Impressive performances by a pair of young offensive players could lead to some difficult choices at multiple positions for the Detroit Lions. How will this affect their roster?
The proverbial “good problem to have” in the NFL is possessing multiple viable options to fill a select number of roster spots at one position. As the 2019 season inches closer, the Detroit Lions are likely to face this dilemma, with potential implications across the roster.
A reworked tight end unit, and the return of fullback Nick Bawden to health may force the Lions to make some previously unforeseen decisions in terms of how many players to keep at each position. It would undoubtedly cause them to shorten the list at other spots on the roster as well.
Bawden, a 2018 seventh round selection, missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL. In his stead, the Lions used a combination of players at the position, including converted linebacker Nick Bellore (now with the Seattle Seahawks) and offensive lineman Joe Dahl, himself in an intense competition to receive snaps somewhere along the interior of the offensive front.
Now healthy, Bawden has performed well during training camp, and there have been no reports of lingering effects from his injury. He’s even been asked to practice his long snapping, as per USA Today Lionswire’s Erik Schlitt. This is in case incumbent long snapper Don Muhlbach is forced to miss time, but considering Muhlbach’s reputation, that seems unlikely.
The fullback will be used in the Lions’ offense this season. New offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell carried one on the roster continuously in his previous stops with the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks. What remains to be seen is whether the Lions can justify carrying a highly specialized player such as Bawden, or if they look to fill that role by committee.