The Detroit Lions have signed 16 players to their initial practice squad.
The NFL expanded practice squad rosters from 10 players to 16 this year. There was already a set bump from the traditional 10 players to 12 this season, and the NFL and NFLPA agreed to raise the limit to 16 because of the potential impact of COVID-19.
NFL vested veterans are now eligible for inclusion on the practice squad. In the past, players were only eligible for the practice squad if they had three years of NFL experience or less. Teams can carry up to six players who have four or more vested years of service.
Teams will also be allowed to protect up to four players per week that other teams cannot sign. The 12 players who are not protected will be eligible to sign with another team's active roster during the week.
Here's a look at Detroit's initial 16-man practice squad:
OL Beau Benzschawel: The Lions invested a lot of time last season developing the former Wisconsin product, including at center, which he played a lot of in training camp this year.
WR Victor Bolden: Bolden showed off terrific speed and return ability in camp. He was simply a casualty of the numbers game at receiver on the 53-man roster.
S Jalen Elliott: It's a deep and talented veteran safety group for the Lions, which played against Elliott making the 53. He's got the size and skill set Lions coaches like.
DT Frank Herron: Herron is a young player who played in three games last year in a reserve role and collected six tackles. He's got good size (6-4, 305) and a versatile skill set.
WR Tom Kennedy: Kennedy had a really good training camp, showing up just about every day with a big catch. Unfortunately for him, receiver is probably the most loaded position group on the entire team. Detroit kept six on the active roster, but Kennedy's play in camp merited inclusion here.
TE Isaac Nauta: This makes a lot of sense with the Lions choosing to go with undrafted rookie Hunter Bryant on the 53-man roster behind T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James. Nauta had a shortened camp due to injury, but he's a good receiver who can also play some fullback. If Bryant isn't ready to start the season, we could see Nauta active sooner rather than later.
LB Anthony Pittman: The Lions have a veteran and established group at linebacker, but Pittman is a guy they've continued to keep around and develop. He fits the size and skill set the Lions like with their linebackers.
S Bobby Price: Price has some elite athletic traits the Lions want to continue to develop. He's 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, and he runs well. He's a dynamic athlete from a small school (Norfolk State) the Lions see potential in.
P Arryn Siposs: Siposs lost out in the punter battle to Jack Fox, but it was a close call. It makes sense to have a punter on the practice squad familiar with special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs' schemes.
DT Kevin Strong: Strong played in eight games and 172 snaps as a reserve defensive tackle last year for the Lions. He'd be an obvious call up if injuries occur along Detroit's defensive front.
CB Dee Virgin: Virgin has been a core special teamer for the Lions, but there wasn't room on the 53-man roster with some of the additions the Lions made in their secondary this offseason. Like Strong, he's experienced and could step right in and help if needed.
OL Kenny Wiggins: A versatile veteran offensive lineman who can plug and play right away. Wiggins also gives the Lions a guy who can play all five positions along the offensive line.
RB Jonathan Williams: Williams is a veteran running back who was good throughout training camp. He's a tough runner, and gives the Lions another power back in reserve.
LS Steve Wirtel: Like Siposs, Wirtel lost a close special teams battle with veteran Don Muhlbach. Wirtel gives the Lions another reliable player who can step in and play if something happens to Muhlbach.
DE Jonathan Wynn: Wynn gives the Lions another edge rusher they can continue to develop. He can put his hand in the dirt or stand up and rush.