The Detroit Lions are only two days into organized team activities, and so to make any sort of definitive conclusions would just be silly at this point. I know we are all excited to see the team back in action in Allen Park, but the coaches are still getting to know the players and are in the very early stages of working out how the pieces fit together.
That being said, players are already starting to make an impression with both the media and the team. We have a general idea of the top 40 players on the team, but those final dozen roster spots are still very much up for grabs and will continue to be for the next three months. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is your early dark horse candidate to make the Lions final roster?
My answer: Jared Abbrederis. Many of us—myself included—penciled in Jace Billingsley for the No. 4 wide receiver spot after reports came out that the Lions were impressed with his progress behind the scenes in 2016. However, the signing of Abbrederis to a futures contract back in January was a move that flew under the radar.
Abbrederis is already making an impression at Lions OTAs. ESPN’s Michael Rothstein had this to say about his performance on Wednesday:
In what is going to be a wide-open depth receiver competition, Jared Abbrederis caught my eye Wednesday. He ran mostly with the No. 2 receivers, but caught multiple passes, including jumping and extending for a pass from Jake Rudock over Nevin Lawson.
The Lions have also been testing Abbrederis’ special teams abilities by having him field punts alongside his competition.
Though TJ Jones is currently getting the majority of the reps with the first team, Abbrederis is one of few receivers on the Lions depth chart that has real NFL experience. In 15 games appearances, Abbrederis has 10 catches for 119 yards and has two kick returns for a combined 52 yards. That’s not a ton of experience, but the Lions depth chart is filled with a lot of young, unproven talent, and Abbrederis remains quite youthful at just 26 years old.
As I see it, Abbrederis has as good of a shot to make the team as Jones, Billingsley or Keshawn Martin.