Will DT Daylon Mack Make the Lions' 53-Man Roster?
The Detroit Lions recently acquired defensive tackle Daylon Mack off waivers.
Mack, a fifth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M, was released on Saturday by the Baltimore Ravens.
Now that backup nose tackle John Atkins has opted out of the 2020 season, the Lions have an opening at the position.
Baltimore's decision to release the 6-foot-1, 340-pound Mack just a year after drafting him came as bit of a surprise.
But, in order for the Ravens to get under their 80-man roster limit, some difficult choices had to be made.
Despite the Ravens losing DT Michael Pierce this offseason to the Minnesota Vikings, they made up for it and then some by trading for Calais Campbell, signed Derek Wolfe and drafted Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington.
Needless to say, there was a surplus on the defensive line, and Mack was the odd man out.
In his rookie season, Mack only appeared in one game for a total of nine defensive snaps. He was placed on injured reserve due to a knee injury in mid-November.
As a former five-star recruit, Mack was highly regarded coming out of high school.
Not that he entirely lived up to expectations at the college or pro level, but there is still some talent there.
At the East-West Shrine Game last year, Mack was dominant enough to parlay his impressive performance into a Senior Bowl invitation -- where he also exhibited some flashes against a higher level of competition.
For a man his size, he has some great burst off the line of scrimmage. In fact, it’s probably his best attribute.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia definitely has a certain type of player in mind when it comes to his defensive linemen.
Mack checks a lot of those boxes: power at the point of attack, a strong anchor, some versatility along the line, active hands and the ability to stop the run.
If there is one trait Mack doesn’t possess, it’s prototypical NFL length.
It can be tough for a tackle with shorter arms to control the line of scrimmage, but there are ways around it.
Also, important to note, Mack isn't going to wow anyone rushing the passer. Again, that’s not super high on the priority list for Patricia’s nose tackles.
As with any depth-type player, no roster spot is guaranteed.
However, behind NT Danny Shelton, there is not a ton of depth, either.
Mack will have to likely battle with sixth-round rookie John Penisini for playing time.
Outside of that, there isn’t another formidable player that is a true threat to Mack's reserve nose tackle role.
Yes, Mack didn't get to choose where he landed after the Ravens released him, but he should be happy with the scheme fit and his chances of making the Lions' final roster.
If Mack can’t crack the Lions' roster, it might be tough for him to stick anywhere else.