Per the transaction report, the Detroit Lions have claimed CB/KR Corey Ballentine off waivers, filling the vacated spot on their roster after placing Jeff Okudah on injured reserve. The roster now sits at the maximum of 53-players.
Ballentine was selected by the New York Giants in the sixth round of the 2019 draft, and played in 13 games, starting two during his rookie season. In 2020, he played nine more games with the Giants, starting another two, before he was surprisingly released and claimed by the New York Jets. He would play in six more games with the Jets to close out the year.
This offseason, Ballentine was with the Jets once again but injured his knee in the preseason (on the play in the tweet below) and eventually landed on injured reserve. On Wednesday, the Jets waived Ballentine from injured reserve, and he was subsequently claimed by the Lions.
What a return by Corey Ballentine!#Jets | #NYJvsGB— Harrison Glaser (@NYJetsTFMedia) August 21, 2021
Coming out of Washburn, Ballentine was considered an explosive athlete (9.37 RAS score) who excelled in man coverage but needed time to be coached up on defense, while also providing some extra spark as a return man. His time in the league has been relatively disappointing on defense so far, but the potential is there for him to become a contributor.
The Lions now have six healthy corners on the active roster and three on the practice squad, including veterans Nickell Robey-Coleman and Daryl Worley.
While Ballentine may not initially compete for playing time on defense, he should immediately be in the mix for the kick return job (he averages 24.5 yards per return in the NFL) after incumbent Godwin Igwebuike struggled in the opening game.