The Detroit Lions will take the field on Sunday for their final preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and for those players on the proverbial roster bubble, it’s their final chance to make a case for a spot on this Lions team.
We’ve been keeping track of the players on Detroit’s roster bubble since the beginning of training camp, and last week saw quite a few skill position players change the minds of people here at Pride of Detroit.
While some improved their chances of not seeing their bubble pop when the team must cut down the roster to 53 players, others are hoping to go out and impress those in charge of making personnel decisions when the Lions play the Steelers on Sunday.
This leads us to today’s Question of the Day...
Which Lions player on the roster bubble needs to make their case most vs. Steelers?
Okay, so I’m going to give you two for the price of one right here. First, on offense, I think there’s a real possibility of Justin Jackson making this football team instead of Jermar Jefferson, but it’s going to come down to how Detroit decides to prioritize stacking their roster.
If Detroit goes with four running backs now that Cabinda is on the PUP list, D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are the team’s top two backs, and many would pencil in Craig Reynolds as RB3. The one other running back in the way of Jackson making the roster is special teams ace Godwin Igwebuike, so Detroit is then faced with what I think is really a debate between Jackson and Reynolds, not Igwebuike.
Should Jackson have another eye-catching performance like he did against the Indianapolis Colts last week, it’s hard to argue against going with the productive, efficient veteran runner with plenty of tread given his limited use in Los Angeles.
On defense, the Lions have an ever-intriguing battle happening along their line. Players like Demetrius Taylor, John Cominsky, and Isaiah Buggs each seemed to be on the outside looking in, but each has made a compelling case to spell the injured Levi Onwuzurike and Josh Paschal—as is the case with Taylor and Cominsky respectively—and a big body to back up Alim McNeill like Buggs.
The concern with Onwuzurike’s back shouldn’t be understated at this point. It limited his ability to prepare for his rookie season and his play on the field reflected a player working to get right physically while getting acclimated to the speed and strength of the league. If the Lions want to build themselves some insurance at the three-tech with a penetrating player, Taylor should be their guy. Should Taylor have another disruptive game like he had last week—consistently beating Colts’ offensive linemen with a quick first step—the Lions could take a calculated risk holding onto the undrafted free agent from Appalachian State.