Today, they are all part of Detroit’s 53-man roster. So when the Lions look at their practice squad for this season, there’s the potential for eventual promotion.
All 10 players on Detroit’s initial 2017 practice squad spent time with the club during training camp. In fact, all 10 were part Saturday's cuts -- led by one of the surprise inclusions on last year’s 53-man roster, Adairius Barnes.
Here’s the Lions' initial practice squad for this season:
LB Thurston Armbrister: He was a waiver claim for the Lions after final cuts last year and spent the entire 2016 season on the 53-man roster. Named after the "Gilligan’s Island" character Thurston Howell III, Armbrister had 15 tackles and made two starts last season.
CB Adairius Barnes: He spent most of last season on the active roster, making seven tackles in seven games. With a deeper cornerback group this year, he never had a chance to push for a true roster spot.
WR Jace Billingsley: A fan favorite and someone who was thought to have a good shot at winning the No. 5 receiver job, he lost that role to Jared Abbrederis. Billingsley had 10 catches for 106 yards this preseason and had built a chemistry with backup quarterback Jake Rudock.
WR Dontez Ford: Originally a safety at Syracuse, he transferred to Pitt and became a wide receiver. Ford had an impressive preseason, compiling five catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He is somebody the coaches really liked, and his size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) is attractive to the Lions, too.
OL Leo Koloamatangi: He had a strong start to the preseason, but the Lions used him less and less as the preseason wore on. It almost felt like the team was purposely hiding him so he could slip through waivers to the practice squad with Travis Swanson and Graham Glasgow capable of playing center.
DT Derrick Lott: He was a late signing by Detroit during training camp but had a strong final preseason game. The 27-year-old with a great Twitter handle (@Lotto_Ticket) had seven tackles against the Bills in the final preseason game to catch the eyes of coaches.
S Rolan Milligan: He hung in throughout training camp despite being far down on the depth chart. Milligan had seven tackles and an interception during the presesason.
OT Storm Norton: At points during training camp, he was getting first-team reps due to injuries at offensive tackle. This will give Norton a year to develop -- something he probably needs.
DE Pat O'Connor: He was in a tough battle for a backup defensive end spot with undrafted free agents Jeremiah Valoaga and Alex Barrett. Valoaga and Barrett made the roster, but the team likes what O'Connor -- the Lions' seventh-round draft pick -- can bring. This will give the Lions a chance to work with him.
TE Cole Wick: He looked like he would have a roster spot if the Lions kept four tight ends. Instead, Detroit stuck with three and Wick snuck through to the team’s practice squad. He has good size and has improved his blocking. If injuries hit at tight end, he could get a call-up at some point.