When the Detroit Lions were whittling down to their 53-man roster going into the season, it was easy to see tight end Darrell Daniels as something of a threat to fullback Jason Cabinda's roster spot. But Cabinda made the cut, and Daniels was brought back on the practice squad.
Cabinda came out of Week 3 with a knee injury, and he has been listed as limited and then out on this week's practice estimations before Thursday night's game against the Green Bay Packers. Seemingly in reaction to that, according to NFL insider Aaron Wilson (via his agent), Daniels will be signed to the Lions' 53-man roster. The team should make it official on Wednesday.
Daniels has is listed as a tight end. But in 3.5 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2018-2021), playing under Lions tight ends coach Steve Heiden by the way, he saw some regular snaps in the backfield. Per Pro Football Focus, he took 49 snaps in the backfield in 2021 and 67 in 2020. He has also played a lot on special teams, which further points to him taking Cabinda's role.
In 2021, Daniels got a 60.5 run blocking grade from PFF. He has also gotten solid marks as a pass blocker in his career, which could he helpful.
The Lions do already have an open spot on their 53-man roster as of this writing, and another will be opened up when offensive tackle Matt Nelson (ankle surgery) is officially placed on IR. So Daniels can be added to the active without a corresponding move.
Darrell Daniels just might be a fullback, no so much a tight end, by trade
Daniels has 13 receptions in 61 career NFL games. So he's clearly been deployed as a blocker and a special teamer. If that sounds like the role Cabinda has had with the Lions, except with good PFF grades, it's not your imagination.
Daniels is likely to be active against the Packers, and even if his impact won't necessarily be noticeable there's a role for him to take and potentially keep the rest of the season.