DETROIT – As the Detroit Lions season has progressively gotten worse, the games have been harder to watch each week. At this point, the only thing the Lions are playing for is pride and to determine where their draft pick is. Since the rest of this season is about the future and the results aren’t the biggest concern, fans can focus more on individual play. Injuries have forced the Lions hand and young players are getting more snaps.
Let’s look at some of the key young players to watch over the season’s last few games.
Blough played well in his surprise start on Thanksgiving but since then, his play has dropped off. He’s been very inconsistent. He’ll badly miss a receiver but then throw a great ball. He’ll take too much time in the pocket but then have the awareness to scramble and throw the ball or run downfield. If Blough is looking to be Matthew Stafford’s backup next year, he’ll at least have to show some more consistency.
Walker is a big piece of the Lions future on defense. He’s always seems to be around the ball, and it shows: he’s the Lions leading tackler this year and he’s one of the few Lions to have an interception. You can see in his play and communication he’s evolved to be one of the leaders on defense.
Tavai got his first interception last week after being in the right place at the right time. He’s learning, and you can see some of the growing pains in his play. Tavai will be playing the last two games without fellow LB Jarrad Davis. That means Tavai could take an expanded role at MLB where he would receive the defensive play calls and lead the defense.
The Lions drafted Bryant this year in the fourth round this year from Clemson and so far, they don’t know what they have in him. Bryant recently made his debut after missing most of the season with an injury. With so many other injuries along the Lions defensive line, Bryant will be getting a a big chance to show what he’s got as the Lions look to next year.
Ty Johnson has been getting playing time and carries since the beginning of the season. He’s flashed his speed and agility but leaves something to be desired for as a rookie running back. He has shown his ability to be a receiver too. But other running backs like Bo Scarbrough have come in and played in front of him.
Crosby played every offensive snap for the Lions last week against the Bucs. With the Lions deciding on Taylor Decker’s option for next season, Crosby could be stepping into a starting role at tackle. He’s been in the league a couple of years now, gained plenty of experience as a backup and could be ready to be a full-time starter.
Oruwariye was a fifth-round pick this year. He’s shown his ability to play the ball, picking up his first career interception against Washington a few weeks ago. The last couple weeks could be big for him as rumors about Darius Slay’s future with the Lions start to pick up steam heading into the offseason.