As the Detroit Lions head into their second day of joint practice versus the New York Giants, it's time for players to solidify their spots on the roster. At the end of the preseason, the Lions will trim their roster down to 53 players, so now is the prime chance for players on the bubble to prove what they can do to make the team.
Earlier this offseason, three Lions wide receivers were suspended for at least six games due to a gambling scandal which has left room for depth at the position. One player looking to fill a spot in the receiver room is Former New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims. The Jets traded Mims to Detroit right before training camp on July 20 after selecting him the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.
Mims was never able to establish his role in New York due to injuries and a lack of opportunity. In three seasons with the Jets, Mims only accumulated 42 receptions for 676 yards. With Jameson Williams out the first six games, the Lions don't really have a proven receiver which should give Mims plenty of opportunity.
However, Mims still needs to obtain a spot. He missed several practices due to an injury but returns to practice Wednesday. He made sure his presence was known by showing up first to the field with quarterback Jared Goff, which will hopefully let make up for lost time.
Jared Goff, Denzel Mims first on the field for the Lions on Day 2 of joint practices pic.twitter.com/zspCbwzpBd
— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) August 9, 2023
Another player trying to nab a spot on the roster is undrafted free agent Dylan Drummond. Drummond seemed like an unlikely candidate to make the roster given he did not sign with Detroit until after the rookie mini camp. However, he is quickly gaining attention at training camp, especially after coach Dan Campbell gave him a ringing endorsement.
“He makes plays every day. He really, mentally, can play all the positions. He competes in special teams and I would say he’s hard to ignore. He’s just hard to ignore. He just – he’s continuing to climb the depth chart, so he’s doing exactly what a guy like him has to do. He’s doing everything right. He rarely messes something up and if he does, he learns from it, he grows and it doesn’t happen again, so he’s doing a good job,” per Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit.
Lions third-year receiver Amon Ra St. Brown also joined in the praise for Drummond following camp practice.
“He does everything right,” St. Brown said. “He’s crafty, he’s a good route runner, understands the offense really well for only being here for OTAs through now. He’s right there with me, in terms of understanding almost everything.”
Another undrafted free agent trying to solidify his place on the team is rookie cornerback Starling Thomas V. Thomas was expected to be a late round draft pick, but fell out of the draft due to his smaller size at 5-foot-10, 190 lbs. Thomas has managed to impress on both defense and special teams thus far, and was even listed second on the unofficial depth chart behind projected starting outside CB Jerry Jacobs, per Zack Moran of USA Today.
He still has to beat out several other corners looking to make the team including Chase Lucas and Khalil Dorsey, but getting named to the second spot on the unofficial depth chart is a good start.
The Lions begin preseason play with their first game Friday against the Giants, and Denzel Mims, Dylan Drummond, and Starling Thomas V. will all get to take the field for the first time as Lions.