Offensive Depth Chart

May 7th, 2013

Mikel Leshoure balances atop the RB depth chart…for now (photo courtesy Toledo Blade)

Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor

Since the draft is over it is now proper time to assess the depth chart. This is a projection as to how the Lions will enter their first mini-camp. This entry focuses on the offense, and we’ll tackle the defense later.

QB: Matt Stafford, Shaun Hill, Kellen Moore, Alex Carder

Notes: The first two are set in stone. Moore has the advantage of familiarity on Carder in the battle for the #3 spot, with the chance to take over for Hill and his expiring contract after 2013. The only real question is if the Lions decide to keep just two QBs instead of three to hang onto an extra linebacker or wide receiver. Any further changes are unlikely.

RB: Mikel Leshoure, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Theo Riddick, Devin Moore, Steven Miller, Jahvid Best

Notes: Leshoure and Bush figure to see the vast majority of the action, with Bell and Riddick battling for the 3rd spot and 3rd down back gig. Give Bell the edge because he can run inside and knows the passing game well. Leshoure holds the starting job but will have to fight off Bush to keep it. The Lions could still be in the market for a low-priced veteran speed back. Moore or Miller can help themselves quite a bit by showing return skills. Best is still on the roster but will not play.

WR: Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles, Mike Thomas, Brian Robiskie, Patrick Edwards, Kris Durham, Corey Fuller, Terrence Austin, Devin Thomas, Chastin West, Cody Wilson, Troy Burrell, Lance Long

Notes: Johnson is the only set commodity here. He is coming off one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. Burleson will be the other starter if fully recovered from a broken leg last October. He should be ready to go. Broyles is dicier, as he tore his right ACL in December a year after tearing his left ACL. He is the starting slot receiver but could start the season on PUP. Fuller will be given every chance to be the top outside reserve and figures to see action in 3WR sets with Burleson sliding inside. He will start the offseason behind journeymen Mike Thomas and Robiskie.  Mike Thomas is built like a slot receiver but has the skillset of an outside guy. He caught just 5 passes in 7 games last year and will have to play well this summer to earn his spot. Durham has size the team covets and chemistry with Stafford but lacks speed and really struggled when thrust into a bigger role. Robiskie and perhaps Devin Thomas will challenge him for the final spot, with special teams being the tie-breaker. There is an opening for the old Kassim Osgood role of special teams ace. Give that edge to Devin Thomas, as he excelled in that (and only that) role with the Giants. Edwards has a shot as a shifty slot guy with return skills but must prove his durability and value quickly.

TE/FB: Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, Michael Williams, Joseph Fauria, Shaun Chiapas, Nate Overbay, Dominique Curry, Jon Morgan

Notes: Pettigrew is locked in as the starting TE and figures to finally be fully healthy in 2013. Scheffler has held the flex/move TE role for a while but played poorly in 2012 and could be overtaken by the younger/cheaper options. Williams will likely fill Riley Reiff’s rookie role of extra blocking tackle, but he’s sneaky in the red zone and short yardage and will take Will Heller’s role there as well. Fauria was the subject of a UDFA bidding war, which means he must make the team or else another will claim him on waivers before he hits the practice squad. If Fauria shows promise, look for him to make the team at Scheffler’s expense. Chiapas and Overbay are fighting for a fullback option for a team that almost never uses a fullback. Curry is converting from wideout to tight end and could spend 2013 on the practice squad completing the transition.

Tackle: Riley Reiff, Jason Fox, Corey Hilliard, Austin Holtz, LaAdrian Waddle

Notes: I broke out the tackle situation here in depth. As an additional note, Holtz and Waddle are likely fighting for the same roster spot, but it also happens to be the most likely spot for a UDFA to make the team.

Guard/Center: Rob Sims, Larry Warford, Dominic Raiola, Rodney Austin, Dylan Gandy, Bill Nagy, Skyler Allen, Derek Hardman

Notes: Sims and Warford are the starting left and right guards, respectively. Barring injury those spots are carved in marble. Raiola took a pay cut to play one more year with the team, and the coaches find his leadership invaluable. He will enter the year as the starter, but if he struggles the team will not hesitate to replace him with either Austin or Nagy. Austin was the team’s prized futures contract and there is great optimism in Allen Park that he can take over for Raiola in time. Nagy has the inside track on the other reserve inside job if he’s healthy, but that is a big question mark. Gandy gets that role if Nagy isn’t up for it. Allen seems destined for the practice squad as a UDFA.

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12 Responses to “Offensive Depth Chart”

  1. CP says:

    Osgood re-signed in March. He’ll make it as the 6th WR

    • adminLions says:

      Osgood is not listed on the roster, still a free agent according to the NFL.

    • The Strategy Expert says:

      He did a bad job on ST in addition to having no value as a WR. Although on the scorecard of the Lions I think they gave him an ‘A’ for ST somehow. They don’t seem to understand what ST is supposed to look like. Osgood doesn’t have anything to offer.

  2. seenable says:

    Schwartz called Patrick Edwards an outside guy last year. Likened him to Titus.

    P.S. Why do you think Mike Thomas’ skills line up better outside?

    • adminLions says:

      Edwards isn’t big enough or physical at all, hard to see him making it outside. Most of his college career was running inside breaks from the outside in a shotgun spread.

      On Thomas not being a slot guy: he’s not quick with his feet or release. Slot guys have to get open quickly & precisely, that’s not his game at all.

  3. Michael says:

    Can you see the team possibly taking 4 TEs this season? Fauria being the 4th. Could help in the slot (especially if Broyles is out early) and would give him a year to grow into Scheffler’s role.

    • adminLions says:

      I think that’s certainly a possibility, esp. if the team keeps just two QBs or one less WR. 4th TE will have to excel on special teams though to merit the roster spot.

      • The Strategy Expert says:

        Or they could finally trade Sheffler like I have been hoping from the moment they signed him. Or Pettigrew too.

        • adminLions says:

          Honestly a Scheffler trade would not surprise me, esp. if Fauria and/or Williams really impresses in preseason.

          • The Strategy Expert says:

            I’m already impressed with each of them. And I haven’t seen either of them play. But I have seen their salary numbers and I’m familiar with what Scheffler’s value is. His time is up. But Denver realized that first and we are hanging on way too long and it costs us a tiny bit every single day.

  4. TSE says:

    Isn’t Reggie already promised the #1 spot?

    • adminLions says:

      I think it’s more that he has a weighted advantage over Leshoure for the starting job

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