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O'HARA: How Benson's preseason success took him from Denver to Detroit

Wide receiver Trinity Benson's road to Detroit started when he made a pledge this year to do everything he could in training camp and the preseason to make an impression on the Denver Broncos.

If he did that successfully, Benson thought he had a chance to make the 53-player roster after two seasons on Denver's practice squad.

Benson accomplished what he set out to do.

Benson was targeted with eight passes in the Broncos' three preseason games. He caught all eight, gaining 80 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Both TD catches were against the Seahawks in Denver's opening preseason game.

Mission accomplished – with a twist.

Benson made enough of an impression that he made the 53-player roster – for the Detroit Lions.

On cut-down day last Tuesday, the Lions acquired Benson in a trade with the Broncos that involved an exchange of draft picks. Denver gets the Lions' fifth and seventh-round picks in 2022; the Lions get Denver's sixth-round pick in 2023.

More importantly for the Lions, they get a wide receiver whom they think can upgrade their depth and talent at the position.

Benson was virtually unknown to Lions GM Brad Holmes. Rob Lohman, the Lions' director of pro personnel and a long-time member of the front office, recommended evaluating Benson after scouting him. Holmes obviously liked what he saw.

Most satisfied of all in the deal was Benson. Rather than face the prospect of another year on Denver's practice squad, he's with a team that has an opening for him.

"It's a blessing," Benson said Monday in a Zoom interview with the Detroit media.

"It's something, that they were interested in me and actually have plans for me in the future."

Benson talked about how he had set out his plan to maximize his opportunity to make the roster.

"Absolutely," he said. "My whole thing going into this training camp was making the most of every opportunity that was thrown your way. I feel like I did that."

Benson has faced obstacles before and overcame them. He had only two Division II offers when he got out of high school.

"I was a small kid," he said, adding: "I was 5-9, 5-10 and 160 pounds, if that."

The Broncos listed him at 6 feet, 180.

He wound up at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. The Tigers play in the Division II Great America Conference.

Benson's life has changed dramatically in the last week, and all for the better.

"It's been a little hectic," he said. "Trying to find a place to live. Getting my car shipped. Meeting new people – trying to match names with faces."

And also learning a new playbook.

How does he do that?

"Basically, you get thrown off the deep end."

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