We may finally get our first look at Detroit Lions fourth-round pick Austin Bryant very soon. The edge defender has officially been activated from injured reserve by the Lions and is now eligible to play starting this week.
Bryant injured his upper body early in training camp and was placed on injured reserve shortly thereafter. He returned to practice three weeks ago, but wasn’t eligible to play until the Lions officially placed him on the active 53-man roster on Wednesday.
At Clemson, Bryant tallied 8.5 sacks in both his junior and senior seasons, landing on the second-team and third-team All-ACC teams in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Bryant fits more a jack linebacker role for the Lions, which is a position that is currently filled by Devon Kennard. It’s unlikely that Bryant gets a heavy workload right away. It’s far more likely that he fills in for some special teams and sees some defensive play in some subpackages. But as the season rolls along and Detroit’s playoff chances are eventually mathematically eliminated, we’ll likely see Bryant get his feet wet before 2020.
Unfortunately, to make room for Bryant, the Lions have placed fullback Nick Bawden on injured reserve, ending his season. This is the second straight year Bawden will finish the year on IR, after losing his entire rookie season to a torn ACL. It’s unclear who will replace Bawden at fullback, but the Lions did reportedly work out four different players at that position on Tuesday: Derrick Coleman, Tommy Bohannon, Tre Madden, and Aaron Ripkowski.