The Detroit Lions are elevating running back Jermar Jefferson and cornerback Jarren Williams from the practice squad to the game-day roster for their Week 18 matchup with Green Bay Packers.
Jefferson, a 2021 seventh-round pick by this regime, has been on the Lions practice squad all season but this is his first time being elevated. The Lions have consistently used three running backs on game days, and with four backs ahead of Jefferson on the depth chart, his elevation is likely for special teams purposes.
As a rookie, Jefferson flashed explosiveness and vision on offense but was often a healthy scratch on game days due to his lack of experience on special teams. So this past offseason, Jefferson made a point to learn some new special teams skills and he showed marked improvement. Unfortunately, strong play from Justin Jackson and Craig Reynolds on offense and special teams relegated Jefferson to the practice squad for more development in 2022.
Williams, who signed with the team in late November, was previously elevated in Week 14, also for special teams purposes. He played 14 special teams snaps against the Vikings that day, contributing in all four phases.
One potentially concerning issue is Jeff Okudah’s (elbow) late-week addition to the injury report. It’s highly possible that Williams was not only elevated as a possible special teams contributor but also as insurance in case Okudah is unable to play. Okudah was not downgraded on Saturday (the team’s travel day) which is a great sign he may be available, but it’s also possible they are going to reevaluate him on Sunday ahead of the game. Keep your fingers crossed.