Practice Squad All-Stars
The 1-11-1 Detroit Lions have beaten the 10-3 Arizona Cardinals, 30-12. This is not a dream. Furthermore, they did so with a team mostly made up of free agents, rookies, and players called up from the practice squad. Some of them have never taken an NFL regular season snap before this year. And yet they took down a team that is leading the NFC West. They're showing themselves worthy of being on an NFL roster on a permanent basis, even if it's not ours. Here's some of the people I'm referring to:
- Jermar Jefferson: 7th round draft pick this year. 5 catches for 9 yards
- Amon-Ra St. Brown: 4th round draft pick this year. 8 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown
- Godwin Igwebuike: free agent who hasn't played since 2018. He was converted from safety to running back midway through the year. 2 catched for 11 yards and 2 runs for no yards.
- Shane Zylstra: played in preseason for the Minnesota Vikings before being cut, was signed to Detroit's practice squad the next day, and was called up from the practice squad last week. 1 catch for 16 yards.
- Jason Cabinda: buried deep in the depth chart for linebacker and fullback for 4 years. 1 catch for 6 yards, a touchdown, and 2 tackles.
- Craig Reynolds: 2nd game with the Lions and 7th overall in 3 years. 26 rushes for 112 yards and 1 catch for 5 yards.
- AJ Parker: undrafted rookie. 6 tackles and 2 passes defended.
- Jesse Lemonier: 4th game with the Lions and 10th overall in 2 years. 4 tackles and half a sack.
- Derrick Barnes: 4th round draft pick this year. 5 tackles.
- Brady Breeze: played in preseason for the Tennessee Titans before being injured, was waived on the 11th and picked up on the 13th, so this is his first regular season game. 3 tackles.
- Curtis Bolton: bounced around practice squads, preseason teams, and IR until being called up from the practice squad 2 weeks ago. 2 tackles.
- Riley Patterson: was on the Minnesota Vikings during preseason, went on IR, was waived, was on the New England Patriots practice squad, was signed to the Detroit Lions practice squad, and called up 4 games ago. 3/3 for extra points and made a 37, a 47, and a 45 yard field goal with no misses.
This sort of trial by fire will prove to be useful for themselves and other teams. This may well be the difference between us or another team signing them or them trying to draft someone to fill a hole. The fact that they participated in this game today will only help to stick in the minds of scouts throughout the league. I expect to see some of them on an ongoing basis in seasons to come.
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