McCollum is an undrafted rookie out of Texas A&M. After a redshirt year in 2016, he made seven starts as a freshman at left guard. The next year he moved over to the right side for six starts and one at left guard. After a year as a backup, McCollum returned to the starting lineup in his senior year, this time as the team’s center.
He spent the 2021 offseason with the Texans, serving as a reserve center. He logged 78 preseason snaps at center. Though he did not make the initial 53-man roster, he was immediately signed to the Texans’ practice squad after clearing waivers.
McCollum should fit into the Lions' zone-blocking scheme well, and his ability to play center and guard offers the team something no other reserve lineman can do—save Evan Brown who is slated for starting role. At center as a senior, he showed solid hand placement and improved pass protection, but he will need more power to his game in order to be impactful as a run blocker.
The reason for this move is obvious. During Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, Lions center Frank Ragnow suffered an injury that head coach Dan Campbell described as a “version of turf toe.” Campbell noted that it is unlikely Ragnow will play this week against the Minnesota Vikings. And while Brown will almost certainly fill in for Ragnow, the Lions currently do not have a backup that can play center on the roster or practice squad.
McCollum will serve as depth in case of an emergency, and even could be a possible developmental option for backup center if the Lions like what they see out of the 23-year-old. Additionally, this gives the Lions eight healthy offensive linemen, which qualifies them to keep two additional players active on game day.
The Lions already had one open roster spot, but with Romeo Okwara expected to be placed on injured reserve shortly, there will be no need to create a vacancy for McCollum to fill.
UPDATE: The Lions have made this signing official, along with moving Romeo Okwara to IR.