When the Detroit Lions signed their undrafted free agents last year, they had to release eight players just to make room for everybody. This was because they already had a nearly full roster with their draft class factored in, so there wasn't a whole lot of flexibility. To add a full class of UDFAs, the Lions had to part ways with some of their current players.
This year, the Lions took a different approach. They had 17 open spots on their roster following the draft, and they only actually filled 12 of them with undrafted free agents. This left five spots up for grabs going into their rookie minicamp over the weekend, and the Lions have now filled three of those spots by signing wide receiver Erik Lora, wide receiver Jarred Haggins and safety Nathan Lindsey.
All three of the Lions' newest signings took part in the team's rookie minicamp as tryout players. Haggins and Lindsey are both brand new to the NFL after going undrafted this year, but this is actually Lora's second go-around as an undrafted free agent. Last year, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings after going undrafted, but he was let go in August. Lora actually visited the Lions before the draft in 2014, so clearly they already had some interest in him way back then.
With these three players being signed, the Lions have now added 15 total undrafted free agents in the last week:
- QB Anthony Boone (Duke)
- RB Rasheed Williams (Alfred State)
- RB Zach Zenner (South Dakota State)
- WR Vernon Johnson (Texas A&M University-Commerce)
- WR Desmond Lawrence (North Carolina A&T)
- WR Erik Lora (Eastern Illinois)
- WR Jarred Haggins (Florida State)
- TE Casey Pierce (Kent State)
- OG Al Bond (Memphis)
- OG Torrian Wilson (UCF)
- LB Kevin Snyder (Rutgers)
- S Isaiah Johnson (Georgia Tech)
- S Brian Suite (Utah State)
- S Nathan Lindsey (Fort Hays State)
- K Kyle Brindza (Notre Dame)
The Lions still have two open spots on their roster, and it's not clear at this time what they plan to do with them. They could simply sign two more players from their rookie minicamp, or perhaps they are going to bring in a couple of more notable free agents with the compensatory picks formula no longer being applicable later this week. I suppose it's also possible that the Lions could simply hang on to those two spots and not do anything with them for now.
In any case, the Lions now have 88 players on their roster.