In the past two days, the Lions have:
- Placed Jordon Dizon on Injured Reserve, ending Dizon's season and leaving his future in doubt.
- Cited the strong performance of seventh-rounder Willie Young—and the chance to catch on somewhere else—and released last year's part-time starting DE, Jason Hunter.
- Citing a need at DE (?), signed 236-pound(!?) DE Korey Bosworth, nephew of Brian Bosworth, a.k.a The Boz (?!??!??!?!!).
- Placed TE Richard Dickson on the waived-injured list.
- Put Jonathan Wade's broken finger in a weird soft cast/hard glove hybrid.
- Re-signed MLB Lee Campbell, presumably to replace Dizon, and CB Jahi-Word Daniels, presumably to fill in for Wade. Word-Daniels immediately went down with a hamstring injury.
- Waived Word-Daniels, poor guy, and K Aaron Pettrey, then signed CB/KR T.J. Rushing, and claimed ex-Falcons kicker Steven Hauschka.
Got all that? No? Don’t worry, neither did I. The most significant move is the release of Jason Hunter, a young guy who contributed significantly last year. As a perfect physical fit for the Lions’ intended scheme, Hunter was a low-cost, high-upside player. However, Willie Young looked great against Pittsburgh, and there are only so many long-term developmental DEs you can carry on a roster. With no future in Detroit, the Lions did the stand-up thing and let Hunter go while he can still catch on somewhere else.
The confusing thing was that they turned around and signed Korey Bosworth. Bosworth is a DE/OLB ‘tweener, a guy who’d be a great fit at 3-4 OLB—and in fact, had been a camp invitee of the Broncos. I immediately presumed he’d be slotted as an OLB in the Lions’ system, given that he’s the exact same height and weight as Zack Follett, and about thirty pounds lighter than the just-released Hunter. But, quoth the Grandmaster, Jim Schwartz:
“We had a need at defensive end,” Schwartz said. “He’s a guy that we had interest in from college scouts, a guy that was able to get here and looked like he was in shape and would be able to give us some work.
“He’s a tough guy, plays hard, he’s got a good opportunity here. I mean we threw him right into the fire. He got reps right away."
Last season, the acquisitions all fit the long-term picture—but Hunter is a guy who could have helped if he’d stuck around, and Bosworth flatly has no place in a scheme that requires the ends to contain the run on the outside. Let’s change perspective for a moment: if Willie Young is now the developmental end, the long-term picture doesn’t have a Jason Hunter in it, does it? Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril, Jared DeVries, Willie Young . . . no, no Hunter.
Knowing that Hunter's long-term future is elsewhere, they let him seek it. But, just carrying your top four ends through half of training camp is going to work them too hard—the Lions needed a fifth body out there to burn reps. They asked the scouting department for the next best DE on the list, and the scouts said “Korey Bosworth.” So, Bosworth is here, and Hunter is not.
Let’s hope that the injury bug takes no more bites out of the roster, and the panicked acquisitions stop. There’s a long way to go, though, before the Lions get down to 53 + practice squad—and of course we know that Martin Mayhew never stops churning the bottom of the roster, never stops scouring the waiver wire, never stops looking for the diamond in the rough.