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 mlive.com, 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.