Three early candidates for the Detroit Lions training camp darling.

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DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 01: Jay Lee #84 of the Detroit Lions runs for a short gain as Sammy Seamster #44 of the Buffalo Bills defends during the first quarter of the game at Ford Field on September 1, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Every year Detroit Lions fans pick someone to be their guy. This undrafted kid becomes the personification of our hopes and dreams for two months.

Every season a handful of players come out of nowhere and make rosters. Some hit growth spurts after high school. Others had personal issues that led them to attend small schools. Many were buried in the depth chart under a bigger school’s high-end talent.

The NFL has more players who originated as undrafted free agents in any given year than second-round draft picks. The only round that outnumbers the undrafted players is the first round. Part of that, of course, is that while each team gets only a single pick in each round, plus compensatory picks, they will sign 10 or more undrafted players every year.

Detroit Lions fans pick one of them every season. in 2016 it was Jay Lee. The massive wide receiver dominated the Lions reserves in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage and appeared to be on the cusp of greatness. He is currently looking for work. Jeremiah Valoaga and Alex Barrett fared better in 2017, they made the team.

In 2016 Jace Billingsley was another name on every fan’s lips. He has also fared better than Lee. Billingsley has stuck around for two full seasons. He is competing for the Lions fifth wide receiver role in 2018.

Zach Zenner took his turn in 2015. George Winn was the man in 2014. I could go on forever. There is always a guy that the fans grab onto because we all love an underdog. The Lions were not Joique Bell‘s first team, but he was an undrafted player too.

Something about the plucky kid that comes from behind endears him to us. Perhaps it is because in our hearts every one of us sees a little bit of ourselves in the guys fighting for the last five roster spots.

Here are the undrafted players I think have the best chance to step out and make a name for themselves during the 2018 preseason for the Lions.


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