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5 players to watch in the Detroit Lions’ final preseason game vs. Colts

These guys have a chance to seal their fate

NFL: Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

With just one preseason game to go, it’s all about the implications. The Detroit Lions will making the move from 80 players to 53 by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, and for a lot of the guys on the roster, this could be their opportunity to show they can cut the mustard and make the team. Here are five guys to keep an eye on in Friday’s matchup with the Colts.

RB Craig Reynolds

It’s truly been fun to watch Reynolds come out of nowhere during the preseason. He hasn’t ripped off back-to-back 100 yard games or anything like that, but with minimum carries he’s shown that he can get out there and make some moves and that he has a nose for the end zone.

The issue, of course, is that the Lions have two running backs in D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, and there’s reason to believe the team may go with seventh-round pick Jermar Jefferson as their third back. If Reynolds has another good showing on Friday, he could make Brad Holmes’ decision a little tougher.

Regardless of what happens, Reynolds could probably find himself a spot on the practice squad, and with D’Andre Swift possibly missing time early on, Reynolds could find himself on the main roster in relief. He might even see the field.

CB A.J. Parker

I think it’s safe to assume at this point that there’s a roster spot for Parker. So why is he on the list? It’s not so much about what Parker’s performance can do for his standing on the team, it’s what his performance could do to another guys standing on the team.

The undrafted rookie probably wasn’t part of the original plan. Parker playing so well is just a bonus for the Lions. He’s shown that he could be a guy that can come in and play right away, and because of that, veterans like Nickell Robey-Coleman and Corn Elder are suddenly in danger of losing their spots on the roster. A really good Parker performance on Friday could seal the deal.

Tim Boyle

Dear Packers writers,

At what point in time is the laser show supposed to begin? There were multiple writers who believed that Boyle could potentially outduel Jared Goff and become the Lions starter. Yes, that really happened.

Now the question about Boyle isn’t will he beat out Goff, it’s will he make the team? It’s unknown if the Lions will decide to carry three quarterbacks in 2021. Detroit has some talent at other positions and could carry two quarterbacks in an attempt to fill those spots. Boyle has a chance to change some minds if he balls out against the Colts. If he plays well enough, he could find himself a roster spot. At the very least, he could find himself a spot on the practice squad.

Tom Kennedy

Here we are, Lions fans. The Lions receiving squad is quickly showing itself to be a very big weak spot. Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams are both looking like guys that are expendable. Rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown has looked good and Quintez Cephus has looked alright, too. But, the guy who has really showed up is former pro lacrosse player Tom Kennedy.

Kennedy has played well enough to be a part of the Lions practice squad since 2019. In 2021 he could smash through the glass ceiling and make the 53-man roster and get some real life targets. A good game on Friday could cement that.

The good news for Kennedy is that the coaching staff trusts Kennedy.

Derrick Barnes

Okay, I’m cheating on this last one. Barnes is going to make this team, and if he continues to play as well as he’s been playing, he could be a starter by the end of the season. The reason he’s on the list today is because we just want to see him play out there. This could be the last time for a bit that we’ll see Barnes get a ton of work during a game. If he puts in another great game, he could maybe push Jamie Collins out of his spot a little earlier than expected. Even if he doesn't push, he’s just a fun guy to watch play.