Fifty Three Man Roster Projection

August 26th, 2013

This catch vs. the Jets helped Matt Willis make the cut (Photo courtesy Detroit Lions)

By Beast, DLD Contributor

As the preseason is quickly approaching to an end and the regular season is about to start in a couple weeks, team executives and coaches must make tough decisions on which players to keep and which one to cut from the roster.  Now that the “dress rehearsal” (also known as game 3 of preseason) is over, there is a clearer picture of which players will make the 53 players roster.  Here is my projection based on what I think the Lions coaches and executives will keep for the regular season.

Offense

QB:

  1. Matt Stafford
  2. Shaun Hill
  3. Kellen Moore

It’s the most obvious position to project the final roster.  Kellen Moore earned the spot with strong play in the preseason, prompting the Lions to trade away Thaddeus Lewis to the Bills for Chris White.

RB:

  1. Reggie Bush
  2. Joique Bell
  3. Mikel LeShoure

Bush and Bell are locks to make the roster.  Only LeShoure is on the roster bubble after getting outplayed by Bell in preseason.  It may go down to between Theo Riddick and Mikel LeShoure, but LeShoure gets the nod due to the Lions’ need of a in between the tackle pounder especially late in the game.

WR:

  1. Calvin Johnson
  2. Nate Burleson
  3. Ryan Broyles
  4. Patrick Edwards
  5. Matt Willis
  6. Michael Spurlock (KR/PR)

The first four are pretty much set in stone by the coaching staff.  Spurlock makes the roster due to his ST play as a returner because of his experience in making decisions when fielding punts.  The final WR spot goes to Matt Willis who has performed well in preseason and it’s very telling that he was on the field with the first team offense against the Patriots.  The Lions have been looking to trade for a #2 WR because none of the WRs have been able to make an impact from the X and Z position.  If they are unable to find one, finding a starting WR has to be a huge priority for the front office.  Expect them to scout the 2014 WR prospects heavily.

TE:

  1. Brandon Pettigrew
  2. Tony Scheffler
  3. Joseph Fauria

It’s a lock that both Pettigrew and Scheffler are going to make the cut.  The real battle is for the 3rd TE spot between both rookies, Fauria and Williams.  In my opinion, the Lions were going to keep four TE, but with Michael Williams injury from the Patriots game would open the door to Fauria as the 3rd TE on the roster.  I think the Lions will put Williams on PUP list then activate him once he’s healthy in which he’ll play a Will Heller role as a blocking TE.

OT:

  1. Riley Reiff
  2. Jason Fox
  3. LaAdrian Waddle
  4. Corey Hillard

OG:

  1. Rob Sims
  2. Dylan Gandy
  3. Jake Scott
  4. Larry Warford

C:

  1. Dominic Riaola

To me, it’s pretty obvious that the four OT will make the roster with Waddle making a late push to win the starting RT job over Jason Fox.  Like the OT, the four OG will make the roster with a starting RG battle still left to be played out.  My guess is Gandy will win the spot though coaches prefer to have Warford to win the job but Warford has struggled in preseason due to inconsistencies.  Riaola is another player who is a lock to make the roster.  My hope is Gandy will start at RG to gain experience then move to C the next year with Warford moving up to start at RG.

Defense

DE:

  1. Ziggy Ansah
  2. Jason Jones
  3. Izzy Idonije
  4. Willie Young
  5. Devin Taylor

Perhaps one of the deepest position on the roster. With Lions cutting Ronnell Lewis, it paved the way for the five defensive ends to make the roster.  I expect a heavy rotation for the first four DE listed above with Devin Taylor making an occasional appearance on the field.

DT:

  1. Ndamukong Suh
  2. Nick Fairley
  3. CJ Mosley
  4. Justin Bannan

With the Lions signing Bannan, it tells me that they intend to have him as part of the DT rotation in a Sammie Lee Hill role as a run stuffer.  Expect Suh, Fairley and Mosley to get a lot of playing time throughout the season.

OLB:

  1. DeAndre Levy
  2. Ashlee Palmer
  3. Tahir Whitehead
  4. Chris White

MLB:

  1. Stephen Tulloch

Aside from Levy and Tulloch, this is probably the weakest LB group in terms of talent and depth.  Lions must hope that Levy and Tulloch stays healthy and have Palmer play competent defense as a starting SAM LB or they’re in deep trouble.  The trade for Chris White signals the end of Travis Lewis on the Lions roster in which he struggled mightily in the preseason.  Chris White is an excellent special teamer and should help fill the void from Montell Owens injury that he suffered against the Patriots.  Rocky McIntosh could be one of the last few players in or out of the cut list and should provide depth at MLB.

CB:

  1. Chris Houston
  2. Darius Slay
  3. Bill Bentley
  4. Ron Bartell
  5. Jonte Green
  6. DeQuan Menzie

After the first three CBs, this is probably the hardest position to project because of so many factors from the backup players.  I project Bartell to make the roster despite the fact that he had a terrible preseason but the coaches seemed to like him so I’m keeping him there for this reason.  If I am the coach, I would cut Bartell and go with the young corner on the roster.  Jonte Green has starting experience and is rounding into form after sitting out practices/games with injury and apparently impressed on the special team which ultimately will keep him on the roster.  Menzie showed good things during preseason and has special team experience.  Chris Greenwood has been hurt the entire time he’s with the Lions and saw first live action against the Patriots.  Greenwood is still eligible for the practice squad in which it’s an easy decision for me to put him there.

S:

  1. Louis Delmas
  2. Glover Quin
  3. Rashean Mathis
  4. Don Carey
  5. John Wendling
  6. Tyrell Johnson

Normally, I don’t think the team will keep six safeties, but I have changed my mind in other day.  Delmas and Quin are locks to make the roster.  Mathis was recently signed and has been practicing at S and nickel back even though he played CB for the Jaguars in his entire career.  The Lions need depth at S which is why they’re practicing Mathis at S.  Don Carey makes the roster due to experience but his play has caused the Lions to find a quality backup S to backup Delmas just in case Delmas can’t play.  Wendling and Johnson make the roster due to their special team play.

Special Team

LS – Don Muhlbach

K – David Akers

P – Sam Martin

Pretty obvious to me that these three specialists will make the roster.  Fan favorite, Harvard “Kickalicious” Rugland will not make the roster but should find a team who is looking for a kicker.

IR or PUP List:

  1. Michael Williams
  2. Montell Owens

Both players have sustained injuries last week against the Patriots and I think the coaches are likely to put them on PUP list before activating them once they’re a full go to suit up.

Practice Squad:

  1. Chris Greenwood
  2. Xavier Proctor
  3. Darren Keyton
  4. Brandon Hepburn
  5. Steven Miler
  6. Theo Riddick
  7. Corey Fuller
  8. Martavius Neloms
  9. Kris Durham
  10. Matt Veldman
  11. Shaun Chapas

Overall, I think this is the roster that can lead the team to a winning record this year.  A lot is riding on Stafford’s arm (and consistencies) and Delmas’ health.  If both are fine, there is no reason why the Lions shouldn’t contend for the wildcard berth.  LB and S are scary thin and must have the starters healthy or the defense will struggle to stop offenses from scoring.

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10 Responses to “Fifty Three Man Roster Projection”

  1. The Strategy Expert says:

    I would say Punter is more obvious than QB. I know the Lions love Kellen Moore and Shaun Hill a lot, but to me it makes more sense to move them out and get somebody new that has more potential for the future. So while the QB depth chart likely won’t change, I think it absolutely should change, and for that reason it shouldn’t be the easiest position to predict.

    WR – Wow that’s one ugly group, and using up 6 roster spots instead of 5 for a double eyesore. Using up 3 roster spots for Edwards/Willis/Spurlock is pathetic, and I really hope we wouldn’t do something like that.

    And keeping 12 DBs is something I’m rooting against. And way too many draft picks for the Practice Squad, it’s annoying how bad we are at managing the roster and making draft selections, such a waste of so many good players that we skipped over for guys that even our own GM doesn’t like after only 1 or 2 years.

    • The Strategy Expert says:

      Also maybe Ronnell Lewis can make that Practice Squad list in case one of our DEs get hurt during the year.

    • Beast1530 says:

      I actually like Edwards a lot more than most. I think he is being used incorrectly as an Z WR. His role is better suited for slot WR but Broyles already have the spot locked up. Honestly, a 5th WR aren’t a factor unless a couple of WRs are hurt. Willis have earned the spot. Spurlock is going to be a KR/PR because of experience unless the coaching staff wants Steven Miller but it’s the same thing with RB(based on your complaint).

      Problem with practice squad is there aren’t many eligible young players who is a non-draft pick to play on the PS. Most of the practice squad players are UDFA which is common.

      At least Mayhew is admitting his mistakes on the draft picks and is quickly moving on. It’s absolutely better than to hold on and try to make it work. The Lions roster are actually pretty solid, not as bad you make it out to be. Look at some of the team’s roster and tell me that it’s managed better than Mayhew. Every GM made their share of mistakes but it’s up to them to fix it.

      • The Strategy Expert says:

        Edwards just doesn’t impress me and I think we should aim higher. And bravo anytime you can admit a mistake, but the bigger issue remains, which is just don’t make mistakes in the first place! Think better in advance not after the fact!

        • Beast1530 says:

          Problem is every GMs make mistakes. If you expect them to be mistake free in their evaluations, you’re going to be disappointed every time. Even the best GMs make mistake even at 1st round

          • The Strategy Expert says:

            Yeah perhaps it’s inevitable to make a mistake, but the name of the game is to make the least mistakes possible, and we aren’t even close to doing that. I have watched everything very closely for years and the vast majority of Mayhew’s mistakes would have been avoided if I was the GM. So if I can avoid almost all of his mistakes then the Lions should be able to find a guy who can do at least as good as I can in that regard.

            That’s the REAL PROBLEM, is the ownership has no driving motivation to go out and get a great GM that is prone to making a tiny number of mistakes. There’s just no effort there to even try. They can see all of his mistakes and keep vouching for him and that’s INSANITY.

  2. maeby says:

    Owens nor Williams are eligible for the regular season PUP. Once you participate in team portions of training camp practice even once, you lose all PUP eligibility.

    Also, not sure if you were projecting the actual practice squad, or simply listing the candidates, but there are only eight PS slots.

    A few other points:

    Menzie didn’t see a single rep last week. I have a hard time seeing him make the team with other fellow nickel Rashean Mathis now in the fold.

    I think this team will keep six LBs. That position is so important for ST purposes. If I am not mistaken, the Lions rarely go into the season with fewer than six LBs on the roster.

    I think five RBs make it, and I think four is the absolute minimum (would most likely require a trade). Riddick has been front-and-center on all the ST cover units this offseason. I expect he and Owens to join the trio you have.

    • Beast1530 says:

      All valid points. It’s hard for me to envision certain players make the team.

      Forgot about the PUP rules but one of them can be on IR and be eligible to return later in the season which I have a feeling is going to be Montell Owens.

      As for practice squad, I listed the candidates that have a shot of making the PS for the team.

      I believe Menzie saw time on the field last week. Rashean Mathis is classified as a S, not CB since the majority of his practice reps are at S.

  3. The Strategy Expert says:

    Dropped pass by Spurlock in the 1st Quarter, not good timing for him.

    • The Strategy Expert says:

      Spurlock had another dropped pass later in the game on an easy one where he was wide open. He needs to go. Well better if he was never here in the first place to take reps away from guys, but better late than never. If they give him a roster spot I’m going to be really, really pissed off.

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