Our 2016 Detroit Lions roster review continues now with rookie quarterback Jake Rudock.
Expectations before 2016
It wasn’t a huge surprise when the Detroit Lions selected a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. Newly appointed general manager Bob Quinn mentioned before the April event that teams should invest in a developmental quarterback every other year in the draft.
So when Jake Rudock was selected in the sixth round, there wasn’t much surprise—but there was a lot of excitement. The local quarterback received a lot of hype from fans who thought Rudock could step in immediately take over backup quarterback duties behind Matthew Stafford. Several analysts even thought Rudock was going to win a roster spot as the team’s second or third string quarterback.
Actual role in 2016
2016 stats: 0 games (0 starts)
As we know now, Rudock would not end up making the final roster. He was cut, as the Lions decided to roll with Dan Orlovsky as the only backup quarterback on their 53-man roster for most of the season.
Rudock spent the first 11 weeks of the 2016 season on the Lions’ practice squad, slowly gaining valuable practice reps while learning Jim Bob Cooter’s offensive system.
In Week 12, just a day before the Lions would face off against the Vikings, the Lions promoted Rudock to the active squad in an attempt to prevent the Chicago Bears from poaching him from the practice squad. Rudock would stay on the Lions’ 53-man roster for the rest of the season, but he never made the 46-man game day roster.
Outlook for 2017
It looks like the Detroit Lions may be relying on Rudock as their backup quarterback in 2017. When the Lions promoted him to the 53-man roster, it was a clear sign the Lions were investing in Rudock as a future commodity. Detroit was in desperate need for roster room given their mounting injuries, so the fact that they believed Rudock was worth a spot says a lot about their thoughts on him.
Additionally, Dan Orlovsky’s mysterious tweet from last week may suggest that his time with the Lions is over. Orlovsky will be an unrestricted free agent and turns 34 before the season starts.
However, if the Lions move on from Orlovsky this offseason, that doesn’t mean the backup job is necessarily Rudock’s. The Lions would almost assuredly bring in either a veteran quarterback or another young developmental project to compete with Rudock for the position.
Previously profiled Lions: Riley Reiff, Anquan Boldin, Dan Orlovsky, Devin Taylor, Rafael Bush, Don Muhlbach, Larry Warford, Andre Roberts, TJ Jones, Kerry Hyder, Jon Bostic, Marvin Jones, Alex Carter, Tim Wright, Armonty Bryant, Clay Harbor, Crezdon Butler, Matthew Mulligan, Asa Jackson, Tyrunn Walker, Josh Bynes, Stefan Charles, Cornelius Lucas, Steve Longa, Joique Bell, Taylor Decker, Garrett Reynolds