After losing to the Oakland Raiders on Friday night, the Detroit Lions returned home, ready to work. While the team was working hard on the field, the front office made the decision to bring in former Central Michigan linebacker Shamari Benton. However to make room for Benton, they Lions released linebacker Justin Jackson.
Now, when it comes to Benton, you’re talking about an un-drafted free agent out of Central Michigan, who actually took part in the Lions’ rookie mini-camp back in May as a tryout player.
Although he went un-drafted by the Lions, I still think it’s a good look for him to join his hometown team in camp. Plus, this is good opportunity for him to make the team or at least the practice squad.
For those who don’t know, Benton came to the Chippewas from Brother Rice High School, where he was a three-year starter and team captain, not to mention one of the state’s top recruits.
While he did have to red-shirt his freshman year at Central Michigan, he certainly didn’t waste much time, once he got on the field. He finished his career at Central Michigan with 307 total tackles, not to mention his 111 tackles as a senior, which ranked third in the Mid-American Conference last season.
Coming into camp with the Lions, there is no doubt in my mind that he can make an impact. If you go back to his film you will see that Benton is first and foremost a tackling machine, which is evident by the stats I mentioned above. If that’s not enough, Benton is also the type of player who has a knack for making plays, if you look back at his film, you will see that Benton is always near the ball and looking to make a play, Plus, Benton is former team captain to both Brother Rice and Central Michigan, which tells me that he is a good leader and take charge type of player, which is what the Lions should want in their linebackers.
While I think this will be good opportunity for Benton, keep in mind that it won’t be easy for Benton to make the Lions final roster. As of right now, the Lions still have 90 players on their roster. However, on August 26th, the Lions will have to trim their roster down to 75 players, and August 3oth, they will have to trim it down again this time to 53 players.
Keep in mind that Benton isn’t the only other Michigan connection to lookout for on this Lions roster. After performing well in the Lions loss to the Raiders, Jim Caldwell says he is impressed with Lions corner-back Chris Greenwood.
After dealing with hamstring and hernia problems in his first two years, I’m really excited for the former Detroit King standout. From the beginning of training camp, coach Caldwell has spoken very highly of Greenwood’s progression. and after playing well against Oakland coach Caldwell is once again speaking very highly of Greenwood.
“Well, we’ve had the opportunity to work with him and see him in action.” Coach Caldwell said on Saturday when talking asked about Greenwood’s development. “So, it’s been good because of the fact that he’s a guy that has length, speed, all the measurables that you look for, and to get an opportunity to see him in action, he looks good. He’s developing and he’s been coming along. Every game that he plays in he appears to get better and I think he’s one of those guys that has a very high ceiling. So, I’m anxious to see how he finishes this preseason out.”
Just like coach Caldwell, I am also eager to see how Greenwood finish the pre-season out. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Greenwood already has the great length, speed and athleticism to be a good corner-back in the NFL. Now, he just needs the opportunity show that he can be a key guy in the Lions secondary.
He’s done a good job so far but now he has to continue his good momentum and finish strong.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
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