The Detroit Lions announced on Saturday that they have elevated running back Justin Jackson and linebacker Anthony Pittman to the Week 1 game day, making them eligible to play against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Each week, teams are eligible to elevate up to two practice squad members up to the active roster on game days. In previous seasons, players were allowed two roster elevations during the season before needing to be signed to the active roster, but this offseason, the NFL expanded that number to three total elevations per year.
As the fourth running back on the roster—barring one of the top three being inactive—Jackson is likely being elevated for special teams purposes. In the third game of the preseason, Jackson was one of the Lions' kick returners and averaged 26.5 yards per return. But his ability to contribute to special teams goes beyond kick returns and can be used in all four phases.
Pittman is also a four-phase special teams player and as the team’s sixth stack linebacker, he will surely be asked to contribute there. Last season Pittman saw more special teams snaps than any other Lions player—nearly 100 more—and was a surprise cut this season because of his value there. Pittman also specializes as a third-down pass-rushing linebacker and could be used situationally as needed.
With Levi Onwuzurike placed on injured reserve, the Lions have an extra roster spot open, and this game could very well be an opportunity for Jackson and Pittman to battle it out for that open position.