The Detroit Lions officially started their roster cuts on Sunday, waiving eight players and releasing an additional five. Among those first round of cuts, there weren’t many—if any—surprises. Not to be cruel to the players who lost their jobs this weekend, but many of those players were fighting an uphill battle.
That said, the most notable cut was that of veteran offensive tackle Germain Ifedi. Detroit signed Ifedi in the hopes that he would raise the level of competition for the team’s third offensive tackle. With 83 games of starting experience, there was hope Ifedi—a former first-round pick—could bring some stability to Detroit.
But Ifedi was cut, which likely means that the Lions went with their incumbent offensive tackle, Matt Nelson. For some Lions fans, it’s a frustrating development, as Nelson struggled last season, and his very first snap of the preseason was a pressure he allowed that led to an ugly interception.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Did the Lions make the wrong decision with Germain Ifedi?
My answer: Not really.
You could certainly make the argument that Ifedi had the better preseason. In three games—two at right tackle, one at left tackle—Ifedi allowed zero pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, Nelson allowed six. Ifedi even edged out Nelson in run blocking grade, posting to 68.3 grade over Nelson’s 67.1.
But overall, I thought their play was quite similar if you include all of the preseason. It’s also quite clear that the Lions preferred Nelson both because he played left tackle for most of camp, and because he was the preferred choice in formations with an extra offensive linemen.
Additionally, you kind of already know what you have in Ifedi. In his seven seasons in the NFL, he has only posted a PFF grade above 62 a single time. He’s particularly struggled as a run blocker his entire career, and that’s just not going to fly in Detroit—where the run game is a large part of their offensive identity.
Nelson is a couple years younger, and while his run blocking isn’t spectacular, the Lions trust it enough to give him responsibilities in heavy packages.
So while I certainly think you could have made an easy argument for Ifedi to win this position battle, I truly think this was essentially a toss up. And, of course, with plenty of roster cuts still to go, there’s always a chance the Lions surprise us or acquire a different player to take Nelson’s place.
What are your thoughts on the Ifedi release? Are you comfortable moving forward with Nelson? Scroll to the comment section below and let’s hear your thoughts!
Were the Lions right to cut Germain Ifedi?
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