With their season coming to an end and their playoff chances dwindling, it is time for the Detroit Lions to put their younger players on the field more.
The Detroit Lions 53-man roster looks a little different than how it did at the beginning of the season. Currently, only 41 players from that original list remain on the team, which can be attributed to injuries, poor play, trades, and mid-season free agent signings.
A depleted roster and losses in key match-ups have all but ended Detroit’s chances at a playoff run this season. With only five games left this season, it’s time that the young players on the team get a chance to show what they can do.
Some of the rookies on this team have already made names for themselves this season. Offensive lineman Frank Ragnow was a day-one starter at left guard after being taken in the first round of the draft this year and has performed moderately well, allowing only 3.0 sacks and committing four penalties in 11 games.
Ragnow may be a big reason why Detroit’s running game has improved this season, but no player has made a bigger impact there than rookie running back Kerryon Johnson. The second-round pick out of Auburn started the season buried on the depth chart but quickly began to emerge as the team’s leading rusher. In 10 games this season, Johnson has rushed 118 times for 641 yards and three touchdowns. It is clear that the rookie has already found his role in Detroit’s offense for years to come.
Defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand is the other player from the Detroit Lions’ 2018 draft class who has become an instant impact player. Hand has tallied 25 tackles on top of 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles. The fourth-round pick has found a starting role on the defensive line and has excelled there this season.
These three rookies have proved that they have roles on this team for the foreseeable future, but there are still several other young players who could benefit from some playing time as the season comes to an end.