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TWENTYMAN: Breaking down the Lions' initial practice squad

The Detroit Lions have signed 15 of a possible 16 players to their initial practice squad.

The NFL expanded practice squad rosters to 16 players last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and kept the numbers the same for the 2021 season as well.

Teams can carry up to six practice squad spots on players with unlimited experience in the NFL. The remaining spots are filled with players having less than two accrued seasons.

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 and have to be on the active roster for at least three weeks.

Rules also allow teams to promote two players from the practice squad per week without the need to create a roster spot – essentially creating a temporary 55-man roster. Those players are eligible to play in that week's game, and they revert back to the practice squad at the end of the week without having to pass through waivers.

Here's a look at Detroit's initial 15-man practice squad:

Beckett showed some good things in camp and the preseason and was probably in the conversation for a roster spot, but the Lions went with the more veteran Anthony Pittman at inside linebacker on the 53-man roster. Beckett's got some playmaking ability the Lions would like to continue to develop.

View photos of the Detroit Lions initial practice squad for the 2021 NFL season.

OLB Rashod Berry

Outside linebacker with good size. Berry was a victim of the numbers game for inclusion on the 53-man roster on the edge. He had one tackle and one tackle for loss in the preseason for Detroit.

NT Miles Brown

A stout nose tackle out of Wofford who spent training camp with the Lions, who was third on the team in the preseason with 10 tackles. He played in nine games with the Cardinals in 2019, so he's got some experience.

S Jalen Elliott

Elliott spent last season on the practice squad. He's a lengthy safety out of Notre Dame with a raw skillset. He's a player who has all the physical tools, but just needs some more seasoning on the practice squad.

The Lions obviously want to continue to work and develop Gonzalez, even though he didn't make the initial 53-man roster, and with the team claiming kicker Austin Seibert on waivers.

This likely was one of the more difficult decisions for inclusion on the 53-man roster with the camp and preseason Hector had. He was third on the team in the preseason with 10 tackles, and also added a sack, quarterback hit, tackle for loss and pass defended.

G Tommy Kraemer

An undrafted rookie who did a good job of improving throughout camp. The Lions aren't very deep upfront along their offensive line, especially along the interior, so Kraemer could get an opportunity to be activated this year, if he keeps improving.

TE Alize Mack

The Lions currently have just one tight end on the 53-man roster, but that won't last for long. Mack was the Lions third tight end for most of camp, but the team put just two tight ends on the initial 53-man roster. Mack is a receiving tight end who is improving his run blocking. He caught four passes for 20 yards in the preseason with Detroit.

WR Javon McKinley

Good size (6-2, 215), and hauled down a touchdown in the preseason in Pittsburgh. He showed some down-field prowess averaging 16.7 yards per reception in the preseason.

RB Dedrick Mills

Mills was the team's third-leading rusher in the preseason, averaging 4.8 yards per carry on 62 rushing yards. He's a strong back that can run along the interior, and teams can never have too many running backs on the squad.

OT Darrin Paulo

Paulo is a developmental tackle with good size, but he also has experience playing inside as well, so he's got some versatility.

Reynolds made a good first impression by showing up to training camp the Thursday before the team's Friday preseason debut, playing in the game, and having a nifty 24-yard touchdown run. He ended up leading the Lions in rushing in the preseason with 87 yards on 15 attempts (5.8 average) with a couple touchdowns. He also caught four passes.

CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

The eight-year veteran certainly gives the Lions some experience in reserve. He's played in 126 career games with 30 starts. Lions defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant knows him well from their time in Los Angeles. If the Lions need a corner to call up, he's a good option.

He was signed quickly after the draft. Detroit liked his size and playmaking ability. It just never came to fruition in training camp or the preseason. The Lions see the physical tools as still developing.

TE Brock Wright

Wright was a developmental rookie tight end who showed coaches he was more than just a blocking tight end. The Lions want to continue to develop that on the practice squad.

NOTE: The Lions still have one spot available on the practice squad.

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