Lions expect to sign only a “handful” of undrafted free agents

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Many believe that the land rush for undrafted free agents will be more chaotic and nutty than ever. While that may be the case for 31 of the teams, one franchise doesn’t expect to do much when it comes to signing players who aren’t selected.

Via Benjamin Raven of, Lions G.M. Bob Quinn said during a pre-draft teleconference on Friday that the Lions plan to sign “a handful” of undrafted rookies.

“If we’re not going to have a normal offseason, we’re already going to be delayed at least three weeks,” Quinn said. “It’s going to be harder for them [to make the roster]. It’s kind of something we’ve talked about internally, for sure. Fortunately for us, our roster is at I believe 78 right now, I think we’re at 78 with Kenny Wiggins on [Thursday], so really we’re not going to have a huge number of undrafted free agents.”

The Lions will have fewer undrafted free agents because it will be harder for undrafted free agents to make the 53-man roster, given the absence of offseason workouts.

“Really, their time to impress and get on the radar, and get real reps in training camp is during the spring because you have more opportunities,” Quinn said. “Some of your veterans aren’t taking as many reps, as you guys know, in the OTA practices. So, you can get a lot of these young, late draft picks and rookie free agents a ton of reps in the spring. And then if they show that they are capable and they deserve a chance to compete, then they are going to get more reps during the early part of training camp to really be able to make the team.”

So without those opportunities, and with a training camp that may be truncated by the ongoing pandemic, there’s really no point in scrambling for a bunch of players who won’t get a full and fair chance to win job.

That said, Quinn may feel differently if/when players he really likes slip through the cracks and go undrafted. For now, though, Quinn seems to be very pragmatic regarding the challenges of undrafted players making the team in a year without precedent when it comes to the chances of getting chances to get the coaching staff’s attention.

7 responses to “Lions expect to sign only a “handful” of undrafted free agents

  1. If 10 players you would have drafted if you had an extra pick, fall outside of the 7 rounds, you try to get them signed. Limited opportunities makes its own unique pressured tryout situation and one that might show you more about the potential players than normal. Miami, with 14 draft picks and already having signed that many in Free Agency, is the only team I expect to sign less than a handful of undrafted rookies.

  2. The Lions closed out last season by losing 9 straight. The GM and HC would still take that exact same roster (less a few cap saving moves) into this season if they could. Before the end of the next season, Matt Patricia will be fired. The Bucs will then hire him to become the new deflator.

  3. The league needs to increase the practice squads for one year only…say double them in size. This gives more players opportunities as well as giving teams more opportunities to “stash” away guys that actually do show enough potential that given a year of learning could be contributors next year.

    Yes other teams can sign them off your practice squad, but if they do they will have to put them on the 53 man roster so that will curtail some of those attempts to “steal”. In either case in my mind it’s a win/win for teams and bubble players.

  4. They will be criticized by this but do the math. Their roster is already at 78. They have 6 draft picks which puts them to 84. Unless they cut some players before the draft is over they can only sign 6 undrafted FAs anyway.

  5. manderson4150 says:
    April 19, 2020 at 5:42 pm
    If he likes them but they go undrafted, wouldn’t he sign them as a free agent?
    That totally misses his point! I’m sure he would do as you say but what he’s saying is there won’t be much offseason program time for undrafteds to earn their way onto the roster. He said only “a handful” and if any are in the category you define they’ll be the ones he signs.

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