The UDFA receiver has been a star this Preseason but his roster status remains in doubt.
Brandon Powell was a relatively unknown product when the Detroit Lions signed him to a undrafted free agent deal last spring. The 5-foot-8 Florida Gators product doesn’t have the typical look of an NFL talent. He is extremely undersized as a wide receiver, and when the Lions signed him to their 90-man roster last spring he was projected to be a camp body at best.
His relatively unknown status carried through the opening stages of training camp. While fellow UDFA Teo Redding was set to be the fifth man fighting for a roster spot, Powell was an afterthought. He would quickly change that though.
As the Lions sputtered through the opening weeks of preseason Powell was one of the team’s lone bright spots. He has caught 15 passes for 99 yards through Detroit’s first three preseason games, and his punt return for a touchdown was a huge swing in the Week 3 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Powell has come out of nowhere and given general manager Bob Quinn his hardest decision to make when the Lions have to trim the roster by 37 players this Saturday. It is hard to find a defined role on the roster for Powell at the moment, but it would be hard for the Lions to part with arguably the best thing to happen to them this month. He will have practice squad eligibility as a rookie, but it is easy to imagine another team swiping him off of waivers and stashing him themselves.
When asked about his current status in Detroit after the game in Tampa Bay, he spoke about how he’s been spending the past couple of weeks focused on himself.
“I’m just trying to go play football,” Powell told reporters. “I’m not really thinking about who’s in front of me, who I’m competing with. I’m just trying to compete with myself and make sure I get better every day.”
While he realizes that he has impressed not only the front office of the Lions but the NFL as a whole, he realizes he still has more work to do in the next week.
“It’s some things I still have to work on so, gonna get back to Detroit watch some film and try to get better next week,” said Powell.
Like Tion Green in 2017 and Zach Zenner years ago, Powell has captured the hearts of Lions fans this preseason with an impressive showing. Whether or not he makes the roster just as his two predecessors did will be decided in the next few days, but either way this unlikely preseason hero has proven to be Detroit’s best story this preseason.