Which Detroit Lions undrafted rookies have the best chance to make the team?

As OTAs ramp up and minicamp looms next month, which Lions' UDFAs have the best chance to make the 53-man roster?
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2. K James Turner

The Lions did not draft a kicker. It's also fair to say Turner was not the top undrafted kicker available, but the Lions doled out guaranteed money to other UDFAs rather than add the best possible competition for Michael Badgley.

Turner started his college career at Lousville, kicking there for three years before transferring to Michigan last year. Looking at his total college track record, we get a "one of these things is not like the others" vibe.

2020 (at Louisville): 40-of-40 on extra points; 13-of-15 on field goals (86.7 percent)
2021 (at Louisville): 46-of-48 on extra points, 14-of-22 on field goals (63.6 percent)
2022 (at Louisville): 38-of-39 on extra points, 20-of-22 on field goals (90.9 percent)
2023 (at Michigan): 65-of-66 extra points, 18-of-21 on field goals (85.7 percent)

But Turner's placement on this list is sheerly based on opportunity. Badgley is ripe to be replaced, even if the Lions aren't making a fully credible effort to do it or make him beat someone else out for the job.

Jake Bates of the UFL's Michigan Panthers lingers as a kicking option for the Lions once that league's season is over. But as OTAs get rolling Turner has an opportunity to outdo Badgley and assert himself as the Lions' best kicker.

1. WR Isaiah Williams

The Lions, however notably, did not draft a wide receiver and they have not replaced Josh Reynolds. Williams got a lot of guaranteed money to sign with the Lions as a UDFA, which reflects the interest he had from other teams. But at rookie minicamp he showed himself as a fit for the Lions' culture, and he said he chose the Lions based on that culture.

Williams had 82 receptions in each of his last two seasons at Illinois, topping 1,000 yards in 2023, as primarily a slot receiver for the lllini. Last year, he earned a top-35 receiving grade among wide receivers from Pro Football Focus (80.9), and YAC ability is top-notch. He also has potential value as a return man, averaging 9.1 yards per punt return during his college career (11.5 yards per punt return last year).

Williams shouldn't have a whole lot of trouble usurping Tom Kennedy, Tre'Quan Smith, etc. for a spot on the Lions' 53-man roster. The first steps in that effort will come during OTA practice, and it would not be surprising to see indications he is doing very well.


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