Detroit Lions Utility Man Nick Bellore Will Be Fighting For A Roster Spot in 2018
Heading into the 2018 offseason, we knew that the Detroit Lions would have a few notable position battles taking place before next season, however, if someone told you that they expected a battle for the fullback spot, they were definitely lying. It seems a bit odd that there would be a fight for a position that is considered by many to be a dead one, especially since the Lions cut Michael Burton before last season and were seemingly going away from the position like the rest of the league.
Nick Bellore was brought in last season to provide some depth at linebacker and play special teams, but he found himself with a role on the offense for the first time in his pro career. The Lions used Bellore sparingly as a fullback throughout the season and he proved to be a serviceable blocker and even caught a touchdown pass toward the end of the season. Was this enough to carve out a full-time gig on the offensive side of the ball though?
The early signs say no. Lions general manager Bob Quinn made fullback Nick Bawden out of San Diego State the Lions lone seventh-round selection in the 2018 draft which raises some questions about Bellore’s role going forward with the team, as Bawden will likely be given every chance possible to be the starting fullback come September. If the team was satisfied with Bellore’s ability to play the fullback position, then they probably would not have targeted one in the draft, so it’s easy to see that the team doesn’t see Bellore in that role going forward.
It’s not easy for a player to rely simply on special teams ability to make a roster so Nick Bellore will almost certainly have to make himself stand out at other positions. The Lions do have a history of keeping guys on the roster as almost exclusively special teamers though, and when it comes to that side of the ball, Bellore is one of the best that the Lions have. They could decide to give him the Don Carey spot on the roster if they really like him that much and wish to continue having that type of designated special teamer taking up a roster spot.
There is some potential to see more of Nick Bellore on the defensive side of the ball too. The Lions have a few new additions the to linebacking corps via free agency and you have to think that with Bellore being just as new to the Lions defensive scheme as the new guys, they are all currently on even ground as far as making the roster as backup linebackers is concerned. Bellore will have the advantage of having played with a lot of the current players, but proving his worth on the defensive side of the ball and special teams will go a long way towards snagging one of the final roster spots.