Every week, we’re checking in with notable former Detroit Lions players whom the team parted ways with this offseason.
This week, our focus is on one of fans’ favorite undrafted rookies: cornerback Starling Thomas V. He was one of the team’s tougher roster cuts and was the only Lions player among those initial cuts who was claimed by another team—in this case, the Arizona Cardinals.
After being inactive for the first four weeks of the season, Thomas got his first career start on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Let’s see how he—and all the other former Lions—did in Week 7.
- Week 1 results: Several former Lions struggle in debut
- Week 2 results: Injuries plague former Lions
- Week 3 results: D’Andre Swift continues electric season with Eagles
- Week 4 results: Jeff Okudah solid in first Falcons start
- Week 6 results: Jeff Okudah continuing strong season with Falcons
Note: These are only players who were not brought back in 2023. For example, T.J. Hockenson was not included because we already saw him in a Vikings uniform in 2022. (He had 11 catches for 86 yards, if you want to know so bad).
RB D’Andre Swift — Eagles
Stats: 15 carries, 62 yards; 3 carries, 13 yards
Swift’s efficiency has slowed down a bit as of late, but he’s still the primary back in Philly and his body is holding up well. Through seven games, he’s played 59 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps, which is well above his highest mark in three years in Detroit (51%).
He’s also still doing this:
RB Jamaal Williams — Saints
Stats: 5 carries, 14 yards
The Saints activated Williams from IR, but it almost seemed like a waste on Thursday night, as Alvin Kamara—back from his suspension—carried the load against the Jaguars. Even in short-yardage situations, New Orleans barely used Williams. He got a total of 20 snaps compared to Kamara’s 66.
WR DJ Chark — Panthers
Stats: Bye week
Through five games (three starts), Chark has 13 catches for 197 yards and two touchdowns.
C Evan Brown — Seahawks
Stats: Inactive (hip injury)
Brown suffered a hip injury last week, and couldn’t quite make it back in time for Week 7. He did have a limited practice on Friday, though, suggesting he won’t be out for long.
LB Josh Woods — Cardinals
Stats: 6 tackles, 69.7 PFF grade
Woods continues to be the Cardinals’ starting inside linebacker and had a solid day against the Seahawks. Not only has he been a solid contributor on defense, but he continues to play a special teams role in Arizona.
LB Chris Board — Patriots
Stats: 1 tackle
Board is still solely a special teamer for the Patriots, but obviously, that franchise deeply values that aspect of the game. Board continues to lead the team in special teams snaps, along with Matthew Slater and Brenden Schooler.
CB Mike Hughes — Falcons
Stats: 1 punt return, 9 yards
Hughes got three snaps on special teams as the Falcons’ punt returner, and an additional four on defense, where he did not record a stat.
CB Jeff Okudah — Falcons
Stats: 6 tackles, 1 pass breakup
The general consensus from Falcons fans was that it was another very solid game from Okudah, but PFF paints a very different picture. He received just a 50.0 grade and 44.3 in coverage grade. Okudah also got called for a defensive holding on a third down.
I didn’t watch the game myself, but by PFF’s own stats, Okudah allowed just three completions on seven targets for a total of 23 yards and a pass breakup. Here’s Isaiah DeAnda Delgado of WSAV:
Okudah, on the other hand, seemed to be having his name called all game. The offseason addition from the Detroit Lions was a difference maker in this game, regularly coming up with the tackle needed to stall Tampa’s offense.
He finished with six total tackles and a pass deflection. Perhaps Detroit was too quick to move on from the talented young corner, but the Falcons look better for it.
CB Starling Thomas — Cardinals
Stats: 4 tackles (1 for loss), 1 pass defended
After six weeks of almost no use, Starling Thomas suddenly got the start for the Cardinals against a pretty tough assignment in the Seattle Seahawks. He played every single defensive snap for Arizona.
The undrafted rookie held up relatively well for his first serious NFL action. He did give up this touchdown, but it’s hard to blame the coverage here, as it was a ridiculous catch:
JAKE BOBO HAS JUST MADE THE MOST INSANE TOUCHDOWN CATCH YOU'LL SEE TODAY!— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 22, 2023
There were some rookie mistakes, like blown assignments, but many Cardinals fans came away happy with his performance. Per PFF, though, he earned just a 55.1 grade (60.8 in coverage). He allowed six catches on seven targets for 59 yards and the touchdown above.
S DeShon Elliott — Dolphins
Stats: 4 tackles
It was an uncharacteristically quiet day for Elliott, who remains the Dolphins’ full-time starter at safety. He was not targeted in coverage and came away with just three tackles on the day. Elliott remains among the highest-graded safeties in the NFL, ranking seventh with an overall score of 78.5.