Austin Bryant

Designated To Return: Broncos, Lions, Titans

With roughly half of the 2019 campaign in the books, NFL clubs have started to exercise their right to return players from injured reserve. Each team is allowed to bring two players back from IR, but said players must have been retained on their respective club’s initial 53-man roster. Once an IR player returns to practice, his club will have three weeks to decide whether to activate him to their 53-man roster; if he’s not activated, the player will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Here are three players who have been designated to return from IR this week:

  • Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick has returned to practice and has been designated to return, as Mike Klis of 9News tweets. A 2017 undrafted free agent, Patrick suffered a broken hand in Week 1 of the 2019 campaign but is now ready for action. Patrick broke out in the final month of last season, posting 19 receptions for 242 yards during the last quarter of the campaign. When he returns to game action, Patrick could see a significant role in a now Emmanuel Sanders-less receiving corps.
  • The Lions have designated defensive end Austin Bryant to return from IR, and he practiced Wednesday, the club announced today. Bryant was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, so he’s yet to play an NFL snap. During his final two seasons at Clemson, Bryant posted 17 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss. If activated, Bryant could help a Detroit defensive line that currently ranks bottom-seven in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders.
  • Defensive back Josh Kalu has been designated to return from IR by the Titans, per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (Twitter link). An undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2018, Kalu spent most of last year on Tennessee’s practice squad before being promoted in December. He played in five games and saw action on 48 special teams snaps.

Lions Re-Sign Logan Thomas

The Lions have re-signed tight end Logan Thomas. To make room, they placed defensive end Austin Bryant on injured reserve.

Thomas, 28, entered the NFL as a quarterback in 2014, but transitioned to tight end in 2016 when he joined the Lions’ taxi squad. after a few years with the Bills, he returned to Detroit on a one-year deal in March. He was a victim of Saturday’s cuts, but he apparently didn’t stray too far from town.

Bryant, meanwhile, has been rehabbing his way back from a torn pectoral muscle. The fourth-round rookie probably rushed things a bit, however, and suffered another upper-body injury on the practice field. The Clemson product offers length and pass-rush ability that could be useful for the Lions in the second half of the season.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/13/19

We’ll keep track of today’s lower round draft pick signings here:

  • The Lions inked fourth-round defensive end Austin Bryant, sixth-round running back Ty Johnson, seventh-round tight end Isaac Nauta, and seventh-round defensive tackle P.J. Johnson. Bryant, a Clemson product, is a pass rush specialist who routinely used his length to get to the quarterback. He put himself on the map with 8.5 sacks as a junior and followed that up with another eight sacks as a senior. There are questions about whether his pass-rush ability is enough to offset his deficiencies against the run, but the Lions were more than happy to take a chance on him in the fourth round.
  • The Colts signed fourth-round safety Khari Willis and fifth-round defensive back Marvell Tell III. Willis was one of Michigan’s top high school players as a running back, but found his calling in the secondary at Michigan State. Tell, meanwhile, made three interceptions as USC’s starting free safety last year.
  • The Giants signed a pair of fifth-round picks: wide receiver Darius Slayton and linebacker Ryan Connelly. The Giants still have a lot of work ahead for them in signing their draft class, including first-round picks Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence.

Draft Notes: QBs, Williams, Bryant, Taylor

Although Kyler Murray placing himself into this year’s draft-eligible quarterback crop increased the buzz surrounding it, the 2019 class has not brought the intrigue 2018’s did. Murray and Dwayne Haskins enter the Combine as the top QBs, and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com rates the Heisman Trophy winner over the more traditional prospect. However, Jeremiah said (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com) neither Murray nor Haskins would have ranked among the top-three quarterback prospects in last year’s draft. The longtime draft analyst would place Murray alongside Josh Allen and Haskins in between those two and Lamar Jackson, if all seven players were in one draft. With a 2020 draft group expected to be better than 2019’s, teams will have to weigh risks that come with selecting a passer in this year’s prospect pool.

Here is the latest from the draft world:

  • A member of the stacked Clemson defensive line that is set to populate draft boards, Austin Bryant will not be participating to the degree his ex-Tiger teammates will in Indianapolis. Bryant underwent surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter), and will not do drills at the Combine. This injury happened Nov. 3, but Bryant played through it, recording 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss as a senior, and did not go under the knife until Jan. 17.
  • First-round tackle prospect Jawaan Taylor will not do any drills at this year’s Combine. The former Florida standout sent a letter to NFL teams informing them a mild hamstring strain will take him out of action in Indianapolis, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). This will likely be resolved by Taylor’s forthcoming pro day.
  • One of the top tackles in this year’s class, Jonah Williams is viewed by some teams a high-end guard prospect. The Alabama product’s future appears to be inside or at right tackle, with scouts informing Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News the acclaimed blocker could be an All-Pro guard or a quality right tackle. While teams still prioritize the left tackle spot, the gap between the offensive line’s glamour position and the rest of the roles is not what it once was. Quenton Nelson, Brandon Scherff and Lane Johnson have emerged as top-six draft picks-turned-Pro Bowlers that were shuttled to non-left tackle positions, with Scherff moving inside at his NFL career’s outset. Williams played both right and left tackle at Alabama, moving to the left side after his freshman year.