The time for NFL football is now upon us and we are only days away from the Detroit Lions preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. Preseason games are interesting to watch as a fan. The familiar names on the Lions roster such as Matthew Stafford, Darius Slay and Golden Tate shouldn’t see more than a single series of game action this Friday, and it will be a chance for bottom roster players to make an impression in Detroit before the 53-man roster cut. This week we are going to spend some time introducing you guys to some players to watch during this upcoming month of
It is rare that an undrafted free agent gets as much hype as wide receiver Teo Redding did entering last spring’s rookie camp. The Bowling Green product was one of the most exciting players in the MAC last season, but his small school status meant that he did not get the attention he truly deserved in the months leading up to the draft. He slipped through the cracks and the Lions signed him to a UDFA deal shortly after the draft.
Redding caught 45 passes last season, racking up 624 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior year. Even more impressive is that he didn’t drop a single one of his 71 targets in 2017. The receiver has great hands and the ability to make spectacular jump-ball catches when given the opportunity.
He has great speed as well and can torch defenders downfield. Redding ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at Bowling Green’s pro day last spring. He recorded a 38.5-inch vertical jump, which combines with his 6-foot-1 frame to make him an exceptional deep-ball threat. The receiver is not very physically imposing, though, and is susceptible to getting pushed around by stronger, more physical corners.
While the comparison might seem lofty, Redding has a similar game to that of Lions receiver Marvin Jones Jr.
Pride of Detroit’s Alex Reno, who watched Redding in Lions training camp, agreed:
“He has the frame of Marvin, plays a lot like him, too. Deep threat... Has had his ups and downs. More flashy than consistent.”
He still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of route running and overall football, IQ but it’s very realistic to think that there is a place for his talents within such a pass heavy league.
Wide receiver is one of the deepest positions on the Lions roster. Tate, Jones and Kenny Golladay are locks to make the 53-man roster. TJ Jones has had a great training camp so far, and his previous work in Detroit make him a near lock for the roster as well. Last season the Lions only chose to hold on to four receivers for their opening season roster. Redding will be competing with the likes of running back Zach Zenner, tackle Corey Robinson and even fellow wideouts Bradley Marquez and Jace Billingsley, who both have NFL experience, to make the final cut.
His most viable path to earning a roster spot is by showing up on special teams but most likely he will end up not making the cut. Redding is a virtual lock to make the practice squad this season, though. We may not see much of him this year once the regular season kicks off, but having a player of his caliber waiting in the wings in case of an injury somewhere above him on the roster speaks well to the depth the Lions currently have.