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The draft is barely over, undrafted free agents still have to try out with teams, but that doesn’t prevent us from peeking ahead at what the Detroit Lions roster might look like day one of the season. Some of the final roster guys haven’t even been signed by the team yet, while others will find their journey ending before training camp even begins. Still, it’s fun to take a look at the Detroit Lions roster from a projection standpoint and imagine what might be.
With a weak QB class, there was nobody to really come in and compete with Kellen Moore for that developmental QB position. In fact, the only new QB the Lions brought in is Anthony Boone, who measured as an even worse athlete than Kellen Moore. If anyone were to beat out Moore, he isn’t on the roster yet. Still, looking at what we have, I think this year the team rolls with two QBs. They would have last season if it weren’t for Moore’s strong showing during the preseason and all he has to do is look better than 0rlovsky.
Joique Bell’s contract and veteran status pretty much ensures his continued position while Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah have envisioned roles with the team already. The surprise comes with Zach Zenner. The South Dakota State product will surprise most folks, I believe, and much like George Winn did last season he will open some eyes during training camp and the preseason. In fact, I think Zenner begins to take rushing snaps normally reserved for Riddick and Bell by season’s end.
Keepers: Michael Burton
Cut: Emil Igwanegu
Practice Squad: None
There isn’t enough room on the roster for multiple fullbacks and Michael “Thug” Burton was brought in with an expressed purpose, enough so that the team secured him with a 5th round pick. Igwanegu couldn’t find a role last season despite Jed Collins‘ late season decline and special teams difficulties, I expect this to be a fevered but easily fought battle for the rookie.
It’s never bad to have a stable position, but the Detroit Lions roster presently consists of a diverse but under-performing corps. 2014 1st round draft pick Eric Ebron had a typical TE rookie season, and I expect him to break out based on trends alone. Joseph Fauria was unable to recapture that lightning he had in 2013, largely due to puppy related injuries. Brandon Pettigrew is still missing, and if anyone finds him he should be returned along with his blocking ability to Allen Park. Casey Pierce is a typical seam and go H-back type that the Lions are likely to keep on their practice squad in the case of injuries as they did with Jordan Thompson last season.
The top two are obvious locks, but the rest of the receiving corps will need to shape up as camp and preseason begin. Jeremy Ross was terrible both as a returner and as a receiver last season, netting a below average number of receptions for a 3rd receiver despite having more snaps than Megatron himself. Marcus Beaurem and Vernon Johnson are camp bodies and I think it’s the latter that ends up sticking to the PS. Skye Dawson will get a shot as a returner, but I’m not thinking he gets the job. Corey Fuller made strides last season from his terrible camp as a rookie, and if he continues to progress he could take that third spot comfortably. Broyles and Jones, recent draft picks, and Andrew Peacock all basically fill the same role, but it’s one I think the team looks to remain deep at in case of injuries. I think this is the year Andrew Peacock gets his big boy uniform number after swift improvement from terrible to pretty damn good in training camp last season.
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Fifth year option picked up, Riley Reiff returns to the left side of the line (Or maybe the right) while Cornelius Lucas and Michael Williams fight for the remaining spot while LaAdrian Waddle continues to rehab.
, the team’s 2015 7th round pick, makes the roster initially before being relegated to the practice squad when Waddle returns. The newest member of
has some very promising traits and was considered an earlier round pick by many, but has also been referred to as “uncoachable” and having a lack of love for the game.
No position on the Detroit Lions roster needed an upgrade more than the offensive interior. With Dominic Raiola put out to pasture along with Rob Sims, the team jumped quickly at the chance to improve the line taking Laken Tomlinson in round one and acquiring former 2007 Lions draft pick Manny Ramirez from Denver. Once a weakness, this position group is now a strength. Darren Keyton was able to stick by steadily improving throughout camp and based on the present group is the most likely to stay on as a reserve interior lineman since he can play both center and guard. Bond and Wilson, the most recent UDFA acquisitions, will get a shot but without having seen them in action as much I don’t think they beat out Keyton.