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Friday open thread: Which player did the Detroit Lions trade for on their Senior Bowl roster?

Get your tinfoil hat, we have a conspiracy theory for ya.

Detroit Lions Training Camp Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Pride of Detroit hosted Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy onto the podcast in a highly informative interview. Nagy touched on a variety of topics, including the new coaching staff rules, breaking down prospects, and pulling the curtain back on how rosters are formed.

When discussing roster formations, Nagy informed Jeremy Reisman and Ryan Mathews that while teams are given the opportunity to trade players between rosters, only one swap was made, and it came at the request of Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes.

So that brings us to today’s question of the day:

Which player did Brad Holmes request to have on the Lions’ Senior Bowl roster?

This could be potentially important because if Holmes specifically requested to get a closer look at a player, it could mean the Lions are more than a little interested in them.

So, let’s put on our detective's hat and see if we can narrow things down based on what we know—and if you need and if you need a refresher on the American roster, here is my breakdown of the offensive and defensive players the Lions will be coaching at the Senior Bowl.

Note: All of this is pure speculation. All of the following rules are just general guidelines to building each roster and not strict rules. This is just meant to be a fun endeavor, not something to take too seriously.

First, Nagy said the swap was one player for one player.

Second, the Senior Bowl prefers to keep college teammates together whenever possible (ie: all the Georgia players are on the American team). Therefore, if it’s a one-for-one swap, then we can eliminate all the players with a teammate on their roster. That eliminates 46 of the Lions' 65 players and 43 of the Jets' 65 players.

Next, if the teams are going to swap players, it would make sense if they played the same position. Well, unfortunately, we can only eliminate quarterback (sorry for those hoping Holmes requested Malik Willis or Sam Howell) and interior defensive line, everything else is still in play. Of course, I could be wrong here and it wasn’t a same position for same position, but let’s keep it simple for now.

From there, it makes sense to look at which of the remaining position groups have perceived unbalanced rosters. Remember, the Senior Bowl makes these rosters ahead of time and strives for balance. Therefore, if one team appears to have an advantage, it may be because they swapped out a player that is perceived to be rated higher for a specific player they may view as a sleeper that they want to get a closer look at.

The position that stands out most to me is the tight end/h-back. The Lions have three players within this group who don’t have a classmate with them on their team:

  • Connor Heyward, H-back, Michigan State
  • Isaiah Likely, tight end, Coastal Carolina
  • Greg Dulcich, tight end, UCLA

Under these same circumstances, the Jets have:

  • Trey McBride, tight end, Colorado State
  • Jake Ferguson, tight end, Wisconsin

Would the Lions have given up McBride or Ferguson for Heyward, Likely, or Dulcich? I think it’s certainly possible, especially if they were targeting a specific kind of player.

While Heyward was my initial gut prediction, looking a bit closer I actually think the Lions requested to see Dulcich.

Dulcich is a converted wide receiver who has only been playing tight end for two seasons, has a very high ceiling, and could be considered a sleeper. He is also not the only UCLA player at the Senior Bowl, as defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia is on the Jets roster—a rare occurrence of separating teammates. The only other occurrence of splitting teammates is Missouri’s Akayleb Evans (linebacker on Lions roster) and Tyler Baddie (running back with Jets), but Baddie was a late addition, so the separation is not as surprising.

Okay, so what do you think. Did I nail this detective work? Narrow the search too early? Overlook a player? Simply pick the wrong one? Vote in the poll and let me know in the comments.

Poll

Which player did Brad Holmes request to have on the Lions’ Senior Bowl roster?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
    (646 votes)
  • 21%
    Conner Heyward, H-back, Michigan State
    (495 votes)
  • 17%
    Other
    (397 votes)
  • 32%
    Erik, seek help
    (735 votes)
2273 votes total Vote Now