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With all the focus on the Lions 2021 NFL draft class, headlined by first-round offensive tackle Penei Sewell, the undrafted rookies signed after the draft haven’t received much attention. One of those undrafted free agents, or UDFAs, signed by GM Brad Holmes in Detroit made the cut as one of the top 10 around the league.
In its list of 10 undrafted rookie free agents would could make an impact, The Athletic quickly cites Lions running back Rakeem Boyd. The UDFA from Arkansas has both the talent and the opportunity, according to analyst Lindsay Jones,
Boyd wasn’t among Brugler’s Top 300 prospects, but he has more name recognition than some other players on this list thanks to his star appearance in Season 3 of the Netflix series “Last Chance U.” That was filmed in 2017, when Boyd played at Independence Community College in Kansas. (Boyd started his career at Texas A&M.) The Lions drafted a running back, Jermar Jefferson, in the seventh round, so he could be Boyd’s top competition to earn a roster spot to back up D’Andre Swift. And with Wednesday’s news the Lions are cutting Kerryon Johnson, maybe there will be room for both.
The commentary does ignore the Lions prominently upgrading the No. 2 RB spot with Jamaal Williams in free agency. But Boyd absolutely has a chance to beat out seventh-rounder Jermar Jefferson as the No. 3 back in Detroit’s rotation.
A case could be made that a different UDFA from the “Natural State” has a better opportunity in Detroit. Wide receiver Jonathan Adams of Arkansas State has an arguably clearer path to significant playing time as a rookie with the Lions.