In Week 1, none of the four players the Detroit Lions elected to protect were elevated to the active roster, but Taylor Decker landing on injured reserve likely changed the team’s plans midweek.
Typically, teams will use the protection clause to give them more security at positions of concern, allowing for extra depth at critical spots like quarterback, or to help guard against groups that have seen injuries, like at offensive tackle.
This week, per the NFL transaction report, the Lions have elected to protect the maximum four players, including three of the same players from Week 1:
- Steven Montez, QB
- Will Holden, OT (New this week)
- Bruce Hector, DL
- Jalen Elliott, S
As long as Tim Boyle is on injured reserve, expect Montez to be protected by the Lions, assuring they will have three quarterbacks available to practice and potentially available for the game.
Holden being protected appears to be a direct response to Decker’s injury, as the Lions only currently have two offensive tackles on the active roster: Penei Sewell and Matt Nelson. Holden is the Lions' most experienced reserve offensive lineman and has starts at both left and right tackle over his career.
Last week, Holden was not on the roster when the Lions assigned their protections, and instead, they went with OG Tommy Kraemer, who was later promoted to the active roster. Kraemer was released earlier today, though it is anticipated that he will return to the team’s practice squad if he clears waivers. Don’t be surprised if Holden is either signed to the active roster or elevated for this week’s game.
Hector and Elliott are value protections. Hector is one of the most talented players on the Lions' practice squad, while Elliott provides the Lions will experience at both safety spots, as well as several key roles on special teams.