The Detroit Lions, like most teams, have been a bit cautious in the fourth preseason game, and their matchup against the Bills in 2017 was no exception. The team sat at least 30 players, presumably roster locks, and let everyone else battle it out against the Bills depth players. Some rose to the occasion, but the majority of the Lions players, especially in the first half, struggled to make any notable impact.
Stock Down: Teez Tabor, CB
By my count, Teez Tabor has already allowed 3 catches, plus missed a tackle on that TD run. Yikes.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 31, 2017
Teez Tabor was getting picked on early and often by the Bills. On a promising note, he started out showing some strong tackling skills. Tackling was a huge issue for Tabor in college, and it did show up once on a touchdown where he missed a tackle, but overall that was a strong part of his game. Unfortunately, coverage wasn’t as much, as Tabor gave up almost every pass thrown in his direction. If it weren’t a fifth-round rookie quarterback throwing to an undrafted rookie wide receiver, that wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But it was, so it is.
Stock Up: Cornelius Lucas, OT
Prior to his injury, Cornelius Lucas looked pretty good today. Gonna have to wait and see.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) September 1, 2017
Lions fans have a love/hate relationship with Cornelius Lucas in that they seem to love to hate him. The fourth-year swing tackle played mostly poorly in Detroit aside from a strong finish to 2016, but that seems to have carried over a bit this year. Lucas wasn’t out of place against the Bills defensive front and looked good in most of the snaps I was able to catch him. He’s about as close to a roster lock as it gets without actually being one. He left the game with injury, so obviously the status of that injury could completely throw this off.
Stock Down: Jace Billingsley, WR
Jace Billingsley doing his best Andre Roberts, see how that turned out.— Brandon Knapp (@BKnappBlogs) September 1, 2017
The final wide receiver spot presumably comes down to Jace Billingsley and Jared Abbrederis, and the two were dueling for how best to blow that shot. Billingsley looked lethargic running routes and more so when he got the ball. He was not nearly the electric firebrand he was last season at this time. To add to his woes, he struggled on special teams, even putting the ball on the dirt at one point.
Stock Up: Leo Koloamatangi, OC
Leo KoloIcan'tspellhislastnameyet is throwing some nice blocks.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) September 1, 2017
It’s been a quiet preseason for the undrafted rookie center from Hawaii after a hot start. The team seemed hesitant to even allow him any playing time once the preseason games started and I could never figure out why. He looked spectacular in his feature game, however, and seems destined for the practice squad. The offense as a whole wasn’t moving much, but it wasn’t due to poor blocking from the center position.
Stock Down: Jake Rudock, QB
Rudock throws behind the LOS on a screen. Lions not even trying to challenge the mid range routes, let alone deep.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) September 1, 2017
A checkdown king at Iowa, Rudock spent much of his Michigan career throwing passes short of 10 yards, and that continued in his rookie preseason. He has looked a little bit better this year, but regressed to that “checkdown first, checkdown always” mentality. He showed a little bit of running ability, but it would have been much better to see him challenge the ball downfield. By downfield, I mean more than five yards off the line of scrimmage. He didn’t and the offense looked stagnant.
Stock Up: Tion Green, RB
Tion Green is unlikely to make the final roster, but he showed enough as a runner and even as a receiver to put himself firmly on the practice squad. His second-best play was a nice 37-yard scamper where the defensive end lost contain and Green made the entire Bills defense pay for it. Green didn’t show on special teams, but he has potential. His best play came late in the game where he made several defenders miss and ran for the Lions first touchdown of the game.
Jamal Agnew, CB - Agnew played a little and was up and down, but it’s his lack of ST snaps that lands him here. It’s likely if he’s making the roster for ST ability, he already has.
Thurston Armbrister, LB - Armbrister made a special teams tackle, so ST playmaking! Too little, too late, most likely.
Alex Barrett, DE - Barrett played almost the entire game, and while his roster spot isn’t locked up, I have a feeling he’s got a good shot.
Nick Bellore, LB - Bellore made a few plays in this one, and while he’s not likely making the final roster, he’s shown enough for a team to pick him up.
Connor Bozick - Bozick didn’t play much prior to this game and isn’t making the final roster. He had a few moments that looked alright, though, an improvement over before.
Don Carey, FS - Playing deep into the fourth preseason game probably isn’t a good sign, but Carey made a few good plays and we haven’t seen much of that.
Joe Dahl, OG - Dahl was inactive, so he’s got a roster spot! Huzzah?
Quandre Diggs, CB - Have to think Diggs is locked on the roster at this point, barring a trade.
Dontez Ford, WR - The WR as a whole looked really bad, but Ford had a couple catches that weren’t bobbled or fumbled, so give him a nod.
Jeremiah Ledbetter, DT - You can usually tell if a guy has played his way onto the roster if he sees little to no time in the preseason. Where was 98 against the Bills?
Derrick Lott, DT - Lott is a late addition, but he actually made some nice plays in this one.
Caushaud Lyons, DT - Pretty sure I saw 62 in the backfield a few times in the game. Never saw that number in a negative manner.
Rolan Milligan, FS - Milligan has made some plays this preseason and this was another good outing.
Scott Orndoff, TE - Orndoff is not making the final roster, but he might make the practice squad. Lions liked him pre-draft.
Greg Robinson, OT For a guy who wasn’t guaranteed to make the final roster when he was traded for, Robinson fended off his challengers and rested the last preseason game. Nothing left to prove.
Jeremiah Valoaga, DE - In a game where DL were jumping in the neutral zone or lining up offsides, Valoaga quietly had a good game that was relatively mistake-free.
Charles Washington, FS - Washington played early in the game and then sat, a potential sign he’s already secured a spot on the roster or practice squad.
Dwayne Washington, RB - With a no-show in the snaps column, we can write his name in pen on the final roster.
Paul Worrilow, LB - Worrilow may have won the starting SAM job as he didn’t see the field in this one.
Zach Zenner, RB - Zenner is healthy — he practiced earlier this week — and as a healthy scratch, his roster spot is likely secure.
Jared Abbrederis, WR - Abbrederis was fighting for the last roster spot, but he didn’t do enough to convince anyone. Mediocre ST work and lost a fumble.
Matt Asiata, RB - Asiata got a lot of work in the last preseason game and didn’t impress much with them.
Johnson Bademosi, CB - Bademosi isn’t a roster lock, in part because he was active in the fourth preseason game, and he didn’t play like he deserves the spot either.
Nick Becton, OT - Becton played the snaps of the last tackle on the roster. His play on those snaps matched the last on the roster as well.
Alex Carter, SS - Carter didn’t do anything bad in the game, but he got very little work despite being active and even then not until later. Probably not a good sign.
Ego Ferguson, DT - Ferguson has had a bad offseason and has done nothing to endear himself to the Lions or any other team.
Brad Kaaya, WR - Kaaya threw an unforgiveable pick in the end zone. At least he was trying to push the ball downfield, but doesn’t help if you give it to the other team.
Khari Lee, TE - If you’re a bubble player trying to win a spot, don’t drop passes.
Steve Longa, LB - Longa may be on the roster; he seemed to get snaps like he might be, but his coverage skills need work.
Giorgio Newberry, DE - Like Ego Ferguson in training camp, I have no concrete proof that Newberry even exists.
Storm Norton, OT - Norton may make the final roster just because it’s so thin, but man was it a bad game for him.
Pat O’Connor, DE - The Lions seventh-round pick is probably the first draftee cut. Practice squad is where he’s headed.
Michael Rector, WR - Rector may be the weakest WR prospect I’ve seen in all my time covering the Lions.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB - He probably deserved a spot up top with a whole write up on how much he struggled. His worst preseason outing by a wide margin.
Brandon Thomas, OG - The Lions liked Thomas’ potential, but I saw nothing to suggest he’s in their long term plans.
Noel Thomas, WR - It’s good to see him healthy again, but Thomas did nothing to make me think he’s even destined for the practice squad.
Robert Tonyan, TE - Tonyan is likely a practice squad candidate, but the team might move on entirely after this outing. Limited special teams value is his saving grace.
Antwione Williams, LB - Williams wasn’t played like a guy who is expected to start at SAM, while Paul Worrilow didn’t even see the field.