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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Max Gerber

Former Lions to watch during NFL playoff games in wild card weekend

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The first round of playoff games are set to start on Saturday afternoon, and there are plenty of former members of the Detroit Lions organization who will be taking the field in these postseason matchups.

While some of these players were only in Detroit for brief stints, others were once core players for the team.

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

Seattle: FB/LB Nick Bellore, CB Justin Coleman, DB Quandre Diggs, RB Godwin Igwebuike, CB Mike Jackson, DB Teez Tabor

No team in the playoffs has more former Lions players on their active roster than the Seattle Seahawks.

Diggs may be the most notable name here, as he was drafted by Detroit in 2015 and played there for the better part of five seasons. He started at nickel cornerback and strong safety during that time. He was traded to Seattle in 2019 for a fifth-round draft pick.

Coleman also was a starting nickel cornerback for the Lions for two seasons. He played in Detroit for the 2019 and 2020 seasons and went to Miami after becoming a free agent. He signed with Seattle this past offseason.

Bellore and Igwebuike both signed with Detroit as defensive players and converted to offense while with the team. Bellore has since become a Pro Bowl special teamer for Seattle, while Igwebuike was a recent call-up from the practice squad for them to provide depth at running back.

Tabor was the most interesting name on this list of former Lions as he was once a second-round draft selection for them in 2017. He never was able to make much of an impression with Detroit and was labeled a bust after two seasons with them.

Jackson appeared in one game for Detroit in 2019 after being signed off the Cowboys’ practice squad.

49ers: DL Kerry Hyder, QB Josh Johnson

Hyder was a long-time fixture for Detroit’s defense. With the team from 2015 to 2018, Hyder worked his way up from the practice squad to have a stellar 2016 season with eight sacks and 11 tackles for loss. He tore his Achilles the next season and returned in 2018 with very little production.

Johnson was with the Lions for just one month, signing with the team during their 2019 preseason. He appeared in three preseason games and threw for 313 yards and one touchdown.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Chargers: QB Chase Daniel, OL Storm Norton, TE Donald Parham, LB Kyle Van Noy

Van Noy, a valuable member of the Chargers’ pass rush unit, was once a second-round draft pick by the Lions in 2014. Detroit never figured out how to use his skillset, often playing him as an off-ball linebacker instead of an edge defender. He was traded to the Patriots after two and a half seasons with the Lions.

Daniel was brought in to backup Matthew Stafford for the 2020 season. Despite signing a three-year deal, he was released after just one year with the team. During that time, he appeared in four games and threw for 264 yards and a touchdown, but also gave away two interceptions.

Norton was signed by the Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and was in the fight for the starting left tackle job during training camp while Taylor Decker dealt with an injury. He was released before the season began and was quickly re-signed to the practice squad. He bounced back and forth between the practice squad and the active roster for a few months before being signed by the Cardinals. He has started 18 games for the Chargers over the last three seasons.

Parham was a fan favorite in Detroit despite only being with the team for three days. The 6’8″ tight end joined the team as an undrafted free agent but failed to make it out of rookie minicamp. As a backup tight end for Los Angeles, he has 479 yards and seven touchdowns to his name over three seasons.

Jaguars: WR Jamal Agnew, WR Marvin Jones, DL Jeremiah Ledbetter, K Riley Patterson

Marvin Jones was a key piece of Detroit’s offense from 2016 to 2020. In that time, he had 289 catches for 4,296 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was a fan-favorite in Detroit for years and was a leader in the locker room as well.

Agnew was an electric return specialist for the Lions. In his rookie season in 2017, he was named an All-Pro returner and was also named to the All-Rookie team. Agnew was drafted originally as a nickel cornerback but quickly made the change to offense, where he became a gadget player as a running back and wide receiver.

Ledbetter was also a member of that Lions 2017 draft class but only stayed with the team for one season. He had 14 tackles and a sack during that one season in Detroit.

Patterson was signed by the Lions in the middle of the 2021 season to help alleviate their kicking woes and he did just that. He made 29 of his 30 kicks attempted in seven games with Detroit.

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills

Dolphins: OL Kendall Lamm

Lamm’s name won’t be familiar to most as he was only with the Lions for three weeks during the 2022 preseason. He appeared in every preseason game and played meaningful snaps at tackle in all of them.

Bills: S Dean Marlowe, P Sam Martin

Martin was drafted by the Lions in 2013 and started at punter for seven seasons. He is now the starting punter for the Bills.

Marlowe will start at safety for Buffalo, filling in for Damar Hamlin. He was with the Lions for the 2021 season and was the team’s starting strong safety for a good portion of the year.

New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings

Giants: LB Jarrad Davis, WR Kenny Golladay

Davis is a former first-round pick by Detroit in 2017. He was on their practice squad in 2022 but was poached by the Giants. A versatile linebacker, he was used both in coverage and as a situational pass rusher.

Golladay signed with the Giants after four great seasons in Detroit but has failed to replicate the successes he had with his former team. With Detroit, he was the team’s deep-threat receiver and caught 183 passes for over 3,000 yards.

Vikings: TE T.J. Hockenson

Davis isn’t Detroit’s only former first-round pick playing in this game. Hockenson was drafted eighth-overall in 2019 and was Detroit’s starting tight end up until he was traded in October of 2022. He now starts for the Vikings, where he has had one of the most successful seasons of his young

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Neither of these teams has any former Lions players on their active rosters. Former Detroit starting linebacker Josh Bynes is on Baltimore’s practice squad.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cowboys: S Jayron Kearse

Kearse started at strong safety for the Lions during the 2020 season and is now in that same role for Dallas. He had 59 tackles and a forced fumble as a Lion.

Buccaneers: DL Patrick O’Connor, WR Breshad Perriman

O’Connor makes this list as the sixth member of Detroit’s 2017 draft class expected to play in the 2022 playoffs. He was a seventh-round pick for the Lions and had an impressive preseason that year. He was waived and brought to the practice squad for a short time. He signed with the Buccaneers in the middle of the 2017 season and has been with them ever since.

Perriman was signed by the Lions in 2021 with the expectation that he would be one of the team’s starting receivers. He played in the preseason but was released before the regular season began. He has since been a reliable backup for Tampa Bay.

First-round byes: Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs

Eagles: CB Darius Slay, DL Ndamukong Suh

There are two former Detroit Lions defenders on the Eagles’ roster, and both are names that Lions fans won’t forget anytime soon.

Slay was an elite cornerback in Detroit’s secondary for years. Drafted in 2013, he earned a starting role with the Lions in his second year, earning three Pro Bowl nods and was named an All-Pro during that time.

Suh was a first-round draft pick by Detroit in 2010. He was a major force on the defensive line and can take credit for Detroit’s defensive successes in their 2014 season. He earned four Pro Bowls while playing for the Lions. He has since won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers and is now trying to earn another one with Philadelphia.

Chiefs: FB Michael Burton

Burton was Detroit’s starting fullback for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He has since been with several other teams but has found success with the Chiefs, playing the best two years of his career with them.

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