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2019 Detroit Lions player rankings: 70-61

A look at the roster bubble/practice squad players.

Cleveland Browns v Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

We’ve reached the point in our 2019 Detroit Lions roster ranking where we’re talking about players who have a legitimate chance to crack the 53-man roster. The players ranked 70-61 have some work to do next month to convince coaches they deserve to be considered, but, at the very least, these players will be considered a high priority to keep around on the practice squad, if still eligible.

If you need to catch up on our countdown, here are our two previous installments.

70. WR Deontez Alexander (High: 68, Low: 76)

Last year: 75

Last year, Deontez Alexander suffered an injury during training camp that saw him getting waived before the team’s first preseason game. Though that originally meant he reverted to the team’s injured reserve list, the Lions eventually released him from that.

However, he would return to the practice squad in late November, before getting released and re-signed to the practice squad one more time by the season’s end. The Lions liked him enough to give him a future contract, but he’ll have to overcome a turbulent rookie year to make any noise in 2019.

69. WR Jonathan Duhart (High: 57, Low: 88)

The college teammate of Lions sixth-round pick Travis Fulgham, Duhart was one of the more notable undrafted free agent signings for Detroit. The Lions don’t have much depth at outside receiver, and at 6-foot-3, he’s one of the biggest receivers on the roster. His senior year at Old Dominion was certainly promising—hauling in 74 catches for 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns.

68. WR Chris Lacy (High: 62, Low: 78)

Last year: 86

Lacy takes a big jump from last year—perhaps simply because he’s a familiar name. Lacy failed to make the team last year, but spent almost the entire season on the team’s practice squad.

In late December, after the Lions were going through some wide receiver injuries, Lacy was promoted to the active 53-man roster, where he would stay for the final two games. He was on the gameday roster for Week 17, but didn’t record any stats after playing 35 offensive snaps in the finale.

67. DT John Atkins (High: 62, Low: 82)

Much like Lacy, the Lions swooped up John Atkins last offseason after a short, failed stint with the Patriots. He, too, spent most of 2018 on the practice squad before getting some late-season action. Atkins played in 40 defensive snaps in the final two weeks, notching a single tackle.

With a year under his belt now, Atkins will be among several defensive linemen looking to back up Detroit’s current impressive set of starting defensive tackles.

66. DT Darius Kilgo (High: 59, Low: 78)

Also in that conversation is Darius Kilgo, a four-year veteran who has fortunately won the Super Bowl twice in his young career.

Last year, Kilgo played in 11 games for the Tennessee Titans. Previously, he had played a couple years with the Broncos and spent time with the Patriots.

Kilgo has never been much of a pass rusher, but has displayed the kind of upper-body strength that Detroit likes in their run-stuffing defenders. Still, the Lions have plenty of players that can do what Kilgo does, just without the actual NFL experience.

65. TE Isaac Nauta (High: 54, Low: 85)

Nauta is the first Lions draft pick to crack this list, even though he was the team’s second-to-last pick. There’s a lot of disagreement here, with Alex Reno ranking him as the 54th best player while Kent Lee Platte had him 85th. If Kent ranked him that low, you know what’s coming... yep, a horrible RAS card:

That being said, the Lions clearly like something about Nauta, and they aren’t buying the poor testing. Here’s what general manager Bob Quinn had to say about him on draft night:

“He was a guy we really had good grades on. He didn’t test as well as we all thought. You watch this guy at Georgia, like he gets open in the passing game when you watch Georgia film. He went to the Combine, and I remember like, us all looking around like, ‘Wow, he ran that?’”

Given the team’s lack of depth at tight end beyond their top three, there’s a legitimate chance he makes the roster.

64. CB Dee Virgin (High: 57, Low: 73)

The Lions quickly claimed Virgin off the waiver wire after the initial NFL cuts of 2018. After a handful of special teams snaps in the first month of the season, the Lions waived him and brought him back on the practice squad for the remainder of the year.

Virgin has always been a developmental project, coming from West Alabama, but if he’s going to make it in Detroit, he’s going to have to show something soon. His practice squad eligibility won’t last forever.

63. OT Andrew Donnal (High: 59, Low: 71)

The Lions like Andrew Donnal so much that despite him consistently landing on the injury report throughout the first month of the season, he remained on the roster. For the most part, he was a gameday scratch throughout the season, and he ended 2018 with just nine special teams snaps to his name.

That being said, Donnal has a chance to again win a roster spot, as the Lions’ offensive tackle depth remains quite slim.

62. DE Eric Lee (High: 55, Low: 77)

Hey look! Another preseason addition for the 2018 season coming from New England. Lee didn’t make Patriots’ final roster, so Detroit kept him on their practice squad for the majority of the 2018 season.

Lee did make a couple of appearances on the 53-man roster during the season and even saw the field in nine games last year. But in his 97 defensive snaps, he recorded just six tackles and a PFF grade of 52.8.

61. DT P.J. Johnson (High: 51, Low: 66)

The Lions’ final draft pick of 2019 rounds out the 60s. Johnson’s role is quite defined on the team. He will be in contention for the backup role behind Damon Harrison Sr. Will that be worthy of a roster spot on its own? Time will tell. But coming from a successful run at Arizona where he was a stout run defender bodes well for his fit in Detroit.

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