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Former Air Force linebacker Ryan Watson to attend Detroit Lions rookie minicamp

A unique story of an Air Force graduate.

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NCAA Football: Air Force at Utah State Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft hasn’t even started yet, and the Detroit Lions already have their first player who will attend their rookie minicamp.

Former Air Force linebacker Ryan Watson reportedly worked out for the Lions on Wednesday and accepted an invite to Detroit’s rookie minicamp, scheduled for early May.

How can Watson do that already? Well, Watson actually entered to be eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft. Although he wasn’t taken during the seven rounds, he agreed to a deal with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent.

However, the Department of Defense changed their rules and Watson was not allowed to enter the NFL until he finished his two years of active duty with the Air Force. Now, those two years are up and Watson is free to go anywhere.

Watson last measured in at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, though he says he’s “as strong if not stronger than two years ago.” In his senior year at Air Force, he tallied 10 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks, the second most in the Mountain West Conference.

According to USA Today, Watson had also visited with the Falcons this week, but it appears he has chosen to try out with the Lions instead.

It’ll be a long road for Watson to crack the Lions’ final lineup, especially being out of football for a couple of years, but he’s a unique story and a player worth following to see if he can earn a contract with Detroit.

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