We’re now into the meat of the Detroit Lions in our countdown from player 89 to 1. There’s a very good chance that the majority of the players listed below will contribute in some way to the team for the 2022 season. Some will make the roster and contribute immediately. Others may find their way onto the practice squad initially, having to defer their chance to play on Sundays to later in the season or perhaps in another destination.
Players in the 60-51 range feature a few linebackers, which should come as little surprise, because it seems like all of them are right there on the roster bubble.
Let’s take a closer look at those players and the competition around that roster bubble.
60. LB Shaun Dion Hamilton (Highest ranking: 47; Lowest ranking: 65)
Shaun Dion Hamilton drops eight spots in this year’s list, which I find pretty interesting. Obviously, Hamilton was harmed by missing all of the 2021 season with an injury suffered in the preseason. However, his addition in free agency was considered relatively minor. Hamilton created serious buzz during training camp last year, and he’ll have to do so again to crack the 53-man roster this year.
59. G Logan Stenberg (Highest: 52; Lowest: 66)
Stenberg has slid from 34 to 48 to 59, which is a stark reminder that a young player’s trajectory is not always up. That said, there is a certain amount of hope surrounding Stenberg in Year 3 of his career. After spending much of the 2021 season rehabbing from injury alongside Frank Ragnow, Stenberg is primed to contend for the primary backup role at guard. And who knows? If he can finally show some technical growth with his feisty attitude, he could potentially be in play for a starting role in 2023. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He still has work to do to even make the roster this year.
58. WR Trinity Benson (Highest: 50; Lowest: 63)
Last year’s ranking: N/A
Speaking of players hoping to take a jump this year, Benson has a lot to prove after a disappointing 2021 season. The Lions, desperate for offensive talent, traded a fifth and seventh-round pick for Benson and a sixth-round pick. Benson was immediately thrown into the fire—the first action of his NFL career—and, simply put, he was not ready for the moment.
However, with a year to acclimate to this offensive scheme, Benson looked like an entirely different player during OTAs, capable of using his speed in several different ways.
Perhaps the most interesting comment about Benson this year came from head coach Dan Campbell, who was already thinking about how Benson could help them on special teams.
“He’s pretty tough. I think he can help us on special teams. I think he can be gunner, and so if we can feel that speed, and he continues to catch the ball, and do what he’s done in spring, and then he comes out and competes at a gunner on special teams, I think that serves him well, serves us well.”
57. CB Bobby Price (Highest: 46; Lowest: 72)
Price holds steady at 57 after making the transition from safety to cornerback last year. That was enough to make the 53-man roster last year, but when injuries gave him an opportunity to play on defense, he struggled and was eventually beaten out by Jerry Jacobs.
Price still played a valuable role on special teams, but the Lions have a bunch of special teamers on the team now. He’ll have to prove more comfortable in Year 2 as an NFL cornerback.
56. EDGE Austin Bryant (Highest: 41; Lowest: 68)
Last year, Bryant got his biggest chance to showcase his talents. He started five games and played in 14. The results were mixed. Though he produced 4.5 sacks and 14 pressures, he earned a PFF grade of just 54.5 with a pass rush grade of 56.2.
55. LS Scott Daly (Highest: 33; Lowest: 76)
In previous years, it had been a time-honored tradition in these roster rankings to put the backup long snapper at the very bottom. Little did we know last year that Scott Daly would end up toppling a giant, beating out the eternal Don Muhlbach for the starting job.
It should come as little surprise that there’s a pretty long range of rankings for Daly. For one, it’s really hard to assess the level of play for a long snapper, considering most outcomes are binary: you messed up bad or you didn’t. Additionally, positional value likely played a part in some of these lists, and if that’s part of the equation, it’s hard to put Daly in the top 50.
54. K Austin Seibert (Highest: 42; Lowest: 63)
Last year’s ranking: N/A
Seibert stumbled upon the Lions’ starting kicking job after Detroit decided to boot both contenders from training camp. Seibert came in and made 10-of-12 field goals and all five extra points. However, a hip injury that required surgery sidelined him for the rest of the season, giving way to rookie pickup Riley Patterson.
Patterson finished out the season 13-of-14, which likely set him up as the favorite for the job going into 2022. However, he has yet to make a field goal beyond 50 yards.
Both Seibert and Patterson struggled in spring camp, setting up the month of August to determine Detroit’s primary kicker.
53. G Tommy Kraemer (Highest: 43; Lowest: 59)
Kraemer represents our biggest jump thus far in the countdown, and it’s the simple case of going from an undrafted rookie with minimal expectations to an adequate reserve who took advantage of the small opportunities he had in 2021. Kraemer ended up making nine game appearances and three starts. He filled in both on the left and right sides, and looked somewhat comfortable. He enters training camp likely above Stenberg on the depth chart, but that’s an underrated camp battle to watch.
52. LB Jarrad Davis (Highest: 43; Lowest: 58)
Last year’s ranking: N/A (32nd in 2020)
After spending a year with the Jets, the Lions’ former first-round pick is back, but with lowered expectations. Davis is firmly on the roster bubble, and he knows it. But he’s made the climb before.
“Before I got a chance to really play and show what I was made of at Florida, I was on the bench,” Davis told reporters back in March. “There are so many things I’ve had to overcome and this is just one more thing in my life and it excites me because I’ve told people plenty of times, it’s not always easy to be on the top of the mountain.”
Davis will get a fair shot to win a roster spot in a linebacker room that is far from settled. It appears the Lions will also try to lean into Davis’ skills as a pass rusher, something that was far too underutilized in his first stint in Detroit.
51. EDGE James Houston (Highest: 41; Lowest: 66)
Last year’s ranking: N/A
Interesting that Houston falls right above Davis in our countdown because the two could very well be fighting for the same roster spot. However, plans may have changed with Houston. Initially, the Lions appeared determined to give Houston a split role between off-ball linebacker and defensive end. But the coaching staff, noticing that too much was on his plate, scaled back the linebacker duties.
“This whole week, he’ll be in my room, this whole week,” Lions defensive line coach Todd Wash said during the final week of OTAs. “We’re trying to calm his world down a little bit, with the mental side of things, and let him really show his athleticism that we saw at Jackson State.”
Will the Lions slowly introduce Houston back to the linebacker room, or will his role be more limited in his rookie season? And how will that impact his roster chances?