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Detroit Lions trades with Denver Broncos for ‘longshot’ wide receiver Trinity Benson

By ARNIE STAPLETON

AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Longshot wide receiver Trinity Benson achieved his lifelong goal Tuesday, finally making the 53-man roster on his third try after spending two years toiling on Denver’s practice squad.

He had to fly 1,200 miles to take that last step.

Ahead of the league’s cutdown deadline, the Broncos traded Benson and a 2023 sixth-round draft pick to the Detroit Lions for a pair of picks in next year’s draft.

“He’s a success story,” Broncos GM George Paton said. “He came from nowhere and for him to develop into an NFL wide receiver — we had a lot of teams calling on him — I think it’s a great story and the credit goes to Trinity.

“He was down the depth chart here because we are talented there. And it’s a credit to him that teams were calling,” Paton added. “And we just thought it was a win-win: a win for us to get value, a win for Trinity and really a win for the Detroit Lions.”

The Lions sent Paton a pair of picks, fifth- and seventh-rounders next year when the draft pool will be unusually deep after the NCAA granted players an extra season of eligibility in response to the pandemic.

In another trade, the Broncos acquired linebacker and special teams standout Jonas Griffith from the 49ers along with a 2022 seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-round selection next year and a seventh-rounder in 2023.

That move was made to address Denver’s poor special teams play this summer.

“This kid’s 6-3, he can run, he can fly,” Paton said. “He’s really going to help our special teams and I think we need help on special teams.”

The Benson deal was a mild surprise despite the Broncos’ depth at receiver.

Benson, a 6-foot, 180-pound receiver who went undrafted out of Division II East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, in 2019, spent two years on Denver’s practice squad and starred at Denver’s training camp this summer.

On a wide receiver corps loaded with talent — Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler — it was Benson who day after day made the most spectacular grabs.

More importantly, he showed up big on game days.