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Lions waive Anthony Zettel, sign DE Romeo Okwara

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The former sixth-round pick of Bob Quinn’s first draft was waived on Wednesday to make room for another defensive end.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions waived defensive lineman Anthony Zettel and were awarded former New York Giants defensive end Romeo Okwara via waivers on Wednesday. The news was first reported by ESPN reporter Field Yates and later confirmed by the Lions organization.

While the move is fairly straight forward—replacing one defensive lineman with another—the transaction comes after the 53-man roster cutdowns and many NFL observers had assumed that Zettel’s place on the Lions roster was secured, perhaps even as a starting option opposite Ezekiel Ansah.

Instead, the Lions have decided to take their chances on the waiver wire, less than six days before their season opener against the New York Jets on “Monday Night Football.”

Okwara, an undrafted lineman from Notre Dame, played for the Giants from 2016 until Tuesday, when he was released by the organization. He spent most of the 2017 season on the injured reserve, suffering from an issue with his knee. During this preseason, Okwara was productive for the Giants, recording eight QB pressures—one sack, one hit, and six hurries according to Pro Football Focus’ Brett Whitefield.

According to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, Zettel, the sixth-round pick from the 2016 NFL Draft, was in the Lions locker room not an hour before he was waived.