As we near the end of our roster review for upcoming free agents, we turn our attention to one of the least-known players from the 2017 season who actually saw significant playing time: Defensive tackle Christian Ringo.
Expectations before 2017
Ringo began the year with the Lions’ rivals, the Green Bay Packers. After appearing in eight games with Green Bay in 2016, the former sixth-round pick failed to make the Packers’ final 53-man roster. He was quickly claimed on waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals, but only lasted a week before getting waived again.
The Lions quickly stashed him on the practice squad, but there was little expectation they’d use him, even though they were limited in their defensive tackle depth.
Actual role in 2017
2017 stats: 6 games: 3 tackles
PFF grade: 72.8 (did not qualify for PFF ranking)
The Lions promoted Ringo to the active roster in late November, hoping for an improvement over Khyri Thornton, who had seen significant playing time after serving his six-game suspension and jumping a spot on the depth chart due to the Week 5 injury to Haloti Ngata.
Getting around 20 snaps per game, Ringo wasn’t much of a factor in any of the final six games of the season. Both he and linemate Jeremiah Ledbetter struggled to help clog space and were partially responsible for Detroit’s run defense collapsing down the stretch.
Outlook for 2018
Contract Status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
Ringo is young (25) and still pretty raw, but it’s hard to look at anything he did over the final six games of the Lions’ season and see anything promising enough to warrant a legit shot at playing time in 2018.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Lions won’t give him a chance. He’s essentially free at this point, and the Lions will be permitted to carry 90 players on their roster. Ringo could come in and compete for a spot, and considering he’s also practice squad eligible, he’s got some value over ineffective veterans.
But there’s one big problem here: An incoming group of coaches he has never worked with. Obviously, Bob Quinn remains the general manager, so there’s a chance Quinn was playing chess 3 moves in advance and may think he’s a fit with the current set of coaches, but even so, it’s an extreme uphill climb for Ringo to make this roster.
Previously: DE Dwight Freeney, LB Tahir Whitehead , DE Ezekiel Ansah, S Tavon Wilson, CB Nevin Lawson, LS Don Muhlbach, LB Paul Worrilow, WR TJ Jones, TE Darren Fells, OT Greg Robinson, DT Jordan Hill, CB DJ Hayden, S Don Carey, LB Nick Bellore, G Don Barclay, RB Mike James, C Travis Swanson, QB Jake Rudock, G Zac Kerin, LB/DE Brandon Copeland, RB Zach Zenner, DT Haloti Ngata, DT Rodney Coe, DE Kerry Hyder, QB Alek Torgersen