this year's draft.