At his Monday afternoon press conference, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell confirmed a report from earlier in the day that the team will waive tight end Darren Fells, calling it a “mutual decision.” In addition, Campbell took the opportunity to announce that in a corresponding move, the Lions were signing rookie tight end Brock Wright to the 53-man roster.
Wright was brought up from the practice squad each of the last two weeks—in Week 8 he was promoted, while Fells was a healthy scratch—but with no more elevations available for him this season, the only way he would be eligible to play in a regular season game in 2021 was if they signed him to the active roster.
While statically Wright has been quiet, he has impressed as a blocker—something he struggled with in camp—over his 33 snaps. The Lions have made a strong effort to get their younger players snaps as a part of the evaluation process, and with Fells exiting the roster, this was a logical next step.
“You know, Brock did some good things last week,” offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said after his first game. “He’s a technician. He’s just getting an opportunity right now and he’s showing us what he can do.”
The Lions have carried just two tight ends on the active roster all season, and if that trend continues, expect them to lean on fullback Jason Cabinda in an FB/H-back/TE3 role. Additionally, the Lions also have Shane Zylstra—a former wide receiver who is transitioning to tight end—on the practice squad.