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Get to know Lions LB Chris Board, ‘the best special teams player in the league’

Getting to know the Lions’ newest linebacker.

Los Angeles Rams v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

There’s been somewhat of a theme with this Detroit Lions team as of late. If you’re a player who has shown some promise but hasn’t quite figured it out yet, Detroit seems to be the place for you. Ask Charles Harris, Romeo Okwara, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and more. The Lions have taken these players and given them their best shots. Detroit clearly believes in their own ability to coach and develop.

On Monday night the Lions agreed to terms with another player who could benefit in Detroit when they brought on former Ravens linebacker Chris Board. Speaking of Reeves-Maybin, since he left town for the Texans, the Lions were in need of a special teams ace who could also play some linebacker and they appeared to have found that guy in Board.

Can he be more, though? We decided to ask our pal Kyle P. Barber of Baltimore Beatdown what he thought. Here’s what he had to say:

What are your overall thoughts on Board’s time in Baltimore?

“Board has been an excellent special teams player for the past few seasons. According to recently retired special teamer and defensive back Anthony Levine Sr., he’s been “by far the best special teams player in the league.” He is an incredibly hard worker and well respected among his teammates and coaches alike.”

Why do you think the Ravens let Board slip away?

“This is speculation, but the Ravens likely couldn’t match what the Lions offered him. They really liked him and they did extend an offer for Board but he chose elsewhere. I’m a bit surprised because the Ravens like having their veteran special teams players and Board was the next in line for the crown.”

What are Board’s weaknesses?

“Board is in year five and hasn’t developed into a starting-caliber linebacker, and I’m unsure if that changes in Detroit. He was used in some packages throughout the past two seasons, and filled in when other players missed time due to injury, but his successes are in special teams. In his four-year career, he’s never logged more defensive snaps in a season than he played on special teams.”

Board was a special teams ace in Baltimore, can he be starting linebacker in Detroit?

“I don’t see him becoming a starting linebacker. I think he’s an adequate depth option and a brilliant special teams player, but he hasn’t been “the guy” in his four seasons in Baltimore.

“In 2021, Board was given another opportunity to seize a starting role. He averaged 24.5 defensive snaps per game in the first four games of the season. In his final four games, Board’s average dropped to 14 defensive snaps per game. He just hasn’t made the leap.

“His special teams play will be missed in Baltimore and loved in Detroit. I think he’s the kind of player and person Dan Campbell and his coaching staff will appreciate. That was certainly the case with the Ravens.”