June 24, 2024

Ben Niemann Brings Experience to Detroit Lions’ Linebacking Corps

The Detroit Lions are set to bolster their roster with the addition of experienced linebacker Ben Niemann, as reported by Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. With the conclusion of minicamp and the culmination of OTAs, Niemann will be joining the Lions’ 90-man roster.

Who is Ben Nieman?

Niemann’s journey to the Lions includes stints with the Kansas City ChiefsArizona Cardinals, and Denver Broncos. Undrafted out of Iowa in 2018, Niemann has played 86 games and started 21 over six NFL seasons. In 2022, he started nine of 17 games for the Cardinals. Despite spending a significant portion of last season on the Broncos’ practice squad, Niemann made his mark with a 79.1 special teams grade from Pro Football Focus.

Coaching Connections and Roster Implications

Niemann’s signing is not just about depth—there are subtle connections within the Lions’ coaching staff that may have influenced this move. Niemann landed with the Broncos before last season, a team coached by Dan Campbell’s mentor Sean Payton. Additionally, the Lions’ new defensive line coach Terrell Williams and tight ends coach Steve Heiden have previously worked with Niemann during his time with the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals, respectively.

Given the current competitiveness of the Lions’ linebacking unit, Niemann faces a challenging task to secure a spot on the 53-man roster. Veteran players like Alex AnzaloneJack CampbellDerrick BarnesMalcolm Rodriguez, and Jalen Reeves-Maybin are considered locks. However, Anthony Pittman’s departure in free agency opens a potential role for a player with Niemann’s special teams prowess.

Bottom Line

As the Lions prepare for training camp, Niemann will compete with undrafted rookies Steele Chambers and DaRon Gilbert for a coveted roster spot. His special teams experience is a significant asset that could sway the decision in his favor.

With Niemann’s addition, the Lions continue to refine their roster, ensuring they possess a blend of experienced veterans and promising young talent as they gear up for the 2024 season.

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