On Tuesday, the Detroit Lions were awarded defensive lineman John Cominsky off the NFL waiver wire, giving them another potential weapon on their highly reformed defensive line. However, Detroit was far from the only team interested in adding Cominsky. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, there were seven other teams that put in a waiver claim for Cominsky: the Washington Commanders, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, and Cincinnati Bengals.
Detroit was awarded Cominsky because they have the highest waiver priority of the eight teams, which is currently determined by 2021 standings. With the Lions’ 3-13-1 record last season, they hold the second-highest waiver priority in the NFL—only behind the 3-14 Jacksonville Jaguars. That means, from now until after Week 3 of the 2022 regular season (when waiver priority resets to current record), the Lions will be able to acquire any player on the waiver wire that they please, as long as the Jaguars don’t put in a claim for that player as well.
It’s rare to see so many waiver claims for one player, especially a defensive lineman with just a single start and 1.5 sacks to his name in three seasons. However, a closer look at Cominsky’s career reveals why he may be so appealing to other teams. Cominsky, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, played mostly special teams in his rookie season. But he took a significant step as a rotational defender in his next season, playing in nearly 400 defensive snaps and producing 21 pressures and a respectable 67.4 PFF grade in the process. He played all up and down the defensive line, showing off his versatility, and his career appeared to be trending upward.
Then, in 2021, the Falcons hit the reset button on their franchise, overhauling their front office and coaching staff. In the process, the Falcons changed from a four-man front to a 3-4 defense, which does not play to Cominsky’s strengths. He would only play in four games last season.
In Detroit, Cominsky’s fit is plain to see. He should compete for Detroit’s big defensive end role, while providing the same versatility he had in 2022, sliding inside on occasion.
He’s young (26), a good scheme fit, has elite athletic traits, and remains on his rookie deal—which is, essentially, a one-year deal worth $965,000 in non-guaranteed salary. It’s no wonder he had a lot of teams interested in his services.