Both teammates and coaches have raved about the physical nature in which he ran the football in training camp, but if Winn is going to make this roster, he has to prove that same physicality translates to special teams as well.
If the Lions keep a fourth running back -- along with a fullback -- that player is going to have to play a huge role on special teams.
Head coach Jim Caldwell wants to see if Winn can do it too, which is why Winn played on some first-team special teams units last week in Oakland.
“He had been doing some good things,” Caldwell said of Winn immediately after the Oakland game.
“Last week he played well, ran hard, ran tough. Anybody that is in that position is going to also have to have some special-teams duties. We put him on special teams to see what he can do and he made a couple plays, but we’ll look at it.”
Winn made two terrific plays on the kickoff coverage team last week. He tackled Oakland running back Latavius Murray at the 19-yard line on a kickoff return in the first quarter and got Murray again at the Oakland 18-yard line right before the first half ended.
“I feel like that’s going to be one of the deciding factors of me making this team,” Winn said. “How well I perform on special teams.”
Winn started on all four special teams at Cincinnati before he became the team’s lead back as a senior. He says the physicality he displays while running the football can, and will, translate over to special teams.
“Being physical is what I like to do and it’s part of my game, so it definitely translates into special teams,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be here if I couldn’t run the ball, but obviously I have to perform on special teams to see the field first.”