The Lions continue to tweak their roster, and in a move that some people have thought of as slightly controversial, they have chosen to sign USFL WR Maurice Alexander, waiving the option to take Greg Bell as a running back.
This is an interesting time of the season when it comes to gambling and if you are looking to get NFL game day odds, then before placing your bets it might be best to consider things like roster changes in the lead-up to the fixtures. Teams can look very different when the time comes for the new fixtures.
Lions’ need for a wide receiver
It was clear that the Detroit Lions needed to make some changes at WR. Corey Sutton has now retired, which left them a tiny bit lighter, but then when Quintez Cephus got injured, it seemed that there were very few options at WR for the team.
Greg Bell, the running back, injured his hip and back recently. He has cleared injury waivers and rejoins the Lions on an IR basis, so they can keep him or release him while paying an injury settlement, meaning he would become a free agent and a potentially attractive option for some teams in the future if his injury troubles clear up. Bell passed through the waivers unclaimed for now and his choices are to either find a way to settle with the Lions or he will sit out the season without playing, even if he reaches fitness. Bell is now 24 and will be desperate to find some game time to reach his potential.
Maurice Alexander was actually undrafted from Florida International back in 2020 and in what has been a strange time, he has found the rebooted USFL to be a great chance to show what he can do. The USFL is full of great talents and there are a lot more who may well be following the NFL in the near future.
Alexander’s most recent outings for the Philadelphia Stars saw him make 20 catches for 234 yards and make two touchdowns. He was also ahead of the pack in the USFL for kickoff return average and return yards.
He was also third place in punt average, and CBS Sports recently wrote about him in glowing terms after being given honors as a top return man:
“A converted college quarterback who split time at receiver and returner before going undrafted in 2020, Alexander is small (5-11, 180) but speedy, leading the USFL in kick return yards (707) and averaging over 30 yards per runback. He’s also been dynamic on punt returns, averaging 12.6 yards per return. His athleticism could justify a look as a hybrid running back/receiver/return man.”
Maurice Alexander is a converted quarterback. He had 72 of 130 completions, making up 849 yards, and made eight interceptions. He played 38 games across four seasons when playing for FIU, making six touchdowns and taking 103 carries for 273 yards.
Alexander still has time on his side when it comes to making an impact on the sport and the Lions will be hoping that he can push some of the existing, established names to perform better, even if he can’t break into the lineup at the first time of asking.
The Detroit Lions use tryouts to choose their new wide receivers
The Lions actually picked Alexander and chose to sign him based on a tryout group they had put together. The three WRs they had for tryouts included Maurice along with Johnnie Dixon and Taywan Taylor. Taylor is also 5’11” and has threatened many times to make a name for himself in the big leagues, but now at 27, will be desperate for an opportunity like the one he just missed out on with the Lions.
It is expected that Kalif Raymond will be the Lions’ punt returner, and Godwin Igwebuike should be the kickoff returner for the new season, but Alexander’s averages could mean that he brings a lot of competition and may even be considered for either of these roles.
The Lions are currently in the phase of preparing for the new season in training camps, and they will likely make more additions before they take part in their next competitive fixture.
Many people think that Detroit will struggle to make a big impact, but with some of the younger signings in the middle of this significant rebuild, they’re an intriguing prospect.