Detroit Lions: Predicting the 53-man roster

August 30th is the day fans and media await, players nervously anticipate, hope is dimmed or dreams are made; it’s the day the 32 NFL teams finalize their 53-man roster. The Detroit Lions have cut their roster to the necessary 75 players, but the cuts can’t stop there.

Here is my version of the Detroit Lions roster by Saturday.

Offense: 25

Quarterbacks: 2

Matthew Stafford

Dan Orlovsky

Yes, I’m predicting Kellen Moore gets released but it would be a blessing for him with teams still in need of a franchise quarterback. Let him get the chance to excel somewhere like, I don’t know, Oakland or St. Louis?

Running backs: 4

Reggie Bush

Joique Bell

Theo Riddick

George Winn

It is going to be close but I think Winn gets the spot over Mikel Leshoure.

Wide Receivers: 6

Calvin Johnson

Golden Tate

Ryan Broyles

Kevin Ogletree

Kris Durham

Jeremy Ross

The most notable and heartbreaking loss will be the release of Corey Fuller, a player with great potential but caught in a wide receiver logjam. Jeremy Ross is the starting kick returner, but Fuller could potentially overtake Kevin Ogletree or Kris Durham by the end of the week.

Tight Ends: 3

Brandon Pettigrew

Eric Ebron

Joseph Fauria

These three have been the top starters from the beginning. As long as they stay injury free, all three should have a major impact this year.

Fullbacks: 1

Jed Collins

Emil Igwenagu was added to the roster yesterday and has played both tight end and fullback in college while being known for tremendous blocking abilities. With his apparent versatility, the team bringing him in so late could signify a quick change in the position might be necessary before the season opener.

Offensive line: 9

Dominic Raiola, C

Riley Reiff, LT

Rob Sims, LG

Corey Hilliard, RT

Larry Warford, RG

LaAdrian Waddle, RT

Garrett Reynolds, G/T

Cornelius Lucas, T

Travis Swanson, C

The top five: Dominic Raiola, Riley Reiff, Rob Sims, Corey Hilliard and Larry Warford will likely be the starters against the New York Giants in the season opener. LaAdrian Waddle will make the team but seems to have lost the starting job to Corey Hilliard for the time being. 

Defense: 25

Cornerbacks: 6

Detroit Lions

Slay

Rashean Mathis

Darius Slay

Cassius Vaughn

Bill Bentley

Nevin Lawson

Chris Greenwood

Rashean Mathis and Darius Slay have solidified the starting positions while Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson should see playing time in the Nickel. Chris Greenwood should make the team for now but hasn’t shown consistency and could be replaced by Mohammed Siesay.

Safeties: 4

James Ihedigbo, SS

Glover Quin, FS

Isa Abdul-Quddus, SS

Jerome Couplin, S

Jerome Couplin has been solid while playing with the second team recently. The final safety spot will come down to Couplin and Don Carey. As of now, I think Couplin has the edge on Carey but that could change by Saturday.

Linebackers: 5

DeAndre Levy, Weak side

Stephen Tulloch, Middle

Tahir Whitehead, Strong side

Ashlee Palmer, Strong side

Kyle Van Noy, Strong side

Middle and weakside linebacker positions are set in stone, however the strong side SAM position should be interesting. It seems after Friday’s game that Tahir Whitehead has earned himself the starting position over Ashlee Palmer and Kyle Van Noy.

Defensive line: 10

Ndamukong Suh, DT

C.J. Mosley, DT

Nick Fairley, DT

Caraun Reid, DT

Ezekiel Ansah, DE

Jason Jones, DE

George Johnson, DE

Devin Taylor, DE

Larry Webster, DE

Darryl Tapp, DE

Nick Fairley is officially second team. Caraun Reid has proven himself this preseason and currently sits with Fairley behind Suh and Mosley at defensive tackle. Jason Jones and Ezekiel Ansah will be the starters at defensive end, however this position is deep with George Johnson and Devin Taylor as viable, capable backups.

Special teams (3)

Sam Martin, Punter

Nate Freese, Kicker

Don Muhlbach, Long Snapper

With the release of Giorgio Tavecchio, Nate Freese has been given the green light as the starting kicker for this season.

We’re ready for the season to finally start and solidifying this 53-man roster will be the first step.

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