4 Lions vets who might not make the team in 2023

There is a flip side of the coin to the excitement of all the offseason additions in Detroit. Some Lions players who had roles in the past are going to lose their spots because of the influx of new talent.

It’s the life cycle in the NFL. New players come in and replace older ones that are no longer good enough for their roles. For the Detroit Lions in 2023, it means a few guys need to perform better than they have recently to hold onto roster spots.

Julian Okwara

Okwara would be the odd man out at EDGE almost through no fault of his own. When James Houston lit the league on fire in the final six games of his rookie season, it came at the direct expense of Okwara–who didn’t play a single snap in that time.

Now that Julian’s older brother, Romeo, is healthy, Okwara has more competition for the stand-up outside backer/pass-rush specialist role. Don’t forget about vet Charles Harris coming back healthy, too. Derrick Barnes is also getting some early consideration at that spot. Julian Okwara looks like a potential loser of a numbers game in Detroit, one that could have conditional late-round draft pick trade value.

Ifeatu Melifonwu

The Lions have tried a number of different roles and positions for Melifonwu, the team’s third-round pick in 2021. From outside corner to box safety, none of them have really taken hold for the third-year vet.a viable

After the offseason development to the secondary, time is running out for Melifonwu to find a place where he’s viably roster-worthy in Detroit. With Tracy Walker coming back healthy, top free agent signing C.J. Gardner-Johnson and second-rounder Brian Branch effectively the same types of player, and veteran leader Will Harris also returning, it’s hard to find a spot. Becoming a special teams standout as the personal protector or gunner might be Meilfonwu’s only path to sticking in 2023.

Scott Daly

The Lions were spoiled by having Don Muhlbach as the team’s long snapper for 17 seasons. After Muhlbach retired in 2021, Scott Daly took over in a largely anonymous but critically important role.

Daly was fine in his first season in Detroit. Better than fine; Daly was darn near flawless in 2021. That was not the case in 2022, however. The placekick snapping was inconsistent. Daly earned an abysmal PFF grade of just 32.1 last season. Their grading criteria are unclear on long snapping, but there was a visible dropoff.

Now the Lions have a viable competitor for the gig in veteran Jake McQuaide, who has as many Pro Bowl nods (2) as Muhlbach earned. It’s a legitimate summer competition, and McQuaide’s experience and consistency give him the upper hand.


Graham Glasgow

Wait, what?! Glasgow just got back to Detroit as a free agent. No way they’d cut him!


The Broncos parted ways with Glasgow after a largely miserable 2022 campaign as their starting center for most of the year after beginning as the starting right guard. Glasgow allowed a league-high (tied) five sacks, was guilty of 10 penalties (3rd-most) and finished in the bottom 10 in both pass blocking and run blocking grades from PFF for regular starting centers.

The gruesome ankle injury he suffered in 2021 definitely impacted Glasgow in 2022. If he’s not better, Glasgow might not beat out Ross Pierschbacher as the backup center or fifth-round rookie Colby Sorsdal (among others) as the top reserve guard. It’s not a given that he does — think of Breshad Perriman back in 2021.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire