Every year it happens. A Detroit Lions player that we ignored for most of the preseason makes his way onto the final 53-man roster.
Last year, it was Adairius Barnes, a cornerback whose landing on the final 53-man roster had beat writers wondering if they simply forgot to take him off their list. The year before that, youngsters Phillip Hunt and a guy named Zach Zenner were mild surprises, as they were both spared from release.
There are plenty of candidates for this year’s squad. As the roster currently stands, there are bound to be a few undrafted free agents who make the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But there could be surprises elsewhere. For example, did Tion Green’s excellent preseason finale impress the coaches enough to justify a roster spot? Today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is your darkhorse candidate to make the Lions’ 53-man roster?
My answer: I’m going to go a little out of the box here and say offensive tackle Corey Robinson. Robinson has spent all training camp and preseason on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and hasn’t shown any signs of coming off it.
But here’s how I read the situation. The Lions released Cyrus Kouandjio earlier in the week, and while his play was probably not good enough to make the team, the Lions don’t really have a good, healthy fourth tackle on the squad. Storm Norton just isn’t close to ready yet and needs a year on the practice squad.
Therefore, I read the Kouandjio release as a sign Robinson is close enough to be taken off the PUP list and land on the 53-man roster. My guess is he’ll be inactive on gamedays for a week or two, but he’s close enough to justify a roster spot and avoid the regular season PUP list, which would cost him at least the first six weeks of the year.