With NFL rosters reduced to 53 players on Tuesday, teams scrambled to make waiver claims this morning, looking to further bolster their rosters. The Detroit Lions made two waiver claims, adding WR KhaDarel Hodge and K Austin Seibert, and were likely hoping for some of their released/waived players to go unclaimed so they could add them to the practice squad.
Unfortunately, they won’t have that option with CB Mike Ford, as he was awarded to the Denver Broncos via the waiver process—the only Lions player claimed in this cycle.
Ford, who opened up camp as the Lions starting nickel corner, seemed to fall out of favor with the coaching staff midway through training camp. Around that time, the Lions had released Quinton Dunbar—who was dealing with personal reasons—and coaches shifted Ford to outside corner to help with depth. That opened the door for UDFA rookie AJ Parker to showcase his skill set, and after an incredibly impressive preseason, he appears to be the frontrunner to start at nickel.
Despite Parker taking his spot at nickel, Ford still looked in good shape to earn the No. 3 outside corner role and appeared to be holding off third-round rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu. By Game 3 of the preseason, it appeared Melifonwu had passed Ford on the depth chart and his spot on the roster became vulnerable.
Still working in Ford’s favor was his role as the team’s starting gunner on special teams—a spot he held all of training camp.
Unfortunately for Ford, his primary competition for both the gunner role and for the two remaining spots at cornerback were Bobby Price (the other starting gunner) and UDFA Jerry Jacobs (a reserve gunner most of camp), whose games was also ascending.
In the end, the Lions opted for youth, keeping Price and Jacobs on the roster, and placing Ford on the waiver wire.