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Not even 10 days ago, nary a soul in Detroit knew who Craig Reynolds was. After two eye-opening performances in the Lions’ preseason games, the fresh-faced running back is now getting a lot of buzz as someone who deserves to make the final 53-man roster.
Reynolds followed up his improbable introduction to his Detroit teammates in the preseason opener by thriving in the second exhibition game, this one in Pittsburgh. He led the Lions in rushing with 29 yards on five carries, all late in the game. Every Reynolds run operated behind the depths of Detroit’s offensive line depth chart, and he did a nice job maximizing yardage on each carry.
The 25-year-old Reynolds has shown off an impressive blend of power and elusiveness. His low center of gravity and savvy ability to accelerate out of contact are consistent traits that transcend the scheme and the blocking. But where Reynolds really helped his roster chances on Saturday night was in the passing game.
The Lions offense figures to rely heavily on running backs being integrally involved as receiving threats. Reynolds caught two passes for 12 yards and looked comfortable doing so. He wasn’t given much to do in pass protection.
Detroit has an interesting stable of back competing for the roster spots behind starter D’Andre Swift and reserve Jamaal Williams. Seventh-round rookie Jermar Jefferson has played well and has the boost of being a draft pick by GM Brad Holmes. Converted safety Godwin Igwebuike scored a touchdown and showed some burst against the Steelers. Undrafted rookie Dedrick Mills has acquitted himself well throughout the summer too, though he didn’t have a great game against the Steelers. But Reynolds has proven he’s deserving of one of the 53 final roster spots.