Less than 24 hours before their 2020 season kicks off against the Chicago Bears, the Detroit Lions promoted two players from their practice squad to the active roster (essentially creating a 55-man roster). Offensive guard Kenny Wiggins and running back Jonathan Williams are now eligible to play on Sunday, if needed.
Wiggins being promoted is not much of a surprise. Given that starting right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai has already been declared out for Sunday, the Lions need additional depth on the offensive line. Though mostly used as a guard, Wiggins has experience playing at the tackle position and could be used as an emergency if an injury happens to left tackle Taylor Decker or right tackle Tyrell Crosby. Matt Nelson is also available, but he has yet to play an NFL snap.
The addition of Williams is a bit more curious. The Lions already have Kerryon Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ty Johnson and D’Andre Swift on the active roster, and as of Friday, Swift was taken off the injury report. His addition could simply be a matter of special teams, though Williams doesn’t have a lot of experience as a specialist. It’s possible the Lions may take it slow with second-round pick D’Andre Swift, considering he missed most of training camp with a hip injury.
Also notable is the fact that the Lions will only have two active tight ends on Sunday. Hunter Bryant has already been declared out, while T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James will be ready to go. Detroit opted against promoting Isaac Nauta from the practice squad this week.
Under new NFL rules, both Wiggins and Williams can be sent back down to the practice squad after Sunday’s game without being subject to waivers. There are no corresponding moves necessary to make room for both on the active roster.