Detroit Lions: Getting familiar with the 13 undrafted free agents signed

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

After completing what appears to be a very successful draft, the Detroit Lions front office remained busy signing 13 undrafted free agents.

The Detroit Lions brass had a clear-cut plan entering their first NFL Draft with the organization, and that was to build this franchise from the ground up.  The Lions made it clear they’d focus their rebuild in the trenches and build from the inside out.

Brad Holmes spent his first three picks on beef.  With the seventh overall pick, the Lions selected Penei Sewell to bolster their already above-average offensive line.  They’d follow that up with a pair of interior defensive linemen in Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill.

Holmes then started to address some of the many needs throughout the remainder of the roster, starting with granting the secondary some much-needed help.  The Lions drafted cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu before addressing two more positional needs on the third and final day of the NFL draft.

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The Lions had a glaring need at the receiver position. They got one early in the fourth round drafting USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown. Right after that selection, the Lions immediately traded up with Carolina to take Purdue’s Derrick Barnes with the 113th overall pick addressing yet another need at the second level of their defense.  Detroit also added running back Jermar Jefferson late in the seventh round with a pick secured in the trade earlier with the Panthers.

Let’s meet the 13 undrafted free agents the Detroit Lions started to sign immediately after the draft concluded.

The Detroit Lions had a glaring need at the receiver position and added three undrafted pass-catchers to help fill the void.

The organization signed Jonathan Adams, who totaled 2,306 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns during his four-year stint with Arkansas State.  In his senior season, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound pass-catcher hauled in 79 balls totaling 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Also added to the receiver room will be 6-foot-2 Javon McKinley, who led Notre Dame in yards last season with 717 yards on 42 receptions.  The third undrafted free agent receiver is Sage Surratt out of Wake Forest.  The 6-foot-3 receiver totaled 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2020.

Along with McKinley, the Detroit Lions signed two more former Fighting Irish players.  Notre Dame has become a factory that churns out offensive linemen like Henry Ford built cars.  The Lions are taking a flier on guard Tommy Kraemer.

It’s puzzling that Kraemer went undrafted, understanding he won third-team All-American honors in 2020.  Kraemer is expected to serve as a backup, but he may push both Hal Vaitai and Logan Stenberg for the only open spot on the teams’ offensive line.  Similar to Kraemer, the Detroit Lions added another four-year starter in Drake Jackson out of Kentucky.

Jackson earned first-team All-SEC honors last season and played with Logan Stenberg in the past, who the Lions selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Irish are fairly successful when it comes to H-backs and tight ends.  The Lions added blocking tight end Brock Wright who only caught seven balls in four seasons.

This addition has Lions head coach Dan Campbell’s fingerprints all over it.  Like Wright, the Lions also added Jake Hausmann, another blocking tight end that will help special teams.  Hausmann caught three career passes during his time with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Detroit Lions also addressed a couple of needs on their defense/special teams adding linebacker Tavante Beckett out of Marshall, plus Virginia safety D’Angelo Amos.

Beckett totaled 212 tackles between Virginia Tech and Marshall and will look to make the club out of camp by excelling on special teams.  Amos played his final year at Virginia after spending time with James Madison.  If Amos makes the Lions, it will be as a returner.  I expect it will be an open competition after seeing Jamal Agnew leave during free agency.

A.J Parker and Jerry Jacobs are depth corners, hopefully, useful special teams, contributors moving forward.  Jacobs opted out of last season due to the coronavirus pandemic after recording four picks in two seasons with Arkansas.  Parker made six career interceptions with Kansas State.

Last but not least, the Detroit Lions added a pair of running backs.  Dedrick Mills is a 5-foot-11 220-pound thumper totaling 1,912 rushing yards on 379 totes, good for an average of 5-yards per carry.  Mills played his first year at Georgia Tech and the final two with Nebraska.

Predicting how each rookie will fit in this upcoming season. dark. Next

The Lions also signed Rakeem Boyd, made famous on Last Chance U.  Boyd rushed for 2,176 yards and 13 touchdowns over three seasons with Arkansas.