Breaking Down Detroit's UDFAs

Michigan State's Otis Wiley is among nine UDFAs that the Detroit Lions have signed since the conclusion of this weekend's NFL draft. We break down the value of each player inside.

DT John Gill
6-3, 302, Northwestern
Interesting physical specimen. Gill had some interest leading up to the draft, especially after nailing a 4.91 40-yard dash at the school's pro day. He started 42 Big Ten contests during his career, and tallied 160 career tackles and 10 sacks.

He might be training camp fodder, but his size and speed make him a worthwhile look.

LB Andrew Downey
6-1, 231, Maine
A three-year starter what was widely considered the most fierce defense in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA). Collected 96 tackles (10 for a loss) and two sacks in his senior campaign.

Most scouts feel Downey can transition into the middle of a 4-3, or ILB in a 3-4 defense. His 4.54 40-time and size make him ideal for special teams. He'll likely be competing with seventh-rounder Zack Follett for a starting slot.

LB Daniel Holtzclaw
6-1/2, 242, Eastern Michigan
Another middle linebacker prospect, Holtzclaw stayed close to home by signing his contract with Detroit. He was one of the fastest middle linebackers in the draft (4.82) and one of the strongest (his 33 reps were the most among LBs).

Like Downey, he'll have his hands full with cracking the roster, but will have to make an impact on special teams to do so.

C Dan Gerberry
6-2, 292, Ball State
Started all four-years at Ball State, and nominated to the All-Conference (MAC)  as a senior. Gerberry is considered undersized, and might lack the necessary strength to really make an impact in the NFL.

Despite those shortcomings, he is known for a high football IQ and and strong initial contact, which stems from his near-stubborn fundamentals. Because the Lions are weak behind Dominic Raiola, Gerberry has a chance.

S Otis Wiley
6-1, 213, Michigan State
The Flint native suffered injury problems in his last year with the Spartans, negating a mid-round draft grade.

Considered an ultimate athlete, the three-year Big Ten starter shouldn't be an after-thought despite going undrafted. Expect to hear Wiley's name mentioned frequently by the team's coaching staff as training camp draws near.

PK Swayze Waters
6-0, 178, UAB
Connected on 19-of-24 field goals last season, including 7-of-11 from 40-plus. Waters has an accurate and strong leg, but he's simply another camp leg and won't unseat veteran Jason Hanson.

WR DJ Boldin
5-11, 220, Wake Forest
The younger brother of Cardinals' standout Anquan, Boldin was a relative unknown until hs exploded in his senior campaign for 77 catches, leading all ACC receivers. That was good enough for an All-ACC first team selection.

In Detroit, Boldin shouldn't be viewed as the second-coming of his brother, but instead, a solid possession receiver. He doesn't possess great speed (4.54-40) but has good hands and athleticism.

He'll have a tough time making the team with what has become a thick and talented receiving core.

CB Mark Parson
5-9, 186, Ohio
Doesn't possess good speed (4.57) or size, but is a sound tackler with excellent fundamentals.

During the team's 2008 encounter with Ohio State, he held the Buckeyes' Brian Robiskie (2nd round/Cleveland) to just three catches.

Still, it's Parson's physical limitations that make him a long-shot to crack Detroit's roster. He'll have to demonstrate great ball awareness and make plays to start turning heads, or he won't last long.

OT/OG Steve Jonas
6-3, 304, Colgate
Can play both the OG and OT positions, and has enough size and strength to make it interesting. He was an All-Conference (Patriot League) selection his last two years at Colgate.

Jonas will likely be positioned at guard in Detroit, and should be an offensive lineman to watch. Scouts have raved about his quickness, aggressive demeanor, and natural skills. He'll need all of it to find himself a roster slot.


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