As the Detroit Lions’ final roster starts to shape up, here at the SideLion Report we have put on our GM hats once again to predict who will be the last two men on and the last two men off of the final 53-man roster.
The Last Two On
Much has been made about Webster, a fifth round pick in this year’s draft that was short on technique, but long on pure physical talent. From the product tiny Bloomsberg College, the question was never if the measureables were there for Webster. The question was whether or not he could pull it all together in time to make enough of an impact. However, don’t assume this is prediction is a foregone conclusion by any stretch. Potentially destined for the practice squad, the percentage of fifth round picks that end up on the starting day roster is only 81.1%, according to Topher Doll of the Mile High Report.
However, Webster simply has too much rare athletic upside to be put on the practice squad where he can be purged. Reports from training camp have been positive, and the Lions, who feel that he can ultimately become a valuable wave rusher in their defense, are not going to let him go.
The rookie undrafted free agent from William and Mary has caught the eye of the Lions’ coaching staff so far this preseason. Having an 81 inch wingspan and 41.5 inch vertical, which has garnered him the nickname the “Osprey”, he’s pretty hard to miss on the field. How does a 6’2″, 250 lb. safety with that length, who runs a 4.51 40-yard dash, wind up in the CAA? Couplin claimed academics was his main motive in attending a relatively high-brow institution. He was an All-CAA first team selection his senior year, leading the Tribe with 113 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, six PBUs, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.
On a Lions’ team short on depth at the safety position, a guy with his physical stats, athleticism and upside, he is worth taking a gamble.
The Last Two Off
The fourth year player, who was given a chance to start last season when Nate Burleson was benched due to his infamous off-field injury in week 3, ended up starting 13 games last season, finishing the season with 38 receptions for 490 yards and two touchdowns. In a not so endearing stat, he managed to also end 2013 with 10 drops of 48 catchable passes, giving him one of the highest drop rates in the League.
At 6’5’’, Durham has good size and certainly a bit of a rapport with Matt Stafford as they are both Georgia Bulldogs, but the way Lombardi can use him is limited. Second-year Corey Fuller will make the roster over Durham due to his speed and versatility.
The Lions got a steal with Lewis when they grabbed him in the 7th round in the 2012 draft. I gave Lewis a 6.3 (fourth round developmental prospect) grade in my scouting report, and projected him as linebacker with starting potential. However, Lewis didn’t help make his case when he was suspended for four games last season for violating the League’s substance abuse policy. Up to this date, he has been a helper on special teams, however only contributing a paltry nine combined career tackles.
Frankly, he has some things to offer, but he might not possess the necessary skills to do everything a linebacker needs to do in today’s NFL, particularly when it comes to coverage. Additionally, he has not done anything to distinguish himself at camp this preseason. With Palmer and Levy both having the versatility to play multiple linebacker spots, I predict the Lions only carry five linebackers, with Lewis getting a visit from the Turk.