2020 Rookie report: Undrafted free agents

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Max Gerber
·4 min read
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As of 2019, about 30-percent of NFL players entered the league as undrafted free agents.

Over the course of the 2020 season, the Detroit Lions had rostered two undrafted rookies who each were able to get some time on the field in one way or another.

So how did these two rookies do in their first season as pros?

TE Hunter Bryant

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Bryant was considered to be one of the top undrafted free agents following the 2020 NFL Draft and quickly signed a deal with Detroit.

The former Washington Husky had been a top tight end in college football but many had worries about his size and injury history. Bryant was considered by many to be too small to play tight end in the NFL and he had suffered two knee injuries in college.

Bryant came into training camp as the fourth option at tight end behind T.J. Hockenson, Jesse James, and Isaac Nauta. Over time, he began to draw some attention to himself and make a case for the 53-man roster.

A hamstring injury ended up sidelining him for most of the season, but he was activated from injured reserve in December and made appearances in five games.

Bryant took a mere 17 snaps on offense and 28 on defense over those five games and was targeted twice. While he only caught one of those passes, he did make the most of it, hauling it in for a 44-yard catch-and-run.

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Though his playing time was limited, the undrafted rookie showed plenty of potential. Heading into the 2021 season, Bryant will have to compete for that third tight end role once again, this time against Alizé Mack, Hunter Thedford, and any other tight ends that the Lions opt to bring in.

S Bobby Price

Detroit Lions defensive back Bobby Price (47) in action against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Norfolk State’s Bobby Price was brought in as an undrafted free agent along with several other defensive backs following the 2020 NFL Draft and was considered to be a longshot to make the final roster.

Playing strong safety throughout college, Price had elite athleticism that the Lions must have seen and hoped to develop. Price was waived before the season and immediately brought back to the practice squad.

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The undrafted defensive back remained on Detroit’s practice squad for most of the season, and was called up to the active roster for two games in December to fill in for backup safety and special teams ace C.J. Moore.

Price was signed to the active roster prior to the Lions’ final matchup of the season following the release of Jayron Kearse but was a healthy scratch in that game.

Though he didn’t get any playing time on defense, Price did take a significant number of the special teams snaps in the two games he suited up for and made one tackle as a gunner on a punt return.

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He has had a season to develop, but under the new regime, it’s unclear if Price will have a place on the roster in 2021. He will have to compete with Moore and recently-signed Godwin Igwebuike for a special teams and situational third-safety role.

The Detroit Lions have one other undrafted rookie on their roster heading into 2021, safety Jalen Elliott. The Notre Dame product remained on the practice squad for the entirety of the season but will also be in the mix for the backup safety role.