Breaking Down Detroit Lions First Depth Chart
By Jeff Risdon
One of the sure signs the preseason is about to kick off is when NFL teams release their first unofficial depth charts. The Detroit Lions did so on Monday before the team departed to Pittsburgh for joint practices with the Steelers in preparation for Friday night’s preseason game.
You can view the entire chart on the team’s official website, but here are some notes and points of interest.
- The starting offensive line is as expected, with first-round pick Taylor Decker atop the left tackle lineup and Riley Reiff ensconced on the right side. The notable gleaning here is Gabe Ikard as the second-string center ahead of third-round rookie Graham Glasgow. As I wrote over the weekend, this is disappointing but not surprising.
- Anquan Boldin immediately jumped to the top of the third wide receiver listings, which is a starting position in Detroit’s offense.
- Jeremy Kerley and TJ Jones are second team behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate, respectively. It’s surprising undrafted rookie Jay Lee is not ahead of Kerley, especially considering Kerley is strictly a slot receiver and Lee plays outside.
- Theo Riddick is No. 2 at RB, followed by Stevan Ridley. Michael Burton is lumped with Zach Zenner, George Winn and Dwayne Washington behind that troika even though he’s the only fullback on the roster. The Lions do not have a spot for fullback on the depth chart.
- Matthew Mulligan is listed as the backup TE on a day where Kyle Meinke of MLive wrote a great feature on the rise of undrafted rookie Cole Wick.
It’s important to note this list is unofficial and compiled by the team’s media relations staff, not the coaches.
On defense, a few things stand out…
- Johnson Bademosi sits behind Darius Slay at cornerback, ahead of Darrin Walls, Crezdon Butler and others who have received far more positive camp reviews. Walls had a nice INT in Saturday’s mock game while Bademosi was guilty of an ugly pass interference call.
- Alex Carter is on the fourth-team line at corner with undrafted rookie Ian Wells. That’s a bad sign for the 2015 third-round pick, especially since Wells played pretty well in limited reps Saturday.
- Gabe Wright remains on the second team at tackle, but the reality is he’s behind both Khyri Thornton and A’Shawn Robinson. The second-round rookie Robinson is mysteriously listed as fourth team at tackle.
- DeAndre Levy and the other players on PUP do not appear on the depth chart. That’s the only reason Josh Bynes and Kyle Van Noy are listed as starters at linebacker.
Special teams has a surprise as well, with veteran Don Muhlbach ahead of sixth-round pick Jimmy Landes at long snapper. It’s merited, but the ignominy of drafting a long snapper only to have him not make the team would be serious egg on rookie GM Bob Quinn’s face.
The return gigs do not resemble reality at all. Nobody who watches the team on a daily basis expects neither Abdullah nor Tate to actually return kicks or punts once the games count. T.J. Jones is second at both spots, with Andre Roberts and Jeremy Kerley both behind. It is widely believed Roberts and Kerley are fighting for the same roster spot as the reserve wideout and return specialist. If Jones is indeed ahead of both as this unofficial chart declares, it’s bad news for both veteran free-agent signees.