The Detroit Lions, like the rest of the NFL, have until 4 p.m. today to take their roster down to 75 players. Detroit promptly finished its first round of cuts yesterday afternoon.
No major surprises so far, just protocol along the road to reducing the roster to regular-season size. Here’s who Detroit has let go of so far:
Giorgio Tavecchio, K (Cut 8/25) : After missing a 51-yard field goal attempt in Friday’s game against Jacksonville, Tavecchio was cut yesterday. This means that seventh-round pick Nate Freese will be the Lions’ kicker this season. Coach Jim Caldwell called it a “very, very difficult decision.”
Jonte Green, CB (Cut 8/25) : Despite having an interception in the third preseason game, Green wasn’t able to separate himself enough at the crowded cornerback position. He will likely be a practice squad target for the Lions.
Aaron Hester, CB (Cut 8/25) : Another corner who wasn’t able to climb up the crowded depth chart.
James Franklin, QB (Cut 8/25) : Another UDFA, the rookie out of Missouri gets cut without even logging a snap during preseason play.
Alex Bullard, G (Cut 8/23) : An UDFA who was brought in to add depth to the offensive line. He never stood much of a chance at making the final roster.
A.J. Dalton, T/G (Cut 8/23) : Another UDFA free agent brought in for depth purposes, Dalton wasn’t able to move up the depth chart despite his versatility.
Gregory Hickman, DT (Cut 8/23) : Hickman joined the team after receiving a tryout during rookie minicamp, but was buried on the depth chart in one of Detroit’s strongest positions.
Steven Miller, RB (Cut 8/23) : A member of last season’s practice squad, Miller was unable to make it through the preseason cuts once again. Because he is a return man, look for him to be on the practice squad again this year.
Conner Vernon, WR (Cut 8/23) : Vernon was claimed off waivers on August 11, but never really had a shot at making the final roster with Detroit’s crowded receiving corps.
Drayton Florence, CB (Cut 8/19) : Florence, a veteran cornerback, was released last Tuesday just 12 days after being brought in. He never made a move up the depth chart and wasn’t being used on special teams either.
In related space-freeing moves, the Lions put rookie wide receiver T.J. Jones on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list on Saturday, while safety DeJon Gomes was placed on Reserve/Injured list yesterday.
Jones, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, must stay on the PUP list for the first six weeks of the regular season. The Lions will evaluate if he is worthy of a roster spot after he begins practicing.
Gomes was injured after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit to the in the second preseason game. He is no longer eligible to play this season.
The Lions have to reduce their roster to 53 by Saturday, August 30, so there will jobs on the line during Thursday’s preseason finale in Buffalo.