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Monday open thread: Which Brad Holmes draft picks won’t make the 53-man roster?

Entering Brad Holmes’ third season in Detroit, every single pick he has made is still with the Lions. But which of them will fall short of the 53-man roster this season?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

For as hyped as we get about the NFL Draft, the reality is that only a fraction of the draft picks will work out. Whether due to poor performances, injuries, or a loaded roster, many draft selections only last a short while with their original team—if they make it a single season at all.

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes is batting a perfect 1.000 with his draft selections, though only technically. The Lions currently have every draft pick from 2021 and 2022 under contract, though it hasn’t been smooth sailing for all of them.

The 2021 draft class has three stars in Penei Sewell, Alim McNeill, and Amon-Ra St. Brown, with the selection of St. Brown in the fourth round being among Holmes’ best decisions. Derrick Barnes has been largely a rotational role, but he showed plenty of progress in his sophomore season and could make another jump in 2023. The remaining two selections from the 2021 class are different stories. Ifeatu Melifonwu has struggled with injuries and could be the odd man out of a crowded secondary. Jermar Jefferson was a contributor in his rookie season, but he spent 2022 on the practice squad. Levi Onwuzurike was a highly-touted second-round selection, but significant back injuries have prevented his career from taking off.

The 2022 class has just a single season under its belt, but it has been equally promising. Aidan Hutchinson looks like the star defensive end he was billed as. Kerby Joseph became a core part of the secondary down the stretch, and he has the potential to jump into the upper echelon of safeties in the NFL. A pair of sixth-round linebackers, Malcolm Rodriguez and James Houston surprised many by becoming key contributors in their rookie seasons. Josh Paschal had a slow start to his professional career, though he should at the very least be a valuable part of the defensive line rotation. James Mitchell and Chase Lucas had minimal roles during their rookie years, but both will have the opportunity to earn more snaps come training camp. That just leaves Jameson Williams, the explosive wideout that will miss the start of the 2023 season due to a suspension. Having missed most of 2022 recovering from a college injury, fans will have to wait yet again for Williams to have a prominent role.

Adding in the 2023 draft class, a sizable chunk of the roster will be composed of Holmes draft picks. Though it is still early, it is promising that the Lions have been able to rely on many of their draft picks as both starters and depth.

Yet entering the third year of Holmes’ tenure as general manager, will we end up saying goodbye to a few draft selections?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Which Brad Holmes draft picks won’t make the 53-man roster?

My answer: This question is phrased which draft picks because it is very unlikely that every single Holmes pick makes the roster. That’s not a criticism of Holmes, but merely the nature of the NFL—many picks struggle to stick around. Let’s go class by class to figure out who might be on the outs.

For the 2021 class, there are two obvious answers: Jefferson and Onwuzurike. Jefferson was already cut back in 2022, and following a revamped running back room, he will face a serious training camp battle. Onwuzurike has seemingly been “recovering” for his enter NFL career, and with his back injury still proving problematic, his future with the Lions and in the NFL is at serious risk. He simply cannot be counted on as a contributor, and whether released or inactive with injury, it seems unlikely he will be on the active roster come Week 1.

As for the 2022 class, Jameson Williams will technically not make the roster due to his suspension, but he is in no danger of being cut. That might not apply to Chase Lucas, whose roster spot could hinge on his special teams prowess. Otherwise, the 2022 class looks quite secure thanks to Rodriguez and Houston exceeding expectations as sixth rounders.

Ideally, all 2023 rookies will make the roster, but that’s far from given. Barring a massive surprise, the only picks in danger of not making the initial roster are Hendon Hooker, Colby Sorsdal, and Antoine Green. Sorsdal and Green will both face stiff competition along the offensive line and at wide receiver, respectively. Though both of them have the edge over their undrafted and free agent counterparts, either player could miss out if another player outperforms them. As for Hooker, he could miss the start of the season as he returns from a college ACL injury.

All things considered, this is fairly small list of potential cuts, so you have to tip your cap to Holmes and his team for building a solid roster.

Which players do you think are in danger of missing the roster? Scroll down to the comment section and let us know!

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