What 13 undrafted free agents can offer Lions
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions announced the signing of 13 undrafted free agents Friday morning, coinciding with the opening of the team's three-day rookie minicamp.
In addition to the signings, the team released wide receiver Brandon Reilly, bringing the offseason roster to a full 90 players.
Here's a breakdown on each of the undrafted free agents.
► Nate Becker, TE, Miami (Ohio)
Becker wasn't much of a receiving threat for the RedHawks, catching just 19 passes during his college career. But his 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame, plus his reputation as one of the team's weight room stars, suggests he's primed to be a solid blocker.
► Beau Benzschawel, G, Wisconsin
Tall for a guard, the 6-foot-6 Benzschawel is coming off a season where he earned consensus first-team All-American honors. He started 49 consecutive games for the Badgers, with most of his work coming at right guard. His remaining action came at right tackle. Coming out of high school, he was a two-way player at tight end and defensive end.
► Malik Carney, LB, North Carolina
Cut from the mold like coach Matt Patricia likes his linebackers, the 6-foot-2 Carney tipped the scales at 251 pounds a the combine. He primarily played on the edge for the Tarheels, tallying 12 sacks over 20 games the past two seasons. He also showed a knack for jarring the ball loose, forcing seven fumbles during that stretch.
► Jonathan Duhart, WR, Old Dominion
College teammates with Lions draft pick Travis Fulgham, the two made for a potent tandem for the Monarchs. Duhart topped 1,000 receiving yards as a senior, leading Conference USA with 74 catches for 1,045 yards and nine scores. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he brings excellent size to the table, but lacks ideal top-end speed.
► Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson
Another big-bodied linebacker (6-foot-3, 253 pounds), Lamar played off the ball behind Clemson's dominant front four, tallying 85 tackles (5.5 for loss) in 14 starts last season. His below-average speed and agility indicate he's more suited to be a two-down linebacker at the professional level, with some potential to contribute on special teams.
► C.J. Moore, S, Mississippi
Moore was unable to finish his senior year after tearing a pectoral muscle in October. It was the second time he suffered the injury in three years. As a junior in 2017, he flashed some playmaking ability, recording 51 tackles and three interceptions. Moore's twin brother, A.J., spent time with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent last season.
► Matt Nelson, DE, Iowa
The Lions have rostered a couple future doctors in recent years, including running back Zach Zenner. Add Nelson to that list. A four-time academic All-American, medical school waits when the football dream ends. The big-bodied edge defender had a productive college career, recording 23.0 tackles for loss in 37 games from 2016-18.
► Donald Parham, TE, Stetson
You won't find many tight ends built like Parham, who stands 6-foot-8, but weighs just 243 pounds. It's safe to say blocking isn't going to be the small school star's forte. Late to picking up football, he posted monster receiving numbers as a senior, hauling in 85 passes for 1,319 yards and 13 scores. There's potential to be tapped as a red zone matchup weapon out of the slot.
► Anthony Pittman, LB, Wayne State
Everyone likes a good local story. Pittman, a two-time captain, is undersized for the position, but was productive for the Warriors, recording 181 tackles, including 31.5 behind the line of scrimmage.
► Ryan Pope, OT, San Diego State
As has been reported, Pope received the largest guarantees of any undrafted free agent, $165,000 in total. That bodes well for his roster chances and how the Lions view him as a developmental tackle. Part of one of the best run-blocking lines in the country, he primarily started at right tackle. At 6-foot-7, 320 pounds, with 34-inch arms, he has an NFL-ready build.
► Ray Smith, DT, Boston College
Despite a less-than-ideal frame, the stout Smith built a reputation for being an anchor in the trenches for the Eagles, controlling his gaps and recording more than 100 tackles over the past two seasons. He had a strong showing at his pro day, running the 40 in 4.9 seconds and hoisting the bar 27 times on the bench. He was coached by Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni for two seasons (2016-17).
► Micah St. Andrew, G, Fresno State
St. Andrew is listed at a whopping 348 pounds, which is down considerably from the 380 he weighed when he first arrived at Fresno State. Highly durable, he started 43 straight games for the Bulldogs, primarily at right guard, although he got some late action at center. The school's offensive line paved the way for 2,161 rushing yards last season, while impressively allowing fewer than a sack per week.
► Kevin Strong, DT, Texas San-Antonio
At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, Strong is a tall, long interior lineman prospect. He put up consistent numbers each of his four college seasons, averaging 6.6 tackles for a loss.