After giving him a tryout at rookie minicamp, the Detroit Lions have signed linebacker Natrez Patrick.
Apart from the total of 20 rookies they drafted and signed as undrafted free agents, the Detroit Lions welcomed some players for tryouts at rookie minicamp over the weekend. On Monday morning they signed one of those tryout guys, agreeing to a deal with outside linebacker Natrez Patrick.
In a corresponding move, outside linebacker Jesse Lemonier was waived. He had 1.5 sacks and 15 total tackles in seven games for the Lions last season, serving as a part time edge rusher (161 snaps) and occasional special teamer (46 snaps).
Patrick went undrafted in 2019 out of the University of Georgia, landing with the Los Angeles Rams, where Lions general manager Brad Holmes was the director of college scouting at the time. He appeared in 40 games over four seasons at Georgia, with 160 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Over two seasons with the Rams Patrick primarily played special teams, totaling 432 snaps over 25 games. He was claimed off waivers by the Denver Broncos last year, but a leg injury suffered in an offseason practice landed him on IR for the entire season.
Could Natrez Patrick make the Lions’ 53-man roster?
After free agency and the draft, the Lions still look a little thin at off-the-ball linebacker. Roles, and to some degree roster spots, should not be promised to anyone. Giving Patrick a tryout at rookie minicamp was surely rooted in the familiarity Holmes had with him, and they saw enough to want to keep him around into the first phase of OTAs next week.
And that might be where it quickly ends for Patrick, as the Lions churn the edges of a 90-man roster during OTAs. Or maybe he continues to impress enough, and he sticks around to June minicamp or even into training camp come late-July. It’s not a move that will hold attention for many Lions’ fans, but Patrick could stick as a primary special teamer.