Detroit Lions stock watch: Rookie Ty Johnson makes plays, OL needs help
Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett highlights three players who helped and hurt their stock in the Detroit Lions' preseason loss to the Buffalo Bills on Friday night at Ford Field.
RB Ty Johnson
Johnson gets a green arrow in stock watch for the second straight week, and while he didn’t do much in the ground game Friday – 9 yards on four carries – he scored the Lions’ first touchdown on a nice 11-yard catch from Matthew Stafford. Johnson has created a buzz this preseason with his speed. And the fact he was in with the first-team offense, even with the Lions limiting Kerryon Johnson’s workload, could bode well for him having a rotational role this fall.
S C.J. Moore
An undrafted rookie out of Ole Miss, Moore made a big hit on Bills return man Victor Bolden to knock loose a second-quarter fumble that Will Harris recovered. Moore hasn’t done much of note on defense this preseason, but that’s not his calling card. He’ll be a special-teams player in the NFL, and has looked good doing it. He made a strong bid for a roster spot Friday.
DE Mitchell Loewen
The Lions’ top six defensive linemen are set, but one or two spots are open for a pass rusher. Loewen played well last week against the Texans and flashed again Friday. He made two tackles in the span of three third-quarter plays, including one where he disengaged from a blocker and threw T.J. Yeldon for a loss.
[ Bigger potential loss for Lions: Jarrad Davis or Frank Ragnow? ]
OT Andrew Donnal
The Lions don’t have many options at the backup tackle spots, so Donnal is in line to make the 53-man roster. But he had a rough night blocking Shaq Lawson and others, and doesn’t inspire confidence as Taylor Decker’s backup at left tackle. If Tyrell Crosby makes it back by the opener, the Lions may scout the waiver wire for a replacement for Donnal.
CB Andre Chachere
Chachere is a long shot to make the roster, and given the chance to make a couple plays Friday, he didn’t deliver. Duke Williams beat Chachere for a touchdown late in the third quarter when Chachere was late locating a ball, and Ray-Ray McCloud ripped a would-be interception out of Chachere’s hands early in the fourth quarter. Those are plays bubble players have to make.
WR Brandon Powell
I thought Powell had a chance to make the roster earlier this summer. The Lions kept him around as a backup slot receiver last season, and he’s a lightning bug in the open field. But Powell’s usage suggests he has work to do to make the 53-man roster. On Friday, he played behind Tom Kennedy for a second straight week and worse, he dropped an easy bubble screen in the second half.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.