Detroit Lions UDFA tracker: Central Michigan WR Kalil Pimpleton, MSU OL Kevin Jarvis sign – Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions hit it big in the “eighth round” of the NFL draft last year, signing two cornerbacks among their undrafted free agent class who played significant roles as rookies.

AJ Parker won the starting slot cornerback in Week 1, and Jerry Jacobs emerged as starting outside corner before tearing his ACL late in the season.

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“Dan (Campbell) and I have always said you can call us the land of opportunity,” Lions general manager Brad Holmes said in his pre-draft news conference. “We don’t care where you come from. We don’t care where you got drafted, what the depth chart looks like where, ‘Oh, this guy’s a vet,’ and all that. We don’t care about any of that.

“If you step in this building, you’ve got an opportunity to compete … That’s kind of how we approach it because of undrafted free agents.”

The Lions entered Saturday with 83 players on their 90-man roster and are expected to sign a handful of undrafted free agents in the coming days.

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Here is a running list of players who have agreed to UDFA contracts:

OL Kevin Jarvis, Michigan State

Shuffled selflessly from position to position along MSU’s offensive line throughout his five seasons. The 6-foot-5, 317-pound native of Chicago started 39 of his 44 appearances, including 12 starts last season in earning All-Big Ten honorable mention by both the league’s coaches and media. Started 25 times in his career at right guard, 11 times at right tackle and three times at left tackle.

As a key blocker helping Kenneth Walker III win the Doak Walker Award and Big Ten running back of the year, Jarvis played 739 of 828 offensive snaps before sitting out the Peach Bowl, starting the first eight games at right guard and his final four at right tackle.

WR Kalil Pimpleton, Central Michigan

Central Michigan wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton returns a punt return against the Washington State special teams in the first half of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021.

Pimpleton is staying home. The Muskegon native and Chippewa standout  was a two-time first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection (2019, 2021) and was MAC Special Teams Player of the Year last season.

He finished his career in Mount Pleasant with 166 catches for 2,100 yards and 12 scores, while rushing 38 times for 293 yards and another five touchdowns.

DT Demetrius Taylor, Appalachian State

Taylor, was named first team All-Sun Belt the last three seasons. He finished fourth in program history with 26.5 sacks toto go with 46 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, three blocked kicks, 10 passes defended and one interception in 65 games. Appalachian State announced his signing.

OT Obinna Eze, TCU 

The Nigerian-born offensive tackle spent three years at Memphis before transferring to TCU. He was an honorable-mention Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year after starting 12 games at left tackle for the Horned Frogs and the final 37 games of his career. Eze, a 6-foot-6, 321-pounder was the team captain for the week in a 52-31 win at Texas Tech. Deal includes a $20,000 signing bonus and $150,000 base salary guarantee, according to Pro Football Focus.

RB Greg Bell, San Diego State

Bell was one of the best running backs in the Mountain West last season, rushing for 1,091 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. His journey to the league was circuitous —  starting at JUCO Arizona Western Community College, where he ran for 2,404 yards with 18 touchdowns while going 20-2 in two years. He transferred to Nebraska where he played in four games, rushing 35 times for 173 yards before going to SDSU. San Diego State announced his signing.

WR Corey Sutton, Appalachian State

Sutton made a triumphant return to the field in 2021 after tearing his ACL in 2019 and sitting out the 2020 season because of COVID. He had 61 catches for 904 yards and finished third on the Appalachian State career list with 24 touchdowns. A big receiver and vertical threat, Sutton played one season at Kansas State in 2016. Appalachian State announced his signing.

DB Cedric Boswell, Miami (Ohio)

A Birmingham Groves alumnus, Boswell started two seasons at cornerback for the Redhawks. He had eight passes defensed and his first career interception in 2021. Miami (Ohio) announced his signing.

OL Zein Obeid, Ferris State

Obeid played two seasons at tackle for the Bulldogs but projects as a guard in the NFL. He was a key cog in a Ferris State offense that finished fifth in the country in rushing (280.1 ypg) and won the Division II national championship. 

More:Shaped by the war he witnessed as a kid, Ferris State OL Zein Obeid awaits call in NFL draft

TE Derrick Deese Jr., San Jose State

Deese is a blocking tight end in the mold of his father, former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Derrick Deese Sr. He caught 47 passes for 730 yards last season. San Jose State announced his signing.

TE Nolan Givan, Southeastern Louisiana

A Berkley native, Givan played three seasons at Ball State and one at San Diego_ State before finishing at Southeastern Louisiana. He caught 40 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns last season. Signing with the Lions per his agency.

WR Josh Johnson, Tulsa

Shifty slot receiver had 1,114 yards and six receiving touchdowns last season. Started his college career at Tulsa. Johnson announced the signing on Twitter.

Contact Dave Birkett at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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