7. Elijah Lee
Elijah Lee has a pretty similar NFL career as the next two guys on this list. One of the final players picked in the 2017 draft, he’s hovered near the practice squad and active roster in San Francisco, starting a handful of games on defense but has spent the majority of his snaps on special teams.
The only difference that gives Lee a slight edge on my rankings at the moment is the clout that goes with San Francisco’s run to the Super Bowl a year ago. That playoff experience edge and the fact that the Lions sought him out in free agency gives him a slight bump at the moment, but in terms of what they have to offer, Lee looks pretty interchangeable with Longa and Cabinda.
8. Steve Longa
Entering his fourth year in Detroit, Steve Longa went from going undrafted into surviving several final cuts with the Lions, with his regular season contributions coming exclusively on special teams. Based on last season’s pecking order, he looks to have the edge over Cabinda, but then he also had all of training camp with the team a year ago, while Cabinda was out on the west coast. It’s a toss-up between the two of them right now.
9. Jason Cabinda
Jason Cabinda is better known to the casual fan than a typical fringe roster guy, due to some good camera time on Hard Knocks with the Raiders last summer. Coming across on the show as personable and hardworking, Cabinda was one of the final cuts for Oakland. He then landed on the practice squad for the Lions and was activated for the final month of the season
Though he played exclusively on special teams for the Lions last December, Cabinda did start three games as a linebacker for Oakland as a rookie in 2018. He once again figures to be a guy right on the borderline for the Lions and would likely need the linebacker-loaded theme to continue on the 53-man roster to survive the drop.
10/11. Anthony Pittman and Christian Sam
These two round out the depth of the current linebacker unit, but each will find it an uphill battle to make the final roster, barring several injuries in training camp. Anthony Pittman suited up for the regular season finale vs Green Bay last season, with a single assisted tackle as his only statistical output.
Christian Sam is a former Patriots’ sixth round pick and has yet to appear in a regular season game. Each will be battling it out in training camp, looking to surprise someone and carve out a niche on an NFL roster.