Chris Board's steady climb up the depth chart began on opening day of his rookie season with the Baltimore Ravens.
Board, who signed with the Detroit Lions as a free agent after four seasons with the Ravens, hopes to expand his defensive role further.
As an undrafted rookie from North Dakota State, it was no small accomplishment that Board won a spot as a core member of the Ravens' special teams unit.
He made quick progress. In the 2018 opening game he played 10 snaps at linebacker and 27 on special teams in a 47-3 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Board's role on defense grew throughout his four seasons with the Ravens. It reached a peak of 33 percent of the team defensive total (337 snaps) in 2021, a slight jump from the 264 he played in 2020.
When Board hit free agency and looked for a landing spot to further his career, he was impressed with the culture that's being built by head coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes.
"I want to be part of that," Board said at a press conference Wednesday.
There's also an opportunity for Board to take another jump in playing time. With the Ravens, he was used primarily as a third-down player on defense because of his coverage skills.
View photos of new Lions LB Chris Board.
"That's definitely my strength," he said.
He has a chance to play a bigger role in the Lions' defense.
"There's an opportunity to come in and play and let the chips fall where they may," he said. "I'm just looking forward to that. I'm thankful to be here.
"I've just got to earn it so I can take that next step, as far as improving and increasing my defensive snaps."