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Friday open thread: Which player on IR do the Lions need to return the most?

They could use more than one of them, if we’re being honest.

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

On Thursday, I revisited all of the Detroit Lions injured players, laying out how they were injured and updating their statuses with the latest information available. Currently, the Lions have two players on the reserve/NFI list and six players on season-ending injured reserve. None of those eight players are eligible to play in 2021.

The Lions also have another set of players on injured reserve, but this group is eligible to return to the action once they have completed their designated time on IR and are healthy. The Lions have already returned three players from this list—Taylor Decker, Da’Shawn Hand, and Kevin Strong—but they still have another six that could return during the back half of the season.

That leads us to today’s question:

Which of the six players on injured reserve do the Lions need back the most?

First, let’s look at the six players, noting that all players are eligible to return when healthy unless otherwise noted.

  • QB Tim Boyle (broken thumb on right hand) - Unless you are in the “Boyle can challenge Goff to start camp,” his return is not a high priority. I am not in that camp.
  • WR Tyrell Williams (concussion) - Brain injuries are unique and missing two months with a concussion is typically a bad sign of his availability to return this season. But it’s hard to argue against the instant impact he would have on this offense, as he would likely immediately take over WR1 duties.
  • WR Quintez Cephus (broken collarbone) - The Lions haven’t ruled out his return, but I’d be surprised if he was able to pull it off after surgery. That being said, if he was able to return he was arguably the Lions' most consistent receiver on the season.
  • OL Logan Stenberg (undisclosed, eligible to return in Week 11) - He’s never really seen much game action, so projecting his impact is purely speculation.
  • CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (thigh) - Probably the player with the biggest upside at a position that has been significantly impacted by injuries. If he is able to return he would immediately push for a starting role and it would go a long way towards his development for the future.
  • NB/Ret. Corey Ballentine (hamstring) - The Lions lack explosive playmakers but Ballentine’s only real contributions have come on special teams and the results were less than explosive.

My answer: Tyrell Williams

Melifonwu would have been my choice if we were looking at the long term, but in the short term, the Lions have been able to find replacements at corner—hello, Jerry Jacobs.

Meanwhile at receiver, after Williams and Cephus landed on IR, the Lions have been unable to find a suitable replacement and have been rotating players through the WR3 role desperately looking for answers. If the Lions we able to return either receiver, it could be a huge boost to the offense, and Williams has a better chance of that happening in my mind.

Agree with me? Think I got it wrong? Vote in the poll below and let me know in the comments section below:

Poll

Which of the six players on injured reserve do the Lions need back the most?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    QB Tim Boyle
    (46 votes)
  • 41%
    WR Tyrell Williams
    (362 votes)
  • 23%
    WR Quintez Cephus
    (203 votes)
  • 0%
    OL Logan Stenberg
    (4 votes)
  • 29%
    CB Ifeatu Melifonwu
    (263 votes)
  • 0%
    NB/Ret. Corey Ballentine
    (4 votes)
882 votes total Vote Now