A few years ago, the Detroit Lions hosted the New York Giants for a set of joint practices. During that time, Giants defender Romeo Okwara gave the Lions all they could handle. A few weeks later, though, the Giants cut Okwara given their deep defensive line room.
Remembering how well Okwara played that week of practice, Lions then general manager Bob Quinn quickly swiped Okwara. Five years later, Okwara is still on the team and has posted 22 sacks as a Lion—including 10.0 in 2020.
Who will be this year’s Romeo Okwara? Well, of course, there is no guarantee that the Lions pick up anyone from the Giants this year. After all, Detroit’s roster is in a much better place than it was back in 2018. However, to help take a look at some roster bubble players on the Giants who may catch the eye of the Lions, I chatted with Ed Valentine of Giants SB Nation site Big Blue View for some guidance.
Note: I gave Valentine three positions of potential need: wide receiver, offensive line, and defensive tackle. He did not list any defensive tackle prospects. Here are the prospects he did name.
Note 2: This article series is inspired by a similar post by The Athletic.
While the Lions are set with their top four options, injuries to guys like Tom Kennedy (who was released with an injury settlement), Trinity Benson, and Denzel Mims have left them a little short-handed when it comes to their depth.
The Giants’ depth is still working itself out, and therefore there is a long list of potential names to keep an eye out for. Here’s what Valentine offered about each:
Collin Johnson – A 6-foot-6, 220-pound player coming back from a torn Achilles. He’s a decent player with special teams ability.
Jamison Crowder – A veteran slot receiver with punt return ability who might be crowded out of a spot.
David Sills – He’s been with the Giants since 2019 spending most of his time on the practice squad. He played in 13 games over the past two seasons, making 13 catches.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton – The Giants gave Ford-Wheaton $236K in guaranteed money as an undrafted free agent. If the 6-foot-3, 224-pound Ford-Wheaton doesn’t make the 53-man roster, and I think he’s a long-shot, is that enough to keep him on the practice squad? Or, will someone swoop in and give him a spot on an active roster?
Kalil Pimpleton – I know Lions’ fans know some things about Pimpleton. He might be the best return man on the Giants’ roster, but it’s virtually impossible to make a team these days as only a return man. He will probably be available if Detroit wants him back.
As for the offensive line, the Lions have already noted that there haven’t been many standouts among their depth. On Monday, they signed offensive tackle Bobby Hart, showing their desire to add more competition. Here are a couple of names that could stand out to them this week in practice and the preseason game.
Again, all comments are via Valentine:
Shane Lemieux – A fifth-round pick in 2020, Lemieux has managed to appear in only two games over the past two seasons due to knee and foot injuries. He was penciled in as the team’s starting left guard a year ago, but now he is buried on the depth chart and learning the center position in an effort to stick around.
Matt Peart – A third-round pick in that same 2020 draft, Peart has never been able to lock down a starting job. Now, the Giants have 2022 No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal at right tackle. They also have experienced swing tackles in Tyre Phillips and Korey Cunningham, and a versatile player in Josh Ezeudu who could go out to right tackle in an emergency. Neal is currently dealing with a concussion, so the Lions might get an extended look at Peart this week.