TWENTYMAN: Breaking down the Lions' initial practice squad

The Detroit Lions have signed nine of a possible 16 players to their initial practice squad, plus one international practice squad signing.

The NFL expanded practice squad rosters to 16 players a couple seasons ago due to COVID-19, and kept the numbers the same the last two seasons 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 can also protect up to four players per week that other teams cannot sign to their active roster. 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 closer look at Detroit’s initial practice squad signings:

WR Maurice Alexander

Alexander spent time on Detroit’s practice squad last year before getting a call-up to the 53-man roster late in the year. He has real value as a punt returner, averaging 23.4 yards per return in the preseason, including a 95-yard touchdown.

G Kayode Awosika

He gives the Lions some experience and depth on the practice squad along the interior of the offensive line. Awosika played in 10 games for Detroit last year.

K Michael Badgley

Badgley was waived before camp but rejoins the team on the practice squad after going 24-for-28 kicking field goals for the Lions last year and a perfect 33-for-33 on extra points. He gives them some insurance at the kicker spot in case Riley Patterson struggles.

WR Dylan Drummond

Drummond was a tryout player who turned in a terrific spring, training camp and preseason. Bringing him back on the practice squad was a pretty easy decision. He’s a good route runner and makes tough catches. The Lions want to continue to develop him.

T Connor Galvin

The undrafted free agent out of Baylor had a solid training camp and was Detroit’s highest graded offensive lineman in the preseason, per Pro Football Focus. The former Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year provides the Lions some young depth on the practice squad after the team kept only eight offensive linemen on the initial 53-man roster.

S Brandon Joseph

The rookie out of Notre Dame got into a numbers game at safety where the Lions are deep. He had 11 tackles and an interception in the preseason and has some ball-hawking skills. He adds depth at safety on the practice squad.

CB Chase Lucas

The second-year cornerback had a strong camp but lost out on the numbers game at cornerback with Moseley coming off PUP and Steven Gilmore and Khalil Dorsey really making a push late in camp for roster spots. He’s really good on special teams and gives the Lions some veteran depth at the cornerback spot.

LB Trevor Nowaske

The undrafted linebacker out of Division II Saginaw Valley State has good movement skills and can play in space. He made a number of plays on special teams throughout camp and the preseason. He recorded 10 tackles over three preseason games.

DL Chris Smith

The undrafted rookie out of Notre Dame recorded a sack in the preseason and showed off enough versatility for the Lions’ defensive coaches to want to continue to develop his game.

International practice squad signing:

T Max Pircher

Pircher joined the Lions as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program for the 2023 season. He spent the last two seasons with the Rams after being allocated to Los Angeles via the program in 2021. He does not count against Detroit’s 16 allotted practice squad spots being part of this program.

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