A new era is upon the Detroit Lions after Matthew Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams earlier in the offseason. With Jared Goff at the helm and the draft in the rearview, the Lions will try to figure out what their new identity will be.
Whenever a team begins to rebuild, it sometimes means that veterans are on a shorter leash if there's an up-and-coming younger player primed to take their spot. The same can be said for the Lions, who walked away from the 2021 NFL Draft with seven players ready to challenge for snaps.
Here are three Lions veterans that could be fighting to keep their role after the NFL draft.
3. Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback
Amani Oruwariye was a fifth-round pick for the Lions back in 2019. While he's shown some flashes of brilliance, the 25-year-old cornerback posted a disappointing 50.4 overall ProFootballFocus grade last season. His 42 receptions allowed were at the bottom of the league. The Lions drafted CB Ifeatu Melifonwu out of Syracuse in the third round this year, which should put some pressure on Oruwariye to succeed or else his roster spot could be on the line.
2. Kalif Raymond, Wide Receiver
Wide receiver Kalif Raymond has had a rollercoaster of an NFL career. He's already on his fifth team after joining the league in 2016 and has yet to record a touchdown in 35 career games. Considering the Lions are thin at receiving options, this could be one of his last chances to make an NFL impression. The Lions did draft Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round of this year's draft, so Raymond's spot could end up being his if the veteran fails to impress again.
1. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Outside Linebacker
Jalen Reeves-Maybin has been with the Lions organization for the last four seasons. He currently sits as the team's top outside linebacker, but that could all change soon. The 10 total tackles he had in 2020 were down from the 37 he had in the previous season, so he'll need to show that was a one-off situation. 2021 fourth-round pick Derrick Barnes is now on the roster, which should light a fire under Reeves-Maybin. Barnes recorded 54 total tackles and an interception in six games with Purdue last season, so he's capable of challenging for playing time.
Sign upfor FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk free for up to $1,000!