4. TE James Mitchell
Mitchell has missed two games with a hamstring injury, but in the six he has suited up for he has barely played (26 offensive snaps, 44 special team snaps). That is surely rooted in him being a reliable player, and the fact that Brock Wright is well thought of by the coaching staff. Via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, tight ends coach Steve Heiden said as much this week when asked if the team needed more out of the No. 2 tight end spot.
"Do I need more? No, I think they’re giving us everything that we need," Heiden said. "They’ve done a really good job. Brock has consistently gotten better with technique things. He’s as mentally tough as they come. He’s smart, he’s always in the right place, you can throw him in at any position. He’s there for you. I think we’re getting exactly what we need from our No. 2."
Wright has a minimal role in the passing game (seven catches this season), with his playing time (278 snaps, 49 percent snap share) dedicated to blocking. But he's not been in at least one facet of that, with Pro Football Focus grading him 77th of 82 qualifying tight end as a run blocker.
Wright will certainly continue to play a lot, and Mitchell will have to especially grow as a blocker to make a serious run at snaps as the No. 2 tight end. But Wright is not some world-beater who should not be challenged, and he doesn't even do his primary task all that well.
More snaps for Mitchell is a relative term here, since he has hardly played so far this season. But maybe the game before the bye week (six offensive snaps) was a little sign of things to come.
3. LB Jack Campbell
Campbell has played 54 percent of the Lions' defensive snaps to this point, with some of that coming as an edge rusher in an effort to get him on the field more. With Alex Anzalone and Derrick Barnes playing as well as they have been, there just hasn't been a lot of room for Campbell to play as a traditional off-ball linebacker spot-where was so successful in college at Iowa.
That being said, Campbell played his two highest snap shares of the season in the two games before the bye and it's safe to say Barnes has faded a bit in terms of impactful play over the last few games. A shift in playing time may be coming, however slowly.
The Lions would surely like to see some growth from Campbell down the stretch this season, since he has had some struggles at times. The way to make that happen would be for the rookie to play a little more as an off the ball 'backer, as long as he's worthy.