Following offseason changes made by the Detroit Lions, which players were hurt most by them?
Every year, NFL teams like the Detroit Lions make numerous changes to their rosters. And some of those moves can put the roles of some veteran players in jeopardy. 2020 is no different.
Following another offseason full of free-agent signings and the acquisition of their annual draft class, there are several veteran players whose job status has potentially been hurt by these moves. Here are three in particular we believe could have been the most damaged by them.
Kerryon Johnson, RB
Although the use of a second-round selection on Georgia’s D’Andre Swift is being sold as a running back by committee situation alongside Kerryon Johnson, the rookie could quickly become his replacement in Detroit. And that’s obviously due to the fact Johnson has struggled with injuries his first two seasons in Motown.
Swift has all the making of a workhorse back and could quickly fill that role in Detroit if Johnson is unable to play out the entire season. We’ve seen many a starter get Wally Pipped before. And if Swift can prove to be a healthier, more consistent option than Johnson, the Lions could simply decide to ride the hot hand.
Detroit Lions former first-rounder may be playing his final season in the Motor City
Jarrad Davis, LB
Although head coach Matt Patricia has made it clear that he considers former first-round linebacker Jarrad Davis the cornerstone of what they’re trying to do defensively, the Lions still opted not to pick up his fifth-year option this offseason.
And while that refusal likely had more to do with the expected $10 million price tag for that one-year option rather than actually wanting Davis on the roster, the message sent is pretty clear. While he may be considered essential to their future plans, his play hasn’t warranted that kind of payday in the team’s eyes.
And when you consider the signing of free-agent linebacker Reggie Ragland by the Lions, a former second-round selection in 2016 with a similar skillset to Davis, it’s easy to connect the dots. While Detroit will undoubtedly hope for a breakout performance from their former first-rounder, Davis enters this upcoming season without a contract beyond 2020 and his potential replacement learning alongside him.
Beau Benzschawel, G
It’s never a good sign when your team uses two relatively high draft picks on the very same position you play. And veterans like Joe Dahl and Kenny Wiggins had to raise their eyebrows when the Lions drafted offensive guards Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg with back-to-back picks in the third and fourth round respectively in April’s draft.
But the player hurt the most by the arrival of Jackson and Stenberg might be Beau Benzschawel. Undrafted out of Wisconsin in 2019, Benzschawel was highly-sought after as a UDFA. He’d spend most of his rookie season inactive and played the center position for the scout team. Heading into his second year in Detroit, Benzschawel now likely faces an uphill battle to even make the final roster.